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Empower Students to Self-Assess for Report Card Grades

By the time students get to 12th grade, the last thing they want to do is have to readjust to a new and complicated system that expects them to be involved in their own assessment.

Instead, they prefer the passive method of merely accepting whatever a teacher places on their report card, all the while reserving the right to be angry if they feel unjustly graded.

But what if that wasn't an option?

This year and year's past, I've forced students into the driver's seat, responsible for their own learning as well as their own assessing.

Traditionally, reflections have been a hallmark of the classes, asking students to examine their learning closely and align the specific skills with the standards we are working on.

Now we go one step farther.

Above is a video of how I've been using Google forms to include students in the conversation about their grades. Since I prefer to not give any grades at all, this is a great opportunity to talk to students about their learning and allow that conversation to be the centerpiece for the grade that appears on their report cards.

Students were asked to do the following in preparation for our short discussions:

  • review their body of work (portfolio) for this semester including their reflectionsÂ

  • consider the feedback they've received

  • consider the progress they have made in response to that feedback

  • consider the goals they set at the beginning of the term and whether or not they've achieved them

  • review Pupilpath (our online grading system)

  • fill out the brief form above (they've been filling stuff out like this all semester)

  • I then review their form answers in the nifty document that google form provides for me and then I meet with each student in class for about 3-5 minutes to make sure what he/she wrote is congruent with his/her body of work.

  • Has mastery been achieved?

  • Did they meet their goals?

  • What new goals would they like to set?

  • Students need to avoid discussing or suggesting compliance or grade goals, but rather learning targets that are measurable in some meaningful way.

For example, instead of saying getting all my work done on time, students would say, I'd like to work on developing more engaging leads. Although time management is a good personal goal to work on, it isn't measurable against the standards, so we work on writing goals that address skills and standards being addressed in the learning.

Something I've learned throughout this process is that students often grade themselves based on compliance. It was woeful to read it. They think they deserve less if all the work isn't submitted regardless of how well they've been able to complete the work they have or their ability to apply the skills learned during that time.

My work is still cut out for me, but I'm not giving up. Kids will learn to appreciate the shift and will know themselves better as learners as the end, I'm certain of it.

How do you help students know themselves as learners? Please share

*This post originally ran on my Education Week Teacher blog in May 2016.


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