Evaluating Students | Center for Teaching and Learning
Using Performance-Based Assessment with Service Learning 5 Perceptions of Students Involved in Service-learning Activities. Name: Date: On a scale from. Student responses to assignments and assessment items that have a single, on open-ended tasks; 2) four kinds of criterion-based evaluation tools; .. Website Title: le-reiki.info | Publication date: –03– Task Description: Students will work together in assigned teams to create a video The presentation should include appropriate photographs, video, music, graphs, and other visual aids. Information is incorrect, out of date, or incomplete.
How do we ensure a common vision in order to provide students as much consistency as possible? Rather than receive percentage-based letter grades for each of these categories, we drafted and submitted to teachers a four-point rubric for each of the three grading categories. The rubric sparked conversation and thinking, and teachers immediately went to work crafting that document into the grading rubric we currently use throughout our middle school.
Since its debut, our rubric has been through at least changes, all of them informed by discussions among groups of interested educators and administrators. And we still affectionately call the rubric a draft because it will continue to evolve with us and our students. The rubric has proven to be a critical element of mission-based grading. Some of the less optimistic among us predicted difficulty, but the teachers were encouraged to know that school administration would have their backs throughout the process.
During this first year, the sixth-grade team asked, considered, and sometimes answered many key questions: How often do I assess in each category? Should I break out sub-themes within grading categories to give more precise feedback to students something akin to standards-based grading?
How do we weigh formative and summative assessments in academic mastery? Every question led to new insights, new iterations, and new questions. All the while, teachers were becoming convinced that mission-based grading was impacting teaching and learning in meaningful and substantial ways.
The separation of the grading categories has sharpened the focus on academic mastery. We also noticed a shift in student behavior. The tendency to focus on points and percentages was replaced by requests for feedback and meaningful conversations about their learning.
In addition, teachers report fewer discipline issues, believing their regular conversations with students about personal productivity and community contributions responsibilities have made students more aware of, and reflective about, the consequences of their actions. All of these observations gave us confidence to transition from pilot to policy, so we decided to roll out mission-based grading to the entire middle school, one year at a time.
And while we suspect this system would also benefit older adolescents, we recognize the high-stakes nature of high school transcripts, which reinforced our decision to pilot this reform solely in our middle school. Well before the official launch of these reforms, it became clear that success would be contingent upon consistent community-wide reeducation. Convincing our community that mission-based grading holds the potential to support and improve student learning is essential, and accomplishing this requires that we challenge our deeply held and long-standing beliefs about traditional grading.
Many in our community quickly recognized two core improvements with mission-based grading: As we continue to engage with our community, we tend to encounter three main concerns: We feel well-equipped to respond to the first two concerns. Numerous studies dating back to the early 20th century reveal the lack of objectivity in traditional percentage-based grading. Our system is not free of subjectivity, but in contrast to the undefined levels in a percentage-based system, mission-based grading consists of only four well-defined levels.
Our rubric contains rich language describing key student learning behaviors at each level, and teachers collaborate regularly to align their interpretation of that language. In addition, teachers are moving beyond extra credit and focusing more on depth than on breadth, resulting in more intentional efforts to provide students with opportunities to challenge themselves and demonstrate true mastery of learning goals.
Instead, we heed the recommendations of a growing body of research and strive to develop in our students the skills needed to be effective learners.
Some parents have also expressed concern that our high school will choose to adopt mission-based grading. This consternation is likely rooted in a belief that admission officers at elite colleges and universities will not give full consideration to graduates possessing non-traditional, proficiency-based high school transcripts.
For decades now, colleges and universities have welcomed students from high schools that use a broad range of grading schemes. In fact, earlier this year the New England Board of Higher Education and the New England Secondary School Consortium convened a meeting of admissions officers from a group of highly selective colleges and universities in the region.
During a robust discussion on the topic, these admissions leaders indicated overwhelmingly that students with proficiency-based transcripts would not be disadvantaged, even in a highly selective admission process. Our eighth-grade teachers will roll out mission-based grading in the fall ofuniting our entire middle school in this learning-focused grading reform.
However, just as important as summative evaluation--determined through quizzes, tests, term papers, mid-terms, and final exams--is the formative evaluation that you can do throughout the semester in order to assess how well your students are learning as they prepare for summative evaluation.
Formative evaluation can pre-empt poor student performance on summative evaluation projects; at the same time, formative evaluation can communicate to both teachers and students whether or not course content is effectively being communicated and learned, information that can lead to refinement of instruction on the part of the teacher and refinement of studying techniques on the part of the students.
The remainder of this section focuses on some important aspect of summative evaluation. Testing Testing serves three main purposes. Tests are diagnostic tools that help you establish what students already know. Tests are formative because they give students feedback as well as help you to improve your instruction. Finally, tests are summative in that they evaluate student performance for the purpose of assigning a final grade.
Tell your students in advance, preferably at the beginning of the term, what kinds of tests will given in the course. The nature of the course test format will directly influence how students will prepare, study, and learn. In most introductory courses at the University of Georgia, professors assign several tests during the course of the semester, in addition to the final examination.
Having first defined the scope of the test, next decide what kind of test will best measure student progress.
How will we evaluate student performance on tasks? (Part 6)
The nature of the subject and the personal teaching philosophy of the course instructor will usually determine which format will work best. If the course has focused on facts, data, and procedures that the student will need to recall, then an objective test will probably be most appropriate. On the other hand, if your students have been organizing, synthesizing, and applying knowledge in class on a regular basis, then perhaps an essay test, problem solving project, or written assignment will be a more suitable test.
Format To decide upon a format, it may be helpful to write down all the topics you wish to test under each course objective and then classify the topics according to importance. Next, outline the questions you want to ask on each topic, keeping in mind that the more important topics deserve the most attention.
Beside each question, indicate whether it will require the students to recall facts, understand or explain a concept, or apply knowledge.
Your choice of an exam format should be based on the learning outcomes you want to test. Listed below are some possible exam formats. You can combine several of these to create a well-balanced test. Essay tests give students a chance to organize, evaluate, and think, and therefore often are very effective for measuring how well students have learned.
They are, unfortunately, the most difficult and time consuming to grade. It is a good idea to establish the criteria for grading an essay or discussion question ahead of time to insure that the test question is written clearly, and to insure that students understand what kind of answers are expected.
Short Answer questions allow for greater specificity in testing while still providing some opportunity for student creativity. Some short answer questions test recall, but can be more challenging than multiple choice, which allows students to recognize correct answers. In a typical test period, most students cannot address more than two or three essay questions adequately.
During the same period, students can respond to eight or ten short answer questions, which could cover a broader range of topics. By only allowing a limited space for short answers, students are encouraged to be precise.
How will we evaluate student performance on tasks? (Part 6)
Multiple Choice questions are very versatile and may be especially useful for testing the ability to interpret diagrams, sketches, tables, graphs, and related material. These questions are very easy to grade, and are frequently used in large classes. Unfortunately, it is difficult and time consuming to write good multiple choice questions.
If you are teaching a small class, you may want to consider less time consuming test construction. Each multiple choice question should contain a stem consisting of a clear, complete thought or problem, which may be presented as a sentence, a question, or a statement missing a few words and a set of optional answers. Like the stem, the options should be clear and concise, and the distracters incorrect answers generally should include common misperceptions, true statements that are in the wrong context for the question, and incorrect answers that might sound plausible to naive students.
Write out three to five optional answers per question, and hide the correct answer randomly among the distracters.
Write options that are nearly equal in length and style. Make certain that there are no verb tense changes and that subject and verb agree from the stem to the options. Completion questions test for recall of key terms and concepts. These questions usually consist of sentences in which one or more key words have been left blank for students to complete.
Make sure that all completion question blanks are of the same length. Matching questions are useful for testing recognition of the relationships between pairs of words or between words and definitions. Matching questions are usually composed of a list of stems and an equal or greater list of optional answers to be matched to the stems.
The stems may be complete sentences, definitions, short phrases, or single words, such as the name of a major concept, geographical location, or philosophic or scientific principle. The options may be single words or definitions.
All options and stems should be of the same length. Supply enough answer choices so that students cannot simply guess by process of elimination. Matching questions are more effective when used in sets of at least five to ten related items. True-False questions are easy to write and grade, but are not recommended as a dependable means for measuring student learning, except for testing factual recall.
If you choose to use true-false questions, avoid creating double negatives, and avoid ambiguity in your statements. Test Administration Testing is a tense time for most students, and any effort you can extend to make the process run smoothly and minimize interruptions will generally be reflected in improved student morale and performance.
Have your exams copied, collated, and ready to be distributed well before class begins. Write announcements, corrections, or further announcements on the board, and make certain that you let your students know ahead of time that you will be doing this. You may wish to write the time remaining on the board in fifteen minute increments.
If the test is well-written, provides clear, adequate instructions, and is ready to distribute the moment the test period starts, students will be less anxious. Grading Grades provide the triple-crown of assessment at the end of any unit or school term.
You can measure how well a student is learning as well as how effectively you are teaching the material, and you can provide valuable feedback to students. Because grades are used to determine entrance into programs and as criteria for scholarship qualification, grades can produce anxiety in most students, and the fear of a bad grade can even inhibit learning from taking place.
While you cannot prevent all grade anxiety, here are some helpful suggestions to reduce it in your class: Let your students know what is expected of them from the start of the course. Ideally, you should create a grading plan at the same time you plan the course. This is also the best time to decide how you will handle late assignments. Spell out your grading plan in the syllabus.
Check to see that all graded assignments tests, papers, quizzes, etc. Devise fair and reasonable grading procedures that will be applied equally to all students. Grade Distribution Grades are usually determined by comparison of student performance with absolute standards, the performance of other students, or a combination of the two.
In these cases, grading needs to be tempered with relative interpretations of student performance. Graphs or charts of grade distributions make it easier for you to see how good your evaluation method was.
Uneven or badly skewed distributions suggest a poor testing method. University Grading Policy Policies may vary from department to department, but The University of Georgia prescribes a uniform grading scale and letter grade symbols for assigning final student grades.
Beginning in the school year, the university will assign pluses and minuses to the grading system. For more detailed information, contact your departmental supervisor or graduate coordinator. Grading Objective Tests These tests usually take longer to create, but are the easiest and quickest to grade. Prepare an answer key, with point values assigned to each answer, before you begin to grade. It is a good practice to check each question before grading to see if more than one answer is acceptable.
If in the process of grading papers you discover that an inordinately large number of students performs poorly on a particular question, examine the question carefully. If you determine that the question is unsuitable, eliminate it from the test. Grading Essay Tests These tests take considerably longer to grade, thus it is all the more important to prepare a model answer or content outline with point values assigned before you begin to grade.
You want to strive for consistency in grading, which is sometimes best achieved by grading question by question, rather than student by student. Grading essays requires much subjective judgment, and your judgment can become clouded by grading for hours on end. Stop grading when you get fatigued. When you resume grading, read over the last few essays you had marked to make sure that you were fair.
Essay and discussion tests provide an excellent opportunity for feedback through marginal comments, recommendations for further study, and via posing alternate points of view. While some students are primarily interested in their grade, others might become discouraged if they have points taken off and do not understand why.
Students benefit best from feedback that makes at least one positive comment and is as constructive as possible. Returning Tests and Papers To maximize the educational benefits of a test, grade it and return it to your students as soon as possible. Discuss the test in class.
If the test is still fresh on their minds, your comments will more likely resonate with the students and help them prepare for subsequent tests.