It's my turn again!
For those of you following along with our collaborative book study, it's my turn to share an overview of a chapter. Chapter 7 is focused on assessment strategies for problems solving. As you know, assessment really needs to be the center of our instructional model--if we don't know what students know and can do, it makes it hard for us to know what to teach them!
I think what I liked most about the chapter was the attention given to addressing assessment as more than a chapter test. In fact, one of my favorite quotes from the chapter is "Putting a grade on a paper should be the last of your assessment goals."
The chapter focuses a great deal of energy on formative assessment and how we can "crawl into their minds" to work with our students so that we can help coach them to better levels of understanding. Formative assessment needs to happen at all stages of the teaching/learning cycle--we need to be assessment as we launch new instruction. It makes perfect sense to me . . . if students are confused at the beginning, the rest of the process is going to be pretty futile! The chapter is an easy read and just continues to stress that our job is to be so engaged with the students that we can react and adjust our instruction as needed to ensure solid understanding.
I really like the "coach" analogy . . . if a coach tells an athlete what to do ("Wait back on the ball, keep your hands loose, and swing level") and then just gives a score based on how far the player hits the ball on one attempt, that coach won't be around very long. S/he needs to be in the batter's box adjusting the players hands, asking the player to try it again, watching video and analyzing it together, studying results, and making changes. Teaching is no different. Of course the end results are important--but if we don't do a better job on the process, we probably won't like what we see at the end of the game!
We need to get better at looking at student thinking, at identifying "trouble spots" or stumbling blocks, how to handle student frustrations (they WILL have them when we provide them with rigorous math!), and having students assess themselves. The chapter does have some ideas for rubrics, and I have a freebie below that I know some of you have downloaded and found useful. Try it out if you like!
So . . . let's hear your thoughts on assessing problem solving, on getting students involved in their own assessment, and on increasing the amount and types of formative assessment we do. Chime in! Share your thoughts!
By the way . . . just wanted to give you a heads-up about a math link up that will begin on August 7th. We're hoping to make it a monthly occurrence. All you have to do is write a post about how you are teaching math using "real world" examples. It will be awesome to see how everyone is using math in authentic ways! Be thinking about what you can do to link up! Watch for more details coming soon.