Sunday, June 26, 2011

SBG - Initial Plan

Here is what my "basic" SBG plan is after putting together four+ years of reading and research. I am finally ready to implement this in my classroom. I think... :)

I plan to have a general 4 point rubric:
4- Advanced, learning exceeds goal
3- Proficient, learning meets goal
2- Basic, learning below goal
1- Below Basic, student needs help to reach basic level
0- Student isn't successful even with help

This rubric I got primarily from Marzano's Formative Assessment & Standard-Based Grading. However, I do not plan to make a specific rubric per learning goal. I will only have the one generic rubric and just make my learning goals descriptive.

I will be working on a scale to convert my 4-pt rubric into 100% scores because that is the constraint I work within for my district. For instance a 4 would be 100%, a 2 would be a 70%...etc I haven't worked out those details yet because I am not sure if I am going to make my scale increment in .5 or .33 points yet. More to follow on that in a later posting...

Record Keeping:
In my "official" gradebook that gets entered electronically, I will only have one grade per learning goal and then the final exam. This grade will represent the summative score for that learning goal. So after I have written out all my learning goals for the year, it is possible that students will only have about 50 or so grades for the entire year. Each score will go into the gradebook out of 100%. So even though the students will have fewer grades than in the past, the "total points" will be about the same.

I will also keep a paper record of all formative (graded) assessments that I give the students. That could be homework, bell ringers, quizzes, mini-tests, ...anything that will inform me and the student of progress towards the learning goal. These formative assessments will be crucial to the student's progress in my class. I will have to find an efficient way to provide timely feedback to each student, otherwise I think my plan is going to flop. I haven't come up with the "efficient" part yet, so that will be reserved for a later post.

I really like this because it is going to completely remove "missing work" and "late work" and "zeroes" from the equation. I absolutely HATED giving a student a zero simply because they didn't turn something in...or worse yet, they turned it in but it was late. I want the grade to represent how much they LEARNED, not that they are responsible...or whatever.

The other key point that I want to include in the system is the ability for students to re-assess. I don't want their grade to represent what they knew in August. I want it to be (as close as possible) representative of what they currently know or learned.

That being said, I realistically I do not have time to constantly re-assess every learning goal. This part the students are going to have to take some ownership. I will have two days a week that I will be available for re-assessing. The students will only have the re-assess the goals that they are wanting to improve. They will need to give me at least a school day's notice so that I can prepare an alternate assessment for them. They will need to sign in with the reassessment log so I can keep track of who has come in, etc... I may limit the number of students that can sign up per day. That may prevent the "mad dash" at the end of the grading period. I'll have to think that through a bit more before I decide.

I do not plan to put a time limit on the reassessments. If they want to re-assess a skill in April that they learned in August, that is fine with me. The only time limits I will put on them will be at the very end of the semester...I'll have to make some type of a cutoff date so I am not grading down to the last second.

Other thoughts:
I really like this because if a student's grade is crappy then all they need to do is learn the material. They do not have to do hours of makeup work. They are not ever "hopeless". They just need to study up and re-assess. As for now, I do not have a way that I am going to require them to study or prove they studied. I also do not have a limit on the number of times they can reassess a certain learning goal. Both of those things may change.

Anyway, so that is what I have so far. Questions, comments, and concerns are always welcome. Stay tuned...because I'm sure it will change before August arrives.

SBG - In the Works

So I have been researching SBG since I was in college getting my BA. However, I haven't had the guts to really jump in...until now. In college I read through "Classroom Grading that Works" by Marzano and that really got me thinking about what I wanted my grades to represent. I decided to research the topic a bit further and I ended up writing a million page paper on it (okay maybe more like 20 page, but it was still torture).

Then I got my first job and they already had everything laid out for how I was supposed to grade and SBG didn't really fit the formula. So I put it on the back burner for a while. Then when I moved to Tennessee, I started thinking about it again. I really wanted my grades to represent what the students actually KNEW. I didn't want any type of "responsibility" or "work ethic" or "late points" or ... anything other than content knowledge to be represented in my grade. So I kept researching and a friend pointed me in the direction of the blogging world.

If you know me, I am the type of person that would rather do something "right" than just halfway. So, I read everything I could about SBG and just kept learning. This past school year I was teaching six sections of geometry. Geometry is a math topic that I was not completely comfortable with just yet. Instead of jumping in with relatively new content and a new grading system I decided to just learn the content well and then do SBG the next year.

So that is where I am at now. I have been reading books, skyping, reading blogs, tweeting, ... anything I can think of to prepare for the implementation of SBG in my classroom. Next school year 2011-2012 I will be teaching only Algebra I. Not only that, but I will have freshmen. And not only that, but my school "loops" so the freshmen I have next year will be with me again as sophomores for geometry. I can't think of a better time to start up this system of grading in my classroom. New subject (one I know!!), new students, and new grading.

In the next post I will outline the skeleton of what I plan to do. I am sure it will change a million times before now and school starting. Comments are welcome. :)