Category Archives: Assessment

Semester Essay Exam Review

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(note: quick rough version)

This year we are using Google Apps Education Edition with all of our students. It has been branded Charger Apps to make it ours and so far it has been fairly well received. About 20 minutes ago I used docs app to peer edit with one of my English I students (9th grade) and it went well.

Here is how it worked:

  • The appointment was scheduled just the other appointments I made with students this week. We both signed in to Chargers Apps and entered her document.
  • Before the meeting I had inserted several comments about items that needed editing or to mark discussion points.
  • Open the chat window on the right hand side and started by asking the student what her concerns were. She quickly highlighted the problems she was having with citations and her conclusion.
  • Both of us highlighted sentences, insert notes, and even made changes to the document that happened in real time. The chat window was used quite a bit but towards the end we were working in the document more.
  • Once all of the students questions were addressed and my concerns were shared. I signed off without the understanding that she could email me after the rewrite of her conclusion for more feedback.

Nothing earth shattering or holy cow about the experience, but I found that my questions were better formed due to having to type them. The student did use plenty of abbreviations and texting lingo in the chat but it wan’t distracting. In fact, I was jealous that she could quickly share her ideas much better than I could.

Overall, there were several benefits to this meeting. First, not sitting face to face helped me not offer too much advice and helped me form better questions. Second, it was clear that the student came to the meeting prepared with specific questions. Often when students arrive for the face to face meetings they are just wanting me to read their paper to offer comments. Finally, there is a record of our conversation because of several screen shots I took to refer back to when assessing the final version.

It is definitely worth trying if you edit with your students.

Assessing How I Assess

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This week my students and I started on our first Charger Apps (google apps for Education branded for Providence Day) quiz. It was a fairly straight forward opportunity for students to demonstrate how well they can identify independent and subordinate clauses. My goals in using Charger Apps were related to archiving student work and tracking corrections.

Here is how it worked. The quiz was distributed to the students by sharing the documents via Charger Apps (google docs). Each student open the shared document, made a copy, renamed the filed, and shared it back with me. Students then had to highlight in green the independent clauses, yellow for the subordinate clauses, and underline subordinating words. The fifth question was a short answer question that asked them to explain how knowing about clauses could improve their writing. I was abled to track who was finished by watching their shared docs show in my queue. I was also able to watch students finish up by opening their shared document while they were working. It worked pretty well.

Things got better when I started providing feedback. Instead of giving scores, I simply marked answers right or wrong, asked a few clarifying questions, and for the short answer question asked student to give an example. Students went back to previous writing pieces to find sentences that were confusing or unclear. These sentences were pasted into their quizzes where they then modified them to show how they knowledge of clauses could improve the sentences. Some of the students were so jazzed about their revised sentences that were sharing them without prompting.

The ambiguity of not immediately having a score combined with asking questions instead of giving comments led my students and I to explore clauses in a way that directly connected to their writing. While using Charger Apps gave us an easy way to share feedback, it was the change in process that led to assessment that provided opportunities for learning. Breaking down the artificial compartments of teaching and assessment have really opened my eyes to new options for assessment. I would love to hear your thoughts and ways you have change your assessment techniques.