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Reflections on My First Year of Standards-Based Assessment, Part 3

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In my final post reflecting on last year’s shift to SBAR (Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here), I’d like to take a look at some data.  It should be noted up front that the sample size we’re dealing with is very small (i.e., two) since 2012/13 is my only comparable pre-SBAR year, at least as far as calculus is concerned.  During 2011/12, I was using a drastically different curriculum (which ended up becoming the basis for my current Applied Calculus course, perhaps soon to become Mathematical Modeling – more to come on that later).  Since I just started in the math department halfway through 2010/11, I don’t think any comparisons with that year would be fair.  Prior to 2010, my calculus teaching was done at the undergraduate level for a very different student population.  That said, while I don’t want to read too much into what follows, I do think it bears examination.  Time to dive into this data rabbit hole. Read More…


Reflections on My First Year of Standards-Based Assessment, Part 2

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After one year of keeping a disaggregated gradebook, I can confidently say that I will never go back to my old way of doing things. That’s not to say that I will repeat exactly how I did things last year.  There is certainly plenty of room for growth and a need for refinement, but the things I explored during the 2013/14 academic year will be at the heart of my assessment system for years to come.

In this post I’d like to examine a few of my policies and procedures from the year, what I liked and think went well, and where I see room for improvement.  (For background and a bit about the basic set-up of my system last year, see Part 1 of this series.  Part 3 is here.  My course syllabus with all policies outlined is available here.) Read More…

Reflections on My First Year of Standards-Based Assessment, Part 1

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A year and a half ago, the 5th-grade science teacher and I asked for and were given permission to launch a pilot program to try out standards-based assessment and reporting (SBAR) in our school.  We read lots of stuff, checked out what other people were doing and had done, and spent plenty of time thinking about how we wanted this to change the way our gradebooks classrooms operated.  Joined by a physics teacher, we dove into the 2013-14 year armed with a new way of doing business, a way that turned my calculus class on its head and more closely aligned with my educational philosophy.

For the next few posts, I’m going to talk about SBAR in general, how things went with my first year, and some things I’m thinking about for the coming years.  (Parts 2 and 3 are here and here.)

To begin, I’m going share my responses to some interview questions I was posed back in October by one of our students writing an article about the new grading system.  I think this pretty clearly explains why I am interested in transforming assessment and what I hope to achieve by doing so.  It also lays out some of the details about how I implemented things last year. Read More…