Monday, November 8, 2010

Assessments - Depth and Frequency

A few unsorted observations that I've had on assessment, now that the first term using SBG is nearing an end:
  • Assessing a standard 3, 4, or 5 or more times in a week is silly (especially because I report scores only weekly - those would all turn into one score).  Working with those standards that many times is great, but pick one to be an assessment, preferably the hardest.
  • It's great (almost required) to assess each content standard before the test.  For me, this has meant more frequent small quizzes.
  • It's tricky to deal with assessing a standard with a shallow-level question, in the absence of other data.  Getting it right doesn't really mean a 4, though getting it wrong could easily mean 0 or 1.
  • Frequent assessments dealing with lots of standards are a pain to keep track of, and take longer to grade.  Sometimes, it's unavoidable.
  • Sometimes, I feel like I need a "knew what the hell was going on in lab" standard, apart from any sort of content or skill.
  • Broad and shallow assessments seem to give me the most pause when determining the scores to give.  Tests can be deep enough (and varied enough) that I can get a good picture of many standards at once.  Narrowly-focused quizzes, however, seem to be the best kind, because I can get the same kind of insight that I can on a test, just not over so many standards.  Lots of shallower questions (or a few questions smearing a variety of topics together) can tell me what you don't know anything about, but they're not great at telling me what you know at a 3.5 or 4 level.
  • Even though the understanding of some overarching concepts is key in the overall prosecution of a problem, I tend towards mostly assessing them via "conceptual" questions, which can come as 'clicker' questions or ranking tasks, or which can come as the same types of questions on tests.  I'm not sure if that's good or not, but that's just how it seems that it has gone.
  • Fewer kids than I've expected have come back to reassess.  It'll surely pick up towards the end of the term, but the "one standard per day" reassessment rule will keep it manageable for me.