Assessment Workflow Breakthrough

I think I had a breakthrough today.

I’ve been meaning to blog about the “assessment workflow” in my classroom, but I’ve been putting it off because (a) time is limited, especially at the end of the school year, and (b) I wanted to be mostly satisfied with my workflow before I shared anything (and I’m not there yet).

I’ll write up the full details of how assessment happens in my classroom (it’s been a major work-in-progress this year), but for now I want to share a tiny bit of background and then cut to today’s breakthrough.

The Background

Last Sunday I aired some of my thoughts and questions on this topic to @Mythagon. A few other thoughtful folks dropped by to share their own ideas and pose a few new questions for me to chew on. It left me with a clear sense (as have other conversations) that my assessment routine fails students in the category of self-feedback. I’ve been trying to foster more (and better) student reflection in our assessment routine for several months now, and those efforts are the reason I’ve pasted this quick reflection form…

quick reflection

…at the bottom of every new assessment I write. However, I was looking for a way to incorporate something that would require students to be more thoughtful (just shading in a couple of boxes doesn’t necessarily demand any careful consideration) and at the same time foster a growth mindset among my students.

The Breakthrough

At the end of today’s assessment (after grading them; more on that in the next post), just before collecting everything, I gave students the following directions:

Assessment Reflection.001

Two minutes later, I collected the papers and we moved on to something else. Later in the day I went through the papers to confirm the results and scores, to get a sense of common mistakes (again, more on this workflow later), and (this part was new today!) to read the SP and STI comments.

Growth Mindset, Plans for the Future

It’s early, but I’m sensing that this could be one of the most important features of my classroom in terms of developing a growth mindset among my students. I love the blend of looking back to celebrate something and looking forward at something (and how) to improve.

I’m wondering now about the best way to incorporate this SP/STI reflection into the “aftermath” of all my assessments. The comments (see below for some samples) were physically all over the place, with some easier to read than others. It might be worth the time (and “lost” space on the page) to add a little box near the top of the assessment with room carved out for the SP and STI comments. I’ll tinker with the layout and post an update if I come up with anything promising.

Student Comments, Round 1

Here are the SP/STI reflections from the first eight papers in the stack today. Some comments are decidedly un-profound, but others are exactly what I was hoping for right out of the gate. I’m hopeful that my classroom will become a more thoughtful and reflective place through this routine. We’ll see how it goes next time.

Update from the Interwebz

Comments 9

  1. Excellent. I think the written reflection also enhances the student’s writing/articulation skills. This is an area that I think needs desperate attention and you are finding ways to tap into it. Students writing, reflecting, and growing. Can’t get much better no matter what you’re teaching.
    I would also imagine that this process gets the student to own his/her work enhances the value of ownership in the process as well. Keep sharing. We’re better for it.

  2. Hi Michael, I like this idea and I also like your boxes. With some modelling and sharing among students they will learn to give themselves more reflective feedback, I expect. I look forward to hearing more about the marking, which it sounds like you did in class.

  3. I LOVE this idea! I definitely need to have students reflect more in my classroom. I would love to have students put these together as a sort of portfolio at the end of the semester/year. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    Thanks for the kind feedback, everyone! I’d love to hear how this plays out in your classroom if you give it a try. I’m also looking forward to hearing more about the whole workflow. I guess that means I should write something soon… 🙂

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    The cheesemonkey stamp of approval is, quite possibly, my favorite stamp of approval! 🙂

    Let me know how it goes, how you tweak it, and how your students respond and grow.

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