Working with students to improve writing can feel overwhelming. To decrease overwhelm and to increase students' success, I've been experimenting with a formative strategy called No-Grade Feedback or Comment-Only Marking. This is an idea I picked up at KLT training. (For more info re: KLT, talk to Allred!) Below is the context, process, and results. If you would like me to explain any of this in person, let me know!
Context: In art history (a social studies class), students have to do A LOT of written responses, and it's a type of academic writing that has to be specific, accurate, as well as on topic. The class is offered as AP, but I actually have more regular credit students in the class than AP students...so we have to spend time building academic writing skills.
1. I provide the prompt broken down into steps on a notes graphic organizer (see below).
2. Students have access to resources (textbook, Khan Academy, and class notes) as they collect notes on the graphic organizer.
3. We spend 10ish minutes in class getting as far as possible on the graphic organizer then turn it in...even if not finished!
4. I use sticky notes (see pics below) to give encouragement and prompts for improvement that will make their notes more specific, accurate, and/or on topic.
5. I hand back the graphic organizer with my sticky notes the next day in class. Students use my feedback to improve their notes and keep working for another 10 minutes. For students who finish their notes, they use their notes to start writing the response in full sentences. After 10 minutes are up, they turn in their notes and/or response again...even if not finished.
6. I read the notes and responses and attach more encouragement or feedback sticky notes. I return the notes and responses with sticky notes again the next class period. Students work another 10 minutes. By this point, most are done with notes and working on the response.
7. I repeat the back and forth with stickies until most students are finished or nearly finished with a response. Then I review the written response rubric (see below) with examples.
8. Students use rubric and examples to improve their response. They turn in their response again.
9. I attach the rubric to each response and use stickies to give feedback re: where students currently fall on the rubric. I give the responses and rubric back to the students. They use the rubric and stickies to improve the response one last time.
10. I collect the responses one last time, score them with the rubric, and put the score in the gradebook as formative (...or if it's below passing, I give it back to the students with feedback and we keep going back and forth).
11. Students are now ready to tackle a similar but new prompt independently for a summative grade.
I can catch thinking flaws and correct writing errors before the whole response is a hot mess. I'm not overwhelmed with or exhausted by spending several minutes on each student's loooooong and poorly written response. Students can act on the feedback quickly and learn to utilize the rubric as well as provided examples as a guide. Writing time is limited (10ish minutes at a time), which limits students' tendancies to procrastinate. Overall, students' responses are better, more writing is getting completed/turned in...and I have more sanity at the end of the day. Win-win!
Again, let me know if you'd like me to explain any of this in person!
Whew. It's been a roller coaster the last few years with changes in assessment and grading systems! One of the challenges in this transition has been getting students to complete homework or other practice (formative) tasks. I've been studying the book, Classroom Assessment for Student Learning (CASL) and experimenting with some strategies to address this challenge in my classroom. I'm sharing tools and info below in case these are helpful to you and your students. Let me know if you'd like me to explain any of this in person!
I've been trying progress monitoring/student reflection tools (attached below). The tools contain:
The intent of all this? I'm pushing students to make the connections between the practice we do and their summative outcomes. I'm also pushing students to be more proactive (progress monitor) rather than reactive (constant assessment retake)...which should contribute to increased student success on the summative and decrease the need for re-takes.
Results so far? The number of students completing homework has increased and students are more focused/engaged during class activities. I'm eager to see what the next summative scores will be and how they compared to my last summative scores!
Again, let me know if you'd like me to explain any of this in person! Rock on, SMHS educators :)
Shared ideas and shout-outs from colleagues