Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Self-Assessment and Science Skill Tracking

written by Quinn Loch

A few days ago, Kim Miklusak provoked some great conversations in the Collab Lab about how we have students self-assess and how we can get students to better understand their current skill set. You can read her previous blog post about cognitive bias and how people can incorrectly evaluate themselves when it comes to knowledge or skills.

Mark Heintz recently shared his approach with self-assessment and skills tracking using Schoology's many features. The goal is to have students assess themselves and allow them to compare their assessment to the teacher's assessment. This can help close the cognitive bias gap that students often have and it can give students a better understanding of what skills they might need more attention on, even if they didn't realize it.

I have this same goal when it comes to self-assessment of science skills, however I plan to implement this strategy on paper throughout the year. In biology, we typically have a lab for each unit that gives a chance to provide formative feedback, and we have lab practicals that act as a more formal summative assessment of lab skills that we have been developing. To help track progress, I drafted a skills tracker that I will have my students will use.
Students will assess themselves only on the skills that we have been developing with a rubric that helps guide them. This rubric will be attached to the lab that they turn in.
After a student submits their lab, I will use the same rubric with a different color pen so students can see their assessment next to mine along with any comments I may have left. This information will then be logged in their tracker. By the time a lab practical comes around, students will have feedback from previous labs and can help focus their energy and attention on certain skills that they maybe didn't realize they struggled with.

I'm hoping that these tools will guide students into a better understanding of their own learning and progress. Along with getting a better sense of where they stand, it should also help students target the specific skills that they need to continue to develop.

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