The concept is simple: you establish criteria students must meet in order to get an A in the class, but keep traditional assessments out of it, completely.
Sure, you can still give quizzes if you want. You can even score them and provide feedback, too. Truth is, none of that is necessary to set expectations for class, and for students to meet those expectations. Here’s the process…
A teacher shared with me some class plans to have students find verbs, adjectives, etc. in a text while using no dictionaries (but a grammar reference sheet), then answer *some* questions about comprehension. The purpose was “to see who needs help.” The adjustment? To provide corrective feedback. The expectation? That identifying parts of speech and grammatical forms would improve by the end of the year. There are two major assumptions regarding that intended purpose, adjustment, and expectation, and I’ve seen them before elsewhere:
- What is taught is learned.
- Personalized *corrective* feedback results in uptake.
Assessment & Grading is, by far, the most frequent topic I’m asked about, and this year’s National TPRS Conference features 10 of those workshops on Thursday and Friday! Based on the descriptions, there’s a mix of proficiency people, skill people, tech-tool people, speaking people, rubric people, and more! I’ll be presenting one of those workshops, and have noticed that my thinking is a little different. I do recommend getting to as many of the 10 as you can, so in case you miss out on mine, here’s a brief look at what I’m about…
I have a very simple approach to assessment because the answer is always RLMTL (i.e. Reading and Listening to More Target Language). That is, there is NO assessment I could give that WOULD NOT result in me providing more input. Therefore, my assessments are input-based, and very brief. In fact, what many consider assessments—for me—are actually just simple quizzes used to report scores (see below).
I prefer to assess students authentically.
When teachers complain about their certain practices that create more work for themselves and take time away from students acquiring the target language, my response is usually “well then, don’t use them.” Follow the logic below to arrive at why you need to wrap your head around changing Assessment & Grading practices so that you can use your prep/planning time, and personal life, for more useful and enjoyable endeavors…
You might have caught my variation on Martina Bex’s Word Race. While students certainly were hearing more target language, there were too many that went by too quickly while reading with enough repetition for the novice. Well, here’s an update that reaaaaaally gets students listening to the target language in a more structured, less-harried way:
- Instead of one large word cloud with many English phrases from the text, create 4 smaller ones that each contain one true phrase from the text, and three other phrases. I’ve been doing 1 funny phrase, 2 possible phrases, and the 1 from the text itself.
- You still read the text out loud as usual.
- After the victory dance (i.e. when the faster student is first to circle/highlight the phrase they hear), announce the next quadrant so that students know to listen for the next set of phrases, and begin reading where you left off. This avoids the pacing issue of students listening for many phrases on one large word cloud, and also gives a “reset” moment to the game.
Here’s a link to the a full size template. To use it, Make a Copy to your Drive, create 4 word clouds using Wordle.net (using Mozilla Firefox, NOT Chrome), save the word cloud files, then past them into each quadrant.