Friday, December 2, 2016

Effective Communication in the Gradebook - Part 2 (Science)

By Quinn Loch

Seventh post in a series from our staff-led Institute Day.  This is part II of a two-part blog post, with the first post reflecting on the math component, while this second post focuses on the science component.

Rachel Barry (Math) and Quinn Loch (Science) presented this session, which focused on these two questions:
     1.  How can I show formative feedback in the gradebook?
     2.  How can I communicate progress in the gradebook?


One of my biggest struggles has been how to record and report progress to students efficiently in the gradebook. I want to have formative feedback that doesn't "hurt" their grade and I also want to show student progress - all without cluttering up the gradebook with countless grades and having to need two separate gradebooks. Below are my current working solutions to these hurdles.

Question: How can I include formative data in the gradebook?

My solution: A "zero-weight" category allows me to communicate understanding during the learning process without penalizing the student. I call this category the "in-progress" category. This is where I post standard-based scores on what I call "progress quizzes." These progress quizzes are closely aligned to our learning targets and act as checkpoints along the way to our summative.

Snapshot of a progress quiz that gets scored 0-4.

Sample Learning Targets

: How can I show progress in the gradebook?

My solution: Entering multiple scores within one standard. I report feedback to students from a standards based scale of 0-4. If a student demonstrates an understanding level of "1" and then later demonstrates an understanding of "3", then I'll enter it as 3.1 in the gradebook.

Using decimals to enter multiple scores for the same standard

Question: How can I get students to use this information to close gaps and how can I hold them accountable for their learning?

My solution: Pre-Test Reflections. Here in an example of one that I use in class.
Pre-Test Reflection. Students do not take the summative if they have a 0 on any standard.

I try to do this reflection a couple days before a test so students have time to dedicate practice to, or remediate on, the specific things that they may be struggling with. I have yet to get the question "What should I study?" this year.

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