Monday, May 18, 2015

Fitting Everything in IS a Challenge!

A couple days ago I was asked a pretty big question about implementing the Assessments with Learning Goals and Scales in the classroom. I wanted to give it ample space because a few sentences just isn't going to cover it!

User 5th_is_Fab has written the following comment regarding 
"4th Grade Common Core Math Assessment with Learning Goals & Scales!":

This is AMAZING and the amount of time that went into creating this is also AMAZING. However, in a real classroom where I only have x amount of time to teach all standards, I am racking my brain trying to figure out how to use this in the full way it was intended. We do not just teach one standard at a time so to group standards as a complete test would take the students a very long time to complete and a very long time for me to grade. (I only teach math... so I have 90 students.) I was thinking about starting them early and educating the parents on the importance of these assessments. That way I can do this as somewhat of a flipped model and have the students complete at home so not a ton of class time is disturbed.

I couldn't find your name, but you have an impressive profile; Teacher of the Year twice in your county? You obviously know what you're doing, so I'll assume you have a very well-structured classroom. I can definitely relate to limited time. I also worked as a resource teacher for a multi-age class so differentiation was a necessity.  Covering 3 grade levels of content was a constant problem to solve. 

First, I would say that the tests can be time consuming, but since they take the same test twice, you are actually killing two birds with one stone. The kids get some of the test done the first time through and you get some valuable feedback about who is in the most need of remediation or enrichment. I found in my classes that there were actually lessons I could skip altogether or review really quickly because I had seen their pretest results. I never had 90 students, so that is a pretty big hurdle to get over, especially when you'd be grading them twice. Hmmm... 


If your parent population is really engaged you could try to educate the parents on understanding the Portfolio Pages and the Assessment levels and have them do the pretest portion at home. My concern would be that it could get really tricky if a student comes back with all 4 levels complete and correct and you didn't actually see them do any of it. Maybe have some kind of limit on it, like they can only complete levels 1 and 2, then be given the rest as a post-test. You could observe in class which students are really catching on and compare that with their results. 

If you can get a few parent volunteers that you trust completely, you could ask for help grading the pretests.

The pretest score should not affect their grade in class, it is only a starting point; so whether or not you actually correct every problem may not make a huge difference. Their starting place would then be an estimate that they are making and recording on their Portfolio forms. You have to decide based on your students age, maturity, and circumstances if this will still serve the purpose of helping them become aware of their progress and see their own growth. This is the most important thing and the purpose of using scales!

You could start out by asking the students to give themselves an informal pretest score without grading it. So, they get the test page for the first time and are given a time limit in class such as 10-20 minutes to complete as much as they can. Without grading it, they see how far they got and try to answer honestly, "Can I do the problems in this section?" If they feel confident and you can see by browsing their paper for 10 seconds that they got that far, then they can color in a pretest level on their Portfolio forms. Then when you actually give the post-test you are only grading it once. 

I stopped grading my daily practice work when I realized that my students had no safe place to make mistakes. I would grade projects and larger in-class assignments, but had my students check their own daily practice work in small rotating groups from the teacher manual. Meanwhile I was around helping other kids. I had smaller classes so maybe it was easier for me to keep an eye on them. They also had each other and the group kept them pretty honest. You could have them take the pretests and them come together in small groups with an answer key that only covers sections 1 and 2, so they can't cheat on the grade level content. Then they would also get immediate feedback on their starting point for that standard.

You could also have them do things like writing reflections at home after the post test. Then parents could see how their child is doing and have their own conversation with them. For 4th graders, writing reflections may be difficult and very time consuming so I would definitely save that for homework. 

I definitely clumped the pre-test and post-test standards into small groups when I was teaching them. Some of them are quick and easy to get through. I understand that most resources aren't designed to match the standards, so there's always an overlap in content. That's no problem because you want your students to learn the content for good, not for a week or two before you move onto something else. I would usually give 1-3 assessments at a time, teach my unit, etc., and then spread out the post-tests so they were a week or two apart from each other. It can feel like a lot to keep track of, but since my district aligned scales to our grading system, I wasn't grading any other assessment - rarely any class practice, a few quizzes, and homework grades were mostly completion points because our district policy did not support heavy grading of homework assignments. You may have to reprioritize what you're grading and how much grading you need to do to have grades that really represent your student's learning. Ideally, their scores in the scales become their grade because that is what really shows what they know! Check your district's policies and see what you're comfortable with. 

I spent about a year and a half writing the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade Assessments for my multi-age math class. I spent another half a year at least trying to implement them routinely. It is a work in progress so I would encourage you to be patient with yourself. You're taking on the work to do something that could enrich your students, and that is admirable!  Keep trying to prioritize your class time by asking what activities will help your kids take ownership of their learning and make the most progress? You can trust your professional judgment and make modifications as needed. As long as you see your students progressing, you don't have to pressure yourself to do every assessment, lesson, or "good idea" that comes along. Marzano's research indicates that using learning goals and scales can make a huge difference in student growth because they help kids to become aware of their own learning and feel like they have some control over it. Otherwise you really are the one doing all the work for them. It's a lot of work when you first start using scales; writing them, implementing them, and tracking them, but it can also save you some wasted time teaching lessons you don't need or explaining to parents what their child is doing all year! Once it's a routine, it gets a little easier. 

Dear "5th is Fab" I hope you found some helpful ideas to try. Please keep in touch and let me know how it's going for you! I really commend you for trying to make this work smoothly in your situation.


Melanie LiCausi :)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Games in the Classroom! FUN! FUN! FUN!

This time of the year with test pressure behind us, lots of teachers are looking for fun ways to review or unwind. I have always loved using games in the classroom, but they can easily get out of hand or become huge time-wasters if not structured the right way. The best way I've found to structure game times is to use a timer!! This is very simple, very effective in getting a cooperative response from your students, and keeps you in a facilitative role instead of looking like the bad guy for stopping the fun!
These games are intended for grades 3-8 and include:
1. Math Madness: An Interactive Power Point Quiz Game.All answers are linked to a "Correct!" or "Oops!" page so students can play independently. (Grade Level Specific)
2. Overloaded Liters where students work through a visual representation of the place value system while earning cash for answering simple conversion problems.
3. Metric Mountain, a more advanced game that I developed for my high and gifted elementary students to practice metric conversions with decimals. This game helps students to develop an understanding of the inverse relationship between the size of pieces and amount of pieces being compared in equivalent decimal numbers such as 5 decimeters and 50 centimeters.

Sorry, this Raffle has ended, but you can still find these games by following the links below.
(These games were designed for grades 3-8 aligned to the Common Core Standards).

Visit my online store to download a free copy of Equivalent Fractions Games, a Power Point presentation that will teach your students how to add and subtract unit fractions using blocks. Templates are included so you can print your own blocks if you don't have plastic ones.


Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

5th Grade Common Core Math Quizzes for FREE!

Last week's freebie was the 4th Grade Common Core Math Quizzes, this week 5th grade is done and posted!

Grab the 5th Grade Common Core Math Quizzes for ALL Standards for FREE before they become a paid product. The Quizzes can be used as another document of mastery in your Student Portfolio Binders, or sent home to share progress with parents.


One of the most difficult standards for me and my fifth grade students is the big jump from operations with whole numbers to operations with decimals. Fourth grade introduces adding and subtracting fractions, but in one year, fifth graders are expected to master all four operations with fractions and decimals, including visual representations. Ouch! Not to mention the other clusters! This can be tricky and students need a really solid understanding of number and place value concepts first.

Some of my favorite tools for teaching fraction and decimal operations are:
1. The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives Fraction-Rectangle Multiplication which teaches students to break apart an array into fractions along each axis, just like multiplying whole numbers. If the axes are labeled correctly, students can find fractional products really easily!
The application allows you to visually solve proper and improper fractions, as well as test students. They model the algorithm next to each rectangle array.

The only downside is that the application will not allow you to set up a 10 x 10 grid for multiplying decimals. Once students are familiar with the set-up, they could easily use graph paper to model tenths.

2. Decimal Squares
The program worksheets may look out of date, but the representations are timeless! There are different packets of skill practice that help kids build the background knowledge they need to solve decimal operations with models and algorithms.

If you're not able to purchase another program, you can use the idea of modeling spaces on graph paper. Once students can do operations in one place value (.5 + .2; .07 - .03) then they can learn to break apart multiple place values (.25 + .13) with the same operations.
I also found the idea of open arrays to help with modeling. An open array is just rectangles divided into labeled spaces by place value. It allows kids to multiply in smaller pieces and then add them together.

The 4th Grade Bundle was just published last week in my TpT store. The 5th grade Bundle will be available mid-week, once the Quiz Freebie expires.

I will announce each grade level set as it is finished, so please KEEP in TOUCH!
The quizzes will only be free for a few days, and then they will become paid products. You can see the updates on my Facebook page, my Pinterest boards, or here. Just click the "Follow Me" buttons.

                                              Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

4th Grade Common Core Math Quizzes - Freebie Frenzie!

Last week's freebie was the 3rd Grade Common Core Math Quizzes, this week 4th grade is done and posted!

Grab the 4th Grade Common Core Math Quizzes for ALL Standards for FREE before they become a paid product. 4th grade is one of those tough years where you are covering skills like measuring angles, for the first time ever, and your students may need a little extra practice to ensure mastery. The Quizzes can be used as another document of mastery in your Student Portfolio Binders, or sent home to share progress with parents.


The 3rd Grade Bundle is also ready and will be published tomorrow on my TpT store.

I really want to give a gift to those of you who have already been using the Math materials with Learning Goals and Scales. You shouldn't have to buy another item when new buyers will get it all in one discounted bundle.
I will announce each grade level set as it is finished, so please KEEP in TOUCH!
The quizzes will only be free for a few days, and then they will become paid products. You can see the updates on my Facebook page, my Pinterest boards, or here. Just click the "Follow Me" buttons.

                                              Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Working on it Wednesday Night - FREE Quizzes for Common Core Math

Okay, most of you are in bed already, but here in Arizona I still have 53 minutes left of Wednesday! Yeah!

I usually start working when my husband comes home from work and can take the little ones; our son is 4, and our daughter is 18 months. They are adorable!!! but seem to extract every ounce of energy I have most days. If I can work until midnight without my eyes glazing over, it's a good night!!!

What have I been working on? Well, I try to honor teacher requests for materials as best as I can working part time, but I am really excited that my new Quizzes are coming along quickly! Partly because I started them in January, the free Math Quizzes by Domain - but they didn't cover enough to be helpful. If a teacher is going to have more than one way to document student learning, then the quizzes really have to represent the core skills and knowledge of each standard at grade level. These quizzes have 3-6 questions for each standard, and can be done after the pre-test, but before the post-test (if you're also using the Assessments with Learning Goals and Scales). They can be sent home for some immediate student feedback, or added to the Student Portfolio binders as extra evidence of student mastery. The content of the Quizzes represents mastery of Level 3 of the scales, since that is the grade-level expectation.

Here's the 3rd Grade Common Core Math Quizzes for ALL Standards - coming up first! Follow this link to grab your free Quizzes before they become a paid product. I plan on bundling all of my grade-level materials once the quizzes are done, but I really want to give a gift to those of you who have already been using the Math materials with Learning Goals and Scales. You shouldn't have to buy another item when new buyers will get it all in one discounted purchase. Just trying to make things fair!

I will announce each grade level set as it is finished, so please KEEP in TOUCH!
The quizzes will only be free for a few days, and then they will become paid products. You can see the updates on my Facebook page, my Pinterest boards, or here. Just click the "Follow Me" buttons.

                                              Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

You Oughta Know About - Marzano's Learning Goals and Scales

One of the most transforming and challenging bit of professional development I've ever received was when my district asked us to create SCALES for our learning goals. What is a scale? and who is Marzano? Robert Marzano's work in  The Art and Science of TeachingA Comprehensive Framework for Effective Instruction, highlighted some principles of education that most teachers know, but easily forget in the business of everyday duties. One of the chapters specifically talks about tracking student progress in a learning goal by breaking it down into consecutively more difficult pieces. In another work he suggests that implementing this strategy can increase student performance more than any other strategy you could try! 

He also suggests a meaning for each scale.  Scale 1 designates a very beginning level of exposure to a skill or concept. Scale 2 represents someone who is still working on mastering a concept, but has some basics down. (I like to use skills from previous grade levels for scales 1-2 whenever possible. I can quickly check on what they were supposed to learn!) Scale 3 shows mastery of grade-level expectations, and Scale 4 could be either an advanced knowledge, in-depth explanations, or an ability to apply the knowledge to more complex situations.

Here's an example of a posted Learning Goal and Scale. 

Having a scale begs the question, how do I decide which students are where? When I introduced a new topic and scale, I asked students to show me where they thought they were by holding up fingers. Then I would take a mental note and try to segment them into 2-3 smaller groups for practice activities and instruction. I didn't feel very confident about this method and it was very messy and difficult to track. I wanted something more concrete and poured a few hours into making an assessment for each scale. (See below.)

When I introduced the Assessment as a pre-assessment, they enjoyed the fact that there was no pressure to know everything right away. They completed as much as they could, and I graded it so I could share their progress with them. The next day I would return it so they could see how far they'd gotten. Depending how much time I had, I would either return it individually, let them peruse it for a few minutes, then move onto the daily lessons; or I would return it in small groups based on performance level (1s together, 2s together, etc.) and meet with them to go over the test and skills. I would usually spend time going over the next skills so they would have an immediate goal to focus on in class. I would only fit in a meeting with each group about once a week, but it was better than nothing. The kids seemed really motivated to progress and felt like they were 'cheating' because they got to see the test in advance.

I used the same exact test as a post-assessment, and the kids really loved being able to see the scales they'd already mastered and skip ahead to finish the test faster! Those who had gotten really far only had to complete scales 3-4. Those who had more to learn, had more work to do, but this was okay because it also helped me to manage the environment. I would have 1-2 "When You're Done..." activities up on the board for the kids I knew would be done quickly. I made sure there were quieter areas of the room for the kids who would need the whole period to finish.

I didn't feel like I was letting the kids "cheat" because first of all, there were usually 2-4 weeks between the time they took the assessment as a pre-test, and a post-test. It was very unlikely they were going to remember the problems. Secondly, kids learn through repetition and practice, and the more they get to see and hear the learning goals and examples, the more likely they will be conscious of their learning. When kids are conscious of their learning, they are much more likely to take ownership of it! THIS IS THE GOAL! Teach kids to realize that they have charge of their learning, not just me! 

I can't tell you how proud and happy they were to SEE their progress and feel like they had more than one chance to master it!!

Each student should complete the test for one math standard in one sitting, doing as much as they can independently. Then the test is corrected and scored. The first score is not for grading purposes. It is only to give you a starting place for planning and differentiation; and the student some acknowledgement for what they already know. The first score simply tells you how many scales (sections) the student has mastered. They don't necessarily need to have 100% correct to "pass" a section. It's up to the teacher, who knows the child, to decide what passing looks like. Scoring them can be tricky if you have a child who masters scale 2, but not scale 1, like the student above. I would have him color in the scale 2 box, but not the scale 1 box on his Portfolio sheet.

After the students receive their scores they can look them over and record them on their Student Portfolio sheets. The sheets provide a brief statement of each standard, coloring boxes for each scale, and a goal setting space on the back. You can decide whether or not you have time to write goals and reflections, but it does help the students become more conscious of what they're doing well in, or need to be more attentive to. I had my students keep all of their Portfolio pages in a binder, and we would add each test as it was completed. The Portfolio pages were created to be binder dividers for each cluster of math standards.

On the back side of the Portfolio page, the student above could think about what he found difficult about scale 1, and write one sentence about what he would like to learn. He might set a goal to be able to do these kinds of problems in the next few weeks, or to pay extra attention to problems like this in class. She might set a goal to ask more questions or practice these problems more.

After the pretest students can be grouped for instruction and differentiation. I like to use color-coded spreadsheets for easy sorting. You can find some FREE ones pre-formatted with color-coding and links to the Common Core standards for quick reference. Visit Mrs. L's Leveled Learning Store and click on your grade level in the Custom Categories tab, or scroll though the list of products. The sets of Student Portfolio pages are also FREE and can be found here.

The teacher decides when students have been given ample time to learn the content from each standard, and then the same exact test is given again as a Post-test.  I waited anywhere from 2-4 weeks to give the post-test. Students should be given as much time as they need to complete the entire test. Depending on your students, you may or may not require all of them to complete scale 4. This is also the time when your students  have the opportunity to complete and correct any mistakes they made on the pretest. Students will pick up right where they left off. Since some have a lot to learn, and others don't, it's good to plan a silent activity for individuals who finish early.

The post-test is scored and graded this time. Here is a suggested grading scale. An explanation of the grading scale is given in more detail here.

4.0 - 100% A+
3.5 - 95%   A
3.0 - 90%   A-
2.5 - 80%   B/B-
2.0 - 70%   C/C-
1.5 - 65%   D
1.0 - 60%   D-
0.0 - 50%   E

After the post-test is graded, students can go back and color in more of their scales to show what they've mastered. They may also revisit their goals to record whether they "reached [their] goal,"  "made progress,"  or are "... still working on this."  Giving some reasons may also help students become more aware of their learning. These Assessments and Student Portfolio binders are excellent for parent conferences and administrator evaluations! I found that I didn't have to spend as much time explaining what we were doing in math class. Each child's progress is so clearly and simply documented. Find FREE samples of every Assessment, Portfolio, and Posters on my FREEBIES page.

Click Here to see a Video Tutorial using Scales.

                             Thanks for stopping by! 
Thanks to Jasmine from Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for hosting this blog hop!
and Jackie Sutcliffe from Real Learning in Room 213.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rewards and Consequences

Rewards and consequences have their pros and cons. When I was in the classroom with my first and second graders I tried establishing a rewards system. I hated the inconvenience of having to pay attention to one more detail! One more thing to assess, document, or put money into. My brain just felt overwhelmed and I honestly wasn't very good at being consistent with a system. It just felt a bit artificial and I didn't really sell it well. I wondered if I was accomplishing the right thing with my students - of course I wanted immediate compliance, but were they learning to gain self-control and self-confidence or was I training them to always expect a reward? I guess I believed that external rewards hinder internal motivation and fostering internal motivation is what really creates enthusiasm for learning. Real learning that lasts, not just finishing homework or following directions during group work.

Now  I have my own kids, and I am reconsidering this issue with potty training. My husband and I have been a little frustrated that we've been working on potty-training our son for 2 years - yes, he is almost 4. I have gone through the whole gammit of thoughts and feelings like "Oh my gosh, I am such a bad parent -we haven't gotten a handle on this - something is wrong with him - we are spoiling him to let this go on so long…etc. etc." We have tried rewards like suckers and toys, but then he just asks for treats all day. God forbid he fail to get a treat, and the tantrums go on and on. He didn't seem to be making much progress. After a few weeks he just stopped caring about stickers and treats and was more interested in playing than stopping for potty breaks. Our pediatrician recommended we take a break from training and try again in a few weeks.

Next, we tried consequences - things like enforced potty breaks every half-hour, restricting favorite TV shows or activities that seemed to be distracting him from paying attention to the potty. This didn't work quite so well either because he would just get mad, resist our efforts to control him, and he actually started having more accidents! I couldn’t believe it. I gave up pressing the issue for a few weeks. He has to learn on his own, right? He has to be the one to decide that he is going to learn to monitor himself and DO IT!  Hence - internal motivation. We have always tried to give him a lot of verbal praise and affirmation for his efforts but in the end it comes down to the child. Some kids are much more independently willed than others. 

I did find some really great ideas for rewards at Child Development Institute. They are segmented by age level and focus on activities instead of material goods. Some of these make more sense to me as far as encouraging internal motivation, or at least your personal relationship with the child.

We are still intermittently using rewards, in combination with some consequences, but I have resigned myself to accept that he's on his own timeline with this. He wants to please us initially, and will hopefully feel good about his successes as he masters this new skill little by little!  I would love to hear any stories, wisdom, or redirection you have to offer! Feel free to leave a comment below! Are systems of rewards and consequences an effective way to get kids cooperating, or just an annoying inconvenience? 

How do they work in your classroom?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Conferences and Communication

Linking up with Love Always Diana Lynn for Math Madness Monday to share my favorite products.

On  March 16, 2015,  Tonya Hackett (TpT Seller) said:

"This resource has saved me! I love using the scales as a pre and a post check. They are kid friendly and a super tool to use during parent-teacher conferences. Thanks!!"

This bit of feedback from Tonya who is using the 4th Grade Common Core Math Assessment with Learning Goals and Scales, just reminded of those days when I sat through 30 plus conferences trying to explain in 10-15 minutes what we'd been working on for the last 5 months, and how their child was doing. Until I started using my Student Portfolios I didn't have a simple tool to help you communicate student progress with students, parents, administrators, and other teachers. 

Six years ago I was working at a Title I elementary school as a gifted resource teacher 75% of the time, and a reading interventionist 25% of the time. Talk about different spectrums! Luckily for me I worked with small groups, but since my students came from five different grade levels, and there were at least 3 teachers for every grade level, communication meant a lot of data and meetings! Ugh. I'm one of those weird teachers that found staff meetings to be fun because I got to talk to other teachers! But, data meetings - definitely not fun. Lots of numbers next to each name, but no examples of student work to help understand the fine details that could shed light on why each child was performing at their own level. It seems that with all of the inclusion, clustering, interventions, and enrichment programs being implemented, most classroom teachers have a whole team of co-workers to share students with. This means that communicating about student progress doesn't just happen a few times a year, but possibly every week! 
How nice would it be to have one organized place to display student performance data that explains itself! The Math Assessments with Learning Goals and Scales plus the free Student Portfolio Pages that go with each grade level, were created to be a visual tracking aid for documenting student progress in a really simple and consistent way. Click on the video link below to flip through the 4th Grade Portfolio Sample that Tonya used for parent-teacher conferences. Visit my FREEBIES page to try them out for yourself first. Grades 3-8 are available now. Check out the work samples below!

If you'd like to see a quick tutorial about how to put together the math assessment binder with the Student Portfolio pages, visit my YouTube playlist

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Make Differentiation Easy with Learning Goals and Scales

Differentiation can seem overwhelming when you think about having to plan for 3 or 4 different levels all at the same time. I used to think about differentiation as far as high and low, but that was about it. Often I didn't end up modifying that much and I definitely didn't keep track of who started where or how far they'd progressed. Differentiation seemed like a luxury, that I didn't have time for. Until I learned to plan ahead in a more detailed way. Research shows that students who start with clear and specific learning goals can concretely SEE their progress, and will show more learning at testing time! This sounds great, but how do you organize multiple levels of performance?

Learning Goals and Scales can help!

When you create a scale, each learning goal is broken down into five levels, from 0-4. Proficiency in each math standard is represented by a score of 3. A score of 4 indicates an advanced knowledge of the skill, usually above grade level. The goals assigned to scores of 2 and 1, are either derived from sub-skills of the standard, or from the background knowledge of earlier grade levels. A score of 0 on the learning scale is useful to document for students who really need intervention to grow.

It takes some time and some thinking to put them together at first, but once it's done, it's done!! You can create scales for any subject area and make them a little more general ("I can perform any fraction operation.") or more specific ("I can add and subtract fractions with different denominators.") I found math to be the most difficult to differentiate for, so I spent the most time creating them. I also chose to focus on the standards as my main learning goal so that I wouldn't have to create a separate one for each discrete skill!
                                                                 Here's an example:

When I started posting Learning Goals with Scales for our math standards, it became more obvious to them where they were starting from and where we were headed.  

We started by informally deciding where they were based on their own opinion; "Show me on your fingers if you think you are a 1-2-3-4 right now." This worked fine to get them used to the idea, but wasn't helping me to assess or plan as much until I created some concrete Assessments with Learning Goals and Scales which presented specific tasks for each level 0-1-2-3-4, so the kids had a way to show what they knew already. I spent over 120 hours creating Math Assessments with Learning Goals and Scales for grades 4, 5, and 6, which I was currently teaching the most. I spent these hours reading, researching, and creating Learning Goals and scales for each standard that drew from previous grade levels and future grade level skills. Since I had taught so many different grade levels of math, I had a good idea where to look for standards that progressed.You can see examples of Mrs. L's Assessments by visiting my blog:

I can't tell you how proud and happy they were to SEE their progress and feel like they had more than one chance to master it!!

Here's the 3 biggest benefits I found from using learning goals with scales...

1. Kids and parents will know exactly where learning and grades are coming from! After every single test, as if it were some unwritten ritual, students would brag, hide, and compare their test scores. Sound familiar? The most painful thing is to see those little jaws drop and faces turn red when they didn't score as well as they thought. "But, why did I get a 'C' Mrs. LiCausi?" (Even B's were a disappointment to those high-achievers!) I received a lot fewer questions from students, parents, and administrators when I could point out the progression of skills that a student had mastered or not, to get them to that place. When scales are aligned to specific grades, students can make a clear connection to their level of mastery and their final grade.
Visit my website to see an example of how to align traditional percentages to scales for grading!

2. Clear and specific guide for planning and assessing student progress. If you aren't lucky enough to work for a district that thoroughly plans your curriculum and mapping guides, then you know the painfully time-consuming process of sitting down with a year's worth of standards and trying to organize all those ideas, and break them down into manageable chunks for your students. The school year gets busy fast, and every time you switch topics and pre-assess your students, you're starting all over to figure out how to teach them where they're at, differentiating for different levels, and assessing again. If you've got learning goals and scales in order, the process goes so much faster because some of the thinking is done for you! You can move onto the fun part like planning and searching for awesome lessons!

3. Research supports it! Check out some of the following citations...

"The starting place for all effective instruction is designing and communicating clear learning goals."

"If teachers aren't sure of instructional goals, their instructional activities will not be focused, and unfocused instructional activities do not engender student learning.

 - Marzano [2009]

"Our collective goal is that the largest possible percentage of our students get there. To reach that goal we must define for ourselves and for them where "there" is. "

- Stiggins [1994]

"Learning targets convey to students the destination for the lesson - what to learn, how deeply to learn it, and exactly how to demonstrate their learning. In our estimation [Moss & Brookhart, 2009] and that of others [Seidle, Rimmele, & Prenzel, 2005; Stiggins, After, Chappuis & Chappuis, 2009], the intention of the lesson is one of the most important things students should learn. Without a precise description of where they are headed, too many students are "flying blind."

- Moss, Brookhart, Long [2011] Knowing Your Learning Target. Educational Leadership.  
68 [6]. pp.66-69.

Who has time to waste on ineffective approaches? 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Pop-Up Sign-up form