Action research on grading and assessment practices of grade 7 mathematics
Gary Johnston Spring 2012
Rational: Years of “category grading” in the classroom with little change in internal/external test scores. Marginal improvement in MAP test scores. School wide “push” for using data to drive teaching, assessment practices. Earlier workshops in the year: David Suarez: Differentiation, Math Assessment Tom Schimmer: Assessment that Matters
Changes to the Grade 7 MathProgramPart 1:Grading ChangesPart 2: Assessment ChangesPart 3: Our Results
Part 1-How we changed grading 0% Emphasis on assignments/homework All entered in the grade book but are practice on the way to mastery. (Schimmer) 0% Emphasis on quizzes All entered in the grade book but are practice on the way to mastery. (Schimmer) 0% Emphasis on projects Show real world applications, but can be superficial. Students can get help from parents, peers, and work may not be done equally in group work. Entered in the grade book. 100% Emphasis on summative assessments (final test) “Summative evaluations are not mere reflections of retained knowledge but are the most valid and reliable indicator of depth of understanding” (Holt)
Part 1 Continued: Why we changedour grading Want students to become responsible learners, not feel entitled to third and fourth chances. Want to build self-discipline and self- esteem that is deserved, not sugar coating their poor academics Too many grading policies are “subjective” and prone to bias. Want “Self-Improvement” through personal assessment, not teacher-assigned work “Category Intensive” grading dilutes notable achievements.
Part 1 Continued: HowPractice/Assignments were Assessed “Flipped Lessons” More time for in-class practice. Answers posted in class so students can check! Student’s “Self-Assess” their work on the following 3 point rubric: 3 points: Well done, complete some minor mistakes 2 points: majority complete, many mistakes 1 point: very incomplete, many mistakes
Part 1 Continued: How Quizzeswere used Formative feedback- Assessed by Teacher Procedurally low scaffolded skill. Check-in on basic abilities before higher order thinking applications Gave teacher opportunities to remediate understanding Entered into grade book, but given 0% weighting as it’s practice.
Part 1 Continued: How Projectswere used •Practice on the road to higher understanding. •Most units had a project. •Projects tend to span many days and have group elements so assessment of them is inaccurate. Who’s work are we assessing, the student’s, group members, tutors or parents?
Part 1-How Summativeassessments were used “Practice Test” prior to actual test. (Actual Test was retake) Policy: “Retesting is a privilege, not a right. Although we may deny students the opportunity to retest, we never deny them the opportunity to relearn” “Summative evaluations are not mere reflections of retained knowledge but are the most valid and reliable indicator of depth of understanding” (Holt)
Other supporting resources: Online curriculum and practice guides with standards, benchmarks, essential questions, target vocabulary and a “tally sheet” that students can use to document their understanding and make curriculum transparent. Differentiation on homework, quizzes, projects, tests Quiz Reflection on the “nature of the mistake” Warm ups and tests that have elements of previous units to keep skills sharp
Part 2-How we changed the qualityof our assessments Used opened ended tests which scaffold up through higher order thinking skills (application, synthesis, analysis) Almost exclusively word problems for “authentic purposes” Elements of “mathematical reasoning, critical thinking” Incorporated spiraling areas of the curriculum.
Grade 7 Math Mean MAP Test Scores250245 Spring Scores240 Fall Scores235 *NWEA RIT Scale Norms230 2011 page 46225 Both Elshoff’s and Johnston’s220 classes215 *Typical Grade 7 *Typical Grade 10 SSIS Grade 7 Math Math MAP Scores Math MAP Scores MAP Scores 11-12
Grade 7 Median Math RIT Increase 2010- 2012 Median Increase from Fall to Spring65 Median Increase from Fall to Spring432 Both Elshoff’s and1 Johnston’s classes0 SSIS Grade 7 Math SSIS Grade 7 Math Median RIT Increase Median RIT Increase 2010-2011 2011-2012
Grade 7 Mean RIT Increases 2010-2012250248246244242 Spring Score240 Fall Score238236234232 2010-2011 2011-2012
Internal Test Grade Changes: Unit1-Unit 7161412108 Test Grades for Unit 16 Test Grades for Unit 74 *Johnston’s Class Only20 F D C B A
Typical Scores on Assessments76%74%72%70%68%66%64%62%60%58% Quiz Practice Test Final Test
Program Survey Questions:1. Did the grading policy this year help you become a better student?2. What are the strengths of offering 2-3 levels of “choice” Green, Blue and Black?3. Which element of practice/assessment has helped you learn the most?4. How would you rate your learning of math this year compared to other years?5. In general, how would you rate your “stress” level of this math course?
Did the grading policy this year help you become a better student? Number of responses35302520 1510 5 Number of responses 0
What are the strengths of offering 2-3 levelsof “choice” Green, Blue and Black? “The strengths of offering two or three levels of instructional practice is that you can choose your level for your tests. If you want to challenge yourself, you can choose Blue test or Black tests.” “The strength of offering two levels of instructional practice are for green, it helps us becomes better at the skills that we are not good at and blue is for students who want to take a risk of higher level skills.” “To let each individual student choose what level they would prefer to be in, instead of the whole class doing the same thing (which would be kind of boring).”
Which element of practice/assessment hashelped you learn the most? Number of Responses3530252015 Number of Responses10 5 0 Homework Quizzes Projects Practice Tests
How would you rate your learning of maththis year compared to other years? Number of responses25201510 5 Number of responses0 Much less Less than About More Much than other average than more other years compared other than years. to other years other years years
In general, how would you rate your “stress”level of this math course? Number of responses 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Number of responses
Key Findings Final tests show the highest level of understanding. When they are administered, students have had the most practice. Most students said the course was “somewhat stressful” followed by “Neutral” and “Usually not stressful”. Low levels of stress do increase performance. Designing “Practice Tests” to help students focus on areas for remediation helped them learn the most. 55% of respondents felt that the grading policy helped them learn math “somewhat” and 19% said it helped them learn math “very much”
Bibliography “Effective Grading Practices” ASCD http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational- leadership/feb08/vol65/num05/Effective-Grading-Practices.aspx Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools (Adopted by the California State Board of Education, March 2005 Published by the California Department of Education Sacramento, 2006 ) NWEA RIT Scale Norms 2011-Northwest Evaluation Asssociaion Student Survey: Survey Monkey http://www.surveymonkey.com/MySurvey_Responses.aspx?sm=jdrbk0002ZpFyaNK x1e%2f2ylLnJt%2fErryKohL0pMSnpI%3d