I just got back from a 2-day conference in Albuquerque that was surprisingly good. I say “surprising” because it was a 2-day conference that had only 1 presenter for the full time both days, but he was very entertaining, obviously knew his stuff, and was extremely passionate about his topic, which I appreciate. I would highly recommend going and listening to Rick Wormeli (pronounced “Worm-lee”, not “Worm-el-lee” like we had been saying it.)
I don’t have much time tonight, so I’m only going to reflect on the items that I summarized and took away during the conference. I will say that this conference impacted me and motivated me greatly, so I am planning on changing several things for next year. Let me quickly give my background and then the main items I took away from the conference:
I have an SBG grading system which accounts for 70% of a student’s grade, and participation points which account for 30% of a student’s grade. So I’ve tried SBG, and I love it, but I know I can improve it, I just didn’t have a good grasp of how I should improve it.
(Some of) My Takeaways
Here’s what I got out of this conference, in no particular order :
- Consider changing my 1, 2, 3, 4 scale away from that (perhaps 0, 1, 2, 3 or even 0, 1, 2) because of confusion between/bad reminder of GPA.
- Do and practice descriptive feedback, which should not be graded.
- Do Pre-assessment (I’ll blog more on this later)
- I need to work on defining mastery by standard. Joining NCTM would go a long way in helping me since I’m the only Precal teacher at my school.
- Stop doing Participation Points. I’ve considered this before, but am more convinced of this.
- Include previous material on Quizzes/Assessments. I knew this, but was reminded of how little I do it.
- Show students multiple ways of studying: have them struggle to come up with 25 different ways to do this. Then have them struggle to come up with 25 more ways to do this.
- Create a form and give students ways to plan for studying.
- Disaggregate my grades. This will be dependent on my administration going along with this and finding the technology to do this. Fortunately my principal was also at this conference and was highly convinced of the necessity for this.
- Mandate students to take re-dos.
- Identify “essential” vs “non-essential” (secondary) standards.
- Use different symbols to report “grades” for formative assessments.
So you see, even though I’ve done SBG for a year now, I still got a lot out of this conference which has certainly helped me to direct my ideas. I am very hopeful, not only for my classroom, but for all the classrooms in my school as I hope that I can persuade my colleagues of the importance of this idea.
By the way, Rick was not only passionate about SBG, but during every break (even lunch!) he was willing to continue discussing and answering questions from people. He is a true educator!
 I think it’s in the order that I realized these things in the conference, more or less.