How can we make frequent and spiraled assessments in a standards-based grading system work while retaining the joy of teaching and learning? It's not easy, but can be accomplished if we redefine what assessment looks like. Here are a few things I have learned that helped me make standards-based grading work with in a social studies classroom.
Our department has adopted and prioritized the C3 standards. One of the things I like the most about the C3 standards is their foundation in Inquiry processes that support each of the four disciplines. One issue I still go back and forth on is to what extent a foundation 9/10 course needs to have standards … Continue reading C3 Standards: Writing Proficiency Scales
I no longer teach at a school that uses standards based grading. However, I believe in the spirit of it; how it honors growth over time, includes clearer and more visible learning objective, offers opportunities for better feedback, and generally supports learning over GPA outcomes. (That's a tall order to sell, I know). So, I have been reflecting on how to integrate the best parts of SBG into a traditional grading system.
The content of history curriculum is constantly growing and teachers have less and less time to teach it. Teachers need strategies to guide content selection, make courageous deletions, and unlock the potential of history education. This includes involving student choice and inquiry into the process.
My unit design process for a thematic course involves overcoming several challenges: content and skill selection, assessment design, and leaving space for inquiry, scaffolding, and differentiation. A healthy dose of backwards design alongside the four non-negotiables of my own process end up making things work.
I use skills-based enduring understandings to design my lesson activities, create and tune assessments, and plan my units so that they are aligned and have strong progression of skills. History teachers who already teach skills will not find all of these new nor incredibly insightful. It's how you use the enduring understandings that can be transformative in the classroom.
We all have bad days, we all appreciate second chance. Although there were exceptions, I found in our small representation of international educators that people were philosophically supportive of reassessment but disagreed quite a bit about the logistics of how it should be done. Here is how I made it work.
Whatever your content, whatever the skills or standards you are teaching, begin with evidence. It makes inquiry more possible and gives power to students, turning them into active historians instead of receptacles of information.
My wife and I just finished the process of our move to Shanghai. So, with that done, I can return to this blog to post about my favorite skill to teach: Multiple Causation. It's been a longer than expected hiatus, but I doubt it matters very much given the fact that readers are essentially still … Continue reading Teaching Multiple Causation
When I started teaching in Florida, I used the standards as I was given. "Used" is a generous word though as I did what many new teachers do, used the textbook as my curriculum and mixed in various activities, simulations, etc. into the lessons to spice things up. The standards were what I pulled out … Continue reading So many standards!