Crossing the Rubicon
Inspiring Intrinsic Motivation through
Alternative Assessment
Brian Surkan | The Walker School
Foundational Questions
1.What are the objectives of our classes?
2.How would we like students to be motivated?
3.How can w...
What do you teach?
Multiple Objectives
• First: I teach students
– Kindness, perspective, citizenship, motivation,
communications, and many m...
How are students
commonly motivated?
Common Motivations
•
•
•
•
•

Entertaining lessons
Flashy Technology
Competitions / Games
Candy / Prizes
Grades

•
•
•
•
•...
Dominant Motivation: Grades
•
•
•
•
•
•

Teachers use as carrots & sticks
Parents ditto
College applications
Class placeme...
Ideally, how would we like
our students to be
motivated?
Ideal Motivations
•
•
•
•
•
•

Understanding of the value of the material
Passion for the subject
Love of learning
Pride i...
How can we achieve
intrinsic motivation?
Outsourcing Motivation
•
•
•
•
•
•

More selective admissions (private schools)
Redirection of unmotivated to trade school...
Working Within Sphere of Influence
Rafe Esquith

Katherine Harrison

•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Public School – 5th...
Keys to intrinsic
motivation?
Respect
• Assume students are interested in operating
at high levels of moral development
• Listen to students
• Provide o...
Relevance
•
•
•
•
•
•

Clarify relevance of lessons to students’ lives
Engaging texts / resources
Organize lessons in a pr...
Reflection
• Foster student self-awareness of
– Potential
– Participation
– Progress
– Performance

• Explicit, systematic...
Practical Applications
Respect
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Student desks are arranged in a circle
Students flag in – equal access to speak
I solicit suggestio...
Reflection
•
•
•
•

Students propose quest quest-ions (sample)
Student Surveys – formal and informal
Quarterly Plus / Delt...
Relevance
•
•
•
•
•
•

Class time is intense with little down time
Homework always requires deep thought
Minimal use of in...
Results?
By changing assessment, students…
…develop self-esteem founded on achievement
…invest well beyond minimum requirements
…re...
Teachers?
•
•
•
•
•

Engaged students = happy parents = no calls
Participation -> honest performance grades
Students becom...
Questions?
Caveat: Grades
Grades are here to stay, but...

…you get what you measure.
What would we like grades to measure?
•
•
•
•
•

Participation
Character
Interest
Performance
Progress
Traditional Emphasis Performance?
•
•
•
•
•

Measures cumulative outcome
Objective
Habitual
Non-controversial
It prepares ...
Problems with Performance
•
•
•
•
•

Discounts the learning process
Suggests that only the end result matters
Cheating
Doe...
Alternative Assessment
3P System (1)
• Performance - 1/3
• Progress - 1/3
• Participation - 1/3
3P System (2)
Advantages

Disadvantages

• Recognizes progress
• Reduces weight placed on
Performance
• Recognizes partici...
Sources
• http://kumardeepak.files.wordpress.com/201
2/06/motivation.jpg
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Intrinsically Motivating Student Achievement by Alternative Assessment

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Innovative educational authors and thinkers often identify the tradition of conventional testing as a core obstacle in overhauling education. While “teaching to the test” draws near universal ire, most of us continue the old routine: lesson -> homework practice -> quiz -> test -> next unit -> lesson -> practice, etc. Students are warned to pay attention and take quality notes in order to perform well on the omnipresent test. Wouldn’t it be great if students enjoyed coming to class because they embraced ownership of their own learning and found the material to be both relevant and engaging?
Over the years, I have found ways of overhauling the structure of my classroom to transfer the ownership of the learning to the students via a combination of mutual respect and an alternative grading strategy. My methods include rich participation metrics, diverse projects and effective editing. Innovative assessments are not only possible within the constraints of conventional external grades, but students and parents embrace them. Diverse classrooms of students at different skill levels can also be readily accommodated. In addition to outlining methodologies, ready-to-use assessment tools will be provided for teachers to use directly or adapt to their needs.

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  • In college psychology, I learned that the great masters like Mozart and DaVinci took 10 solid years to master their trade. I thus assumed that after 10 years, I'd be a master teacher and have all the answers. I was wrong.Last year I presented here and asked a colleague to review my presentation. He said it looked good except for the slides about assessment. He advised me to avoid discussing assessment, as it was a sensitive topic and would derail the presentation. Well...today we're going to address its role in motivating students.Hopefully, however, my modest discoveries in student motivation will provide fodder for discussion and mutual growth.
  • Intrinsically Motivating Student Achievement by Alternative Assessment

    1. 1. Crossing the Rubicon Inspiring Intrinsic Motivation through Alternative Assessment Brian Surkan | The Walker School
    2. 2. Foundational Questions 1.What are the objectives of our classes? 2.How would we like students to be motivated? 3.How can we optimize assessment to measure what matters to us?
    3. 3. What do you teach?
    4. 4. Multiple Objectives • First: I teach students – Kindness, perspective, citizenship, motivation, communications, and many more life lessons – And they teach me…perhaps even more • Second: I teach history – Lessons from the past – Critical thinking and information validation – Rhetorical skills, both oral and written
    5. 5. How are students commonly motivated?
    6. 6. Common Motivations • • • • • Entertaining lessons Flashy Technology Competitions / Games Candy / Prizes Grades • • • • • Engaging Projects Simulations Relevance Respect Praise
    7. 7. Dominant Motivation: Grades • • • • • • Teachers use as carrots & sticks Parents ditto College applications Class placement Academic awards Self-esteem
    8. 8. Ideally, how would we like our students to be motivated?
    9. 9. Ideal Motivations • • • • • • Understanding of the value of the material Passion for the subject Love of learning Pride in own work / behavior Respect for the teacher Respect for parents’ values / school choice
    10. 10. How can we achieve intrinsic motivation?
    11. 11. Outsourcing Motivation • • • • • • More selective admissions (private schools) Redirection of unmotivated to trade schools Fix it in lower grades (before they get to me) Eliminate grades (or employ grade inflation) New national standards Hypnotism
    12. 12. Working Within Sphere of Influence Rafe Esquith Katherine Harrison • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Public School – 5th Grade Inner City L.A. Gangs / violence real risks Students below grade level Few native English speakers ~ 35 Students / year Self-contained class No assistant Private School 3rd – 5th grade Spanish ~ 175 Students / year No textbook No assistant No worksheets Student-generated tests Phenomenal results
    13. 13. Keys to intrinsic motivation?
    14. 14. Respect • Assume students are interested in operating at high levels of moral development • Listen to students • Provide options whenever possible • Include students in decision-making • Admit own mistakes without excuses • No wasted time
    15. 15. Relevance • • • • • • Clarify relevance of lessons to students’ lives Engaging texts / resources Organize lessons in a proper hierarchy Meaningful requirements (not arbitrary) Meaningful homework No busywork
    16. 16. Reflection • Foster student self-awareness of – Potential – Participation – Progress – Performance • Explicit, systematic self-assessment • On-going improvement
    17. 17. Practical Applications
    18. 18. Respect • • • • • • • Student desks are arranged in a circle Students flag in – equal access to speak I solicit suggestions on class structure on day 1 I solicit student advice when I’m confused I trust students, including take home tests I provide a variety of project options Students run the class blogs
    19. 19. Reflection • • • • Students propose quest quest-ions (sample) Student Surveys – formal and informal Quarterly Plus / Delta Reflection Sessions Grading – 50% Performance – 50% Participation Writ Large (see printed rubric) • 25% Student-assessed • 25% Teacher-assessed
    20. 20. Relevance • • • • • • Class time is intense with little down time Homework always requires deep thought Minimal use of insipid conventional textbooks Customized quests for each section Students encouraged to experience history Simulations used wherever possible – World Wars / Mock Congress / Railroads
    21. 21. Results?
    22. 22. By changing assessment, students… …develop self-esteem founded on achievement …invest well beyond minimum requirements …realize that learning is about the journey …develop more self-control and focus …retain what they learn
    23. 23. Teachers? • • • • • Engaged students = happy parents = no calls Participation -> honest performance grades Students become increasingly engaged Class management issues dissipate Grades can be calibrated as needed
    24. 24. Questions?
    25. 25. Caveat: Grades
    26. 26. Grades are here to stay, but... …you get what you measure.
    27. 27. What would we like grades to measure? • • • • • Participation Character Interest Performance Progress
    28. 28. Traditional Emphasis Performance? • • • • • Measures cumulative outcome Objective Habitual Non-controversial It prepares them for the next level
    29. 29. Problems with Performance • • • • • Discounts the learning process Suggests that only the end result matters Cheating Does not reflect life Cramming
    30. 30. Alternative Assessment
    31. 31. 3P System (1) • Performance - 1/3 • Progress - 1/3 • Participation - 1/3
    32. 32. 3P System (2) Advantages Disadvantages • Recognizes progress • Reduces weight placed on Performance • Recognizes participation • Hard to quantify • Lacks student ownership • Still extrinsic
    33. 33. Sources • http://kumardeepak.files.wordpress.com/201 2/06/motivation.jpg

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