Intrigued – Concept Based Assessment

Alright already – I am intrigued if not yet convinced I can do it.  You math bloggers out there are really getting to me.  I know this – I hate the current method of grading.  I am forever tweaking at the end to give each child the grade that I believe matches their understanding.  Kids in the middle I can’t help – but kids on the edge are why I am up until 2am working on grades at report card time.

Can I do it?  I don’t know!  With all new subjects (and grade levels) it will be like I am going to be a first year teacher again in the fall.  But this time I have three kids who are heavily involved in sports and an equally busy husband.

The Good – I am in a private school so we do not have “standards” like the public school.  So, I will refer to it as “Concept-Based Assessment”.  I love the idea of the concept based assessment.  I love the idea that my students and I will know what concept each of them need work on.  I already made my list of concepts I would like to cover for 7th grade.

The Bad – I already made my list of concepts I would like to cover for 7th grade and I have almost 50!!  I loved doing this however bc it really laid the year out before my eyes and made me determine what was the most crucial to cover and what was not as important.

The Ugly – I don’t know how this will fly with my school or students.  I don’t know if I can keep up with the constant retesting that this seems to require while planning two new classes.  I may even do this in tandem for a while to see how it is working before jumping off of the cliff.

I made my first concept based assessment today.  It really felt TOO short.  I am a bit torn.  My ratio change has to be priority number one this year.  But I would really like to give this a stab as well.

Yes, as usual I am spiraling towards the “biting off more that I can chew” year.  Business as usual for me!  🙂

4 thoughts on “Intrigued – Concept Based Assessment

  1. Here’s an idea that I’ve toyed around with and would probably try if I were teaching next year: Would you feel comfortable scoring students informally on some or all of the concepts? If I had a list of concepts I was targeting, I could walk around the classroom and observe students working on tasks and judge their competency. If students wanted to challenge their score, they could ask for additional observation or a more traditional paper/pencil test. If you feel like you can pull it off and have the freedom to try, this could greatly ease the amount of test/retest paperwork to shuffle. (Which is a significant task by itself, believe me.)

  2. Great blog, and welcome to the community! Don’t get tripped up on edu-jargon. I like your idea of concept-based (standards-based, whatev…), but the central idea here is empowering students to understand the curriculum before them so that they can remediate and plan for the future. This blog revolution is about taking the magic out of grades, and giving the students ownership of learning. I love where you’re headed. Thanks for having the courage to write out loud!

  3. Thanks to all for the comments! I am learning so much!

    @Raymond – Yes, this is what I am thinking about doing. I will do it for my own records so I don’t have to worry about the retests. Great thought! They won’t need to challenge the score since it will just be for me and them to analyze what they need to master.

    @Jason – this is definitely the hardest part for me. These are also new classes for me to teach so I don’t know what I can even combine yet. This is another reason I am going to give it a “trial go” this year. 50 is wayyyyy too many but I need more experience to pare it down. I would appreciate any suggestions on what I could cut out. 🙂

    @Shawn – thanks for the encouragement. I am so excited to see what happens and what we discover by analyzing what students know of each concept. This morning I came up with a new thought. I had already planned on pretesting the students before each chapter this year. So, I am going to add a “prior knowledge” column to the concept check-list (as the very first column). This will also enable the students to see how much they have learned.

What do you think?

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