Tuesday, December 11, 2012

An "Understanding" Rubric for the Semester

I am reading parts of John Hattie's Visible Learning for Teachers, which has some real gems. Since this book reads dense like a textbook, I find that it is the most enticing when I flip through and just randomly stumble upon sections that are appealing to my wandering mind.

One part of the book talks about what successful feedback looks like.

The criteria for evaluating any learning achievements must be made transparent to students to enable them to have a clear overview of the aims of their work and what it means to complete it successfully.

Students should be encouraged to bear in mind the aims of their work and to assess their own progress to meet these aims as they proceed. They will then be able to guide their own work and so become independent learners. 

I think this is something that I can improve on. I give a lot of verbal feedback daily, and then a lot of individual written feedback when looking at a kid's work (ie. quizzes or homework or projects, depending on the class and the time of year). But, I am not so sure that the kids always have the big picture in mind. So, to that end, to help my 8th-graders frame their minds around what I will be looking for on their semester exam next week in terms of levels of mastery of the learned topics, I've pulled together this hopefully kid-friendly rubric/skills list which I'll go over with the kids prior to the exam. What do you think?? It's a skills list like many of you might have for SBG, but it's sort of hierarchical in terms of ordering what I think are more basic skills and what I think are more complex skills layered on top. Mimicking the MYP scale for "Knowledge and Understanding", the rubric goes up to 8 points in most topics, where a 5 is basically solidly at-grade-level "average" performance, and 7 and 8 are only if you are beginning to approach more advanced topics or skills that are somewhat beyond your grade level.

My goal is that I will go over this rubric with the students this week, and they will self assess which skills they still need to work on over the weekend, so that their efforts are not so randomly scattered during precious review time. In January, after the exams have been graded, they will again self-assess in order to figure out where their skills holes are from the first semester, if any. This type of self-analysis will help them gain independence as a more self-driven learner over time, instead of me always telling them what to work on next and feeling like I fall into the rather unappealing nagging mode.

Sounds like a plan?

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