New Moves: Reassessment

I’ve been a bit swamped over the course of the semester and unfortunately haven’t made the time to write regularly. There were lots of factors converging, and nothing negative, so I accepted that it might be one of the things to slip. This is something I will adjust for semester two.

I’ve written in the past about my reassessment systems and use of WeinbergCloud to manage them. I knew something had to change and thought a lot about what I was going to do to make my system more reasonable, something the old system was not.

At the beginning of the year, I sat down and started to reprogram the site...and then stopped. As much as I enjoyed the process of tweaking its features and solving problems that arose with its use, it was not where I wanted to spend my time. I also knew that I was going to teach a course with a colleague who also was planning to do reassessment, but I was not ready to build my system to manage multiple teachers.

I made an executive decision and stepped away from the WeinbergCloud project. It served me well, but it was time to come up with a different solution. We use Google for Education at my school, and the students are well versed in the use of calendars for school events. I decided to make this the main platform for all sorts of reasons. By putting my full class and meeting schedule into Google calendar, it meant that I could schedule student reassessments by actually seeing what my schedule looked like on a given week. Students last year would sign up to reassess at times when I had lunch duty or an after school meeting because my site didn’t have any way to block out times. This was a major improvement.

I also limited students to one reassessment per week. They needed to email me before the beginning of any given week and tell me what standard they wanted to reassess over. I would then send them an invite to a time they would show up to do their reassessment. This improved both student preparation and my ability to plan ahead for reassessments knowing what my schedule looked like for the day. Students liked it up until the final week of the semester, when they really wanted to reassess multiple times. I think this is a feature, not a bug, and will incentivize planning ahead.

I recorded student reassessments in PowerSchool in the comment tab. Grades with comments appear with a small flag next to them. This meant I could scan across horizontally to see what an individual student had reassessed on. I could also look vertically to see which standards were being assessed most frequently. The visual record was much more effective for qualitative views of the system than what I had previously with WeinbergCloud.

The system above was for my IB and AP classes. For Algebra 2 (for which I teach two sections and share with the other teacher) we had a simpler system. Students would be quizzed on standards, usually two at a time. Exams would be reassessments on all of the standards. Students would then have a third opportunity to be quizzed on up to three of the standards of each unit later in the semester. Students that had less than an 8 were required to reassess. This system worked well for the most part. Some students thought that the type of questions between the quiz and exam were different enough that they were not equivalent assessments of the standards. My colleague and I spent a lot of time talking through the questions, identifying the types of mistakes on individual questions that were indicators of 6 versus 8 versus 10, and also unifying the feedback we gave students after assessments. The system isn’t perfect, but students also were all given up to three opportunities to be assessed on every standard. This equity is not something that I’ve had happen before in my previous manifestations of SBG.

On the whole, both flavors of reassessment systems were much more reasonable and manageable, and I think they are here to stay. I’ll spend some time during the winter break thinking about what tweaks might be needed, if any, for the second half of the year.

3 thoughts on “New Moves: Reassessment

  1. I am chunking content in my Alg 1 class b/c of learning issues. I want to make sure that I give the kids ways to see the content and have an opportunity to show progress. I have not used quizzes as extensively as each standard, but I think this will be something I will build into next semester to help my kids see where they are... I want them to be more successful on their tests, which my district grading system weights at over 50% of grade (across district/summative assessments). They need a better way to see where they are academically. We are also using google for ed and I love the calendar functionality!

  2. Thanks for the honest description of why you stepped away from a project. I found myself nodding my head as you talked about how you realized there was another way, even if it was one you might not be as proud of (I don't mean you'd be embarrassed by the other one, just that you had something that you created on your own that gave you joy, and now needed to use something else that worked great but you couldn't claim that you invented it). I face decisions like that all the time. Earlier this week I spent 2 days making cool visuals of how students change majors at my institution. On the third day I showed it to a colleague and he said, "oh, just like this report from EAB (our data management partner)". I realized that the EAB system is much better suited for others to play with the data and I realized that I hadn't even looked around when first starting my version of the project. I know why. It was because it was fun and I figured others would appreciate it and me. So anyways, thanks for this great insight into how you dealt with a similar situation.

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