What if… #IMMOOC 4 Week 1

Something interesting happened when I forgot to set a Google form that I was using as a formative assessment to “Limit to one response”.  Students who noticed this and weren’t satisfied with their results immediately retook the test.  At first my response was to stop them from doing it, but I then had a thought.   I’ve been reading, Learner Centered Innovation, by Katie Martin and was inspired to ask: “What if students could reflect on and retake an assessment until they showed proficiency?”   I thought, what is the harm in having them do the corrections in the moment, and learn and grow from their misunderstandings immediately?  Why not?

Our school uses a standards based grading system.  Students are encouraged to retake assessments and for most content areas it is a combination of correcting wrong responses and retaking.  For a while now I’ve had my students prepare for retakes by writing out (digitally or by hand) the correct response and then conferencing  with them, before or as the retake.  Then a couple weeks ago I forgot to limit the number of tries students could have on that Google form.  I found out that I didn’t need to conference with every single student as I always had done.  Some students simply needed to see the solution to make a change in their understanding.  I changed the form to include a reflection question for them to respond to after retaking the assessment.

Why Not_ (2)

Student response,

“I thought the distance jumped meant one for every jump, up and down. So I did 10 times one for every jump so I incorrectly read the directions. I now know the jump means up and then down, so really it was 20 jumps. I also messed up on the displacement because I thought that she moved 1 meter each time from when the base of the trampoline. I also now know that force and distance is how the work is done because distance is how far the object moves and the force makes that happen.”

Its not a perfect response or a process, but it does allow for the students to own their learning and recognize how they have grown in their understanding!  Having a record of the reflection also allows the teacher to check in and have a starting point for conversations with students.

This is how the data looked without any retakes.

Why Not_

This is data with original data and only the highest retake score if a student choose to retake.

Why Not_ (3)

Overall this process shifted from a bell curve to a plateau with only a couple students near the bottom and most students at the top!  I’m excited to continue this practice.  Student feedback is next!

The bell curve wasn’t the only thing that shifted.  My mindset shifted to explore the new and unknown as I asked, “What if?”  I realized that these changes can be small and have a major impact on my students understanding of the content!



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Passionate, curious, science educator, learner, photographer, and outdoors woman! I love to learn new things and share great ideas! All the photos on this blog are my own. Copyrighted 2016 Deborah Holman.

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