Wednesday, April 3, 2013

SBG Part 4 - The written assessment process

I have gone through many iterations of how to do assessment, but I think I've hit on something pretty good this year.  Here's how it goes:
  • I assess more frequently on fewer learning goals.  This allows me to conference with every (usually) student  immediately after each assessment.
  • My tests are printed in a specific format:
    • they have a cover page containing only the student's name, period, and any relevant given information (formulas, constants, etc.)
    • the questions are sectioned by learning goal
    • at the beginning of each section, the learning goal code and description are listed along with a score box
  • The first student who is done with the test comes up directly to me and I grade his/her test.  This has several benefits:
    • I get to have a individual conversation with each student.  I always greet the student by name and then take the time to briefly connect with them in some way besides the test we're about to grade.
    • If a student has written an answer that I am unclear about as I read it, I can ask the student right then and there to clarify their answer.  I can take that into account when score the test.
    • I can give the student immediate feedback.  Not the next week.  Not in two days.  Not tomorrow.  Immediately.  This is a big deal.
    • I can give specific ideas for them to remediate if necessary.
  • The second student done with the test stands in the "on-deck" circle near my desk.
  • The third student who is done puts their test in a wire bin, sits back down at their desk and works on whatever I have assigned students to do after the test.
    • Pointing into the wire bin is an old video camera that I have permanently checked out from our media center.  It serves as a DIY document cam.
    • The video camera is hooked up to the video port on my digital projector.
    • Since the cover page of the of the test does not contain any test questions/answers - no problem.
  • Other students who finish, put their test on the bottom of the stack in the wire bin.
  • When I am done conferencing with the first student, he/she goes into the lab area to update his/her notebook:
    • enters scores on unit score tracker in science notebook
    • color codes scores on tracker with a colored pencil:
      • 4 - green
      • 3 or 2 - yellow
      • 1 or 0 - red
    • puts assessment into his/her personal manila folder containing all written assessments
    • puts manila folder in a different wire bin
    • sits down at desk, calculates new science grade using notebook grade tracker page, and then works on assignment
  • When the first student leaves, the student in the on-deck circle comes up to get their test graded
  • The student whose name is being projected on the board gets their test out of the bin and waits in the on-deck circle.
  • The process continues until I'm done grading all the tests or the bell rings.
  • If I don't get to conference with all the students, I grade those tests after school and pass them back the next day.  Since I typically don't have many to grade, I have more time to leave detailed written feedback.


  1. A very well thought out system! Two quick thoughts come to mind when I read your system of assessing student learning. First and foremost, your top priority is providing immediate and meaningful feedback versus, just a grade. Secondly, your system optimizes instructional time! Great job!

    I really like how you section your learning goals. This can quickly reveal to you (the teacher) and more importantly (the student) which area he/she has mastered or needs more understanding. As a principal, when I visit classrooms, I am constantly asking students to tell me what they know and are able to do and also to describe the areas in which they lack understanding. I love it when they provide a quick and accurate response. I bet your students could do just that! Thanks for sharing this piece. Great work! Stay connected, Shawn

  2. I wanted to see what your format is but the link is no longer working. Is there a way for you to update the link. Thanks!

  3. I wanted to see what your format is but the link is no longer working. Is there a way for you to update the link. Thanks!