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  1. Last 7 days
  2. Aug 2019
    1. a syllabus can’t mandate a particular emotional experience

      And yet, machines are being invented and put in to use that attempt to measure student emotion and attention to inform assessment...

    2. Could you imagine grading students on anger as an “outcome”?

      I'm imagining a course where the only way to earn an "A" would be to become totally outraged by its end.

    3. “It is likely that the authoritarian syllabus is just the visible symptom of a deeper underlying problem, the breakdown of trust in the student-teacher relationship.”

      Yes: aligned with the mentality that students are cheating on exams, plagiarizing works, and inventing excuses for late work. In all these cases, there are things teachers can do to restructure the educational experience and stop casting blame for the inadequacies of machine graded assessments, disposable assignments, and even date-based grading.

    1. Doing this too often, however, steals valuable time away from the teacher that may reduce the quality of instruction for all the other students.

      The teacher's mental and physical health is important, yes. But arguing that allowing retakes is a detriment to your own health, even though it is a benefit to the student, is a hard sell.

      Case in point: my wife's family weathered two deaths in the same week. I left school on bereavement for one and had to extend my absence in the wake of the second death. We were in the middle of budgeting and my requests were not finalized.

      My principal could certainly have disallowed an extension because I wasn't "proactive" and didn't have it done before the due date. Instead, I was given grace and I was able to submit a better report and request because of it.

      Grace goes a long way.

    2. However, every minute writing and grading retakes or grading long-overdue work is a minute that I’m not planning effective and creative instruction, grading current work so students receive timely feedback, or communicating with parents.

      This may mean you're grading too much.

      Assessment should be focused and pointed. Narrative feedback is helpful. Allowing retakes gives you an opportunity to focus only on what needs improvement. It is not a wholesale redo of the assignment. A retake should have the student focus on the specific gap in understanding which prevents them from achieving proficiency.

    3. Under retake policies, parents at my school have expressed concerns about how overwhelmed their children become due to being caught in a vicious cycle of retakes.

      This is not caused by a retake policy itself. It is caused by either A) not having a robust formative assessment strategy to catch struggling students or, B) not implementing reasonable checkpoints which help students learn to self-regulate.

    4. Retakes and soft deadlines allow students to procrastinate

      It is a major assumption that hard deadlines and tests prevent students from procrastinating. What disallowing retakes ends up doing is locking students into a cycle where they are actively discouraged from learning rather than taking the time to learn something.

    5. They spend hours a day on video games and social media

      Or:

      • working
      • taking care of siblings
      • taking care of other relatives
      • trying to find something to eat
      • ...
    6. In math classes, where concepts constantly build on one another, traditional policies hold students to schedules that keep them learning with the class.

      Assuming all students learn content at the same rate is dangerous. There may be fundamental math skills that take one student longer to learn than another. That may mean multiple attempts at demonstrating those skills.

      If I were to disallow retakes, even the intrinsically motivated student who struggles with fundamentals loses out on mastering the concept. I lose out on knowing that student is struggling. Retakes allow me to more fully assess a student's progress toward mastery, incrementally working on correcting errors and gaps in understanding.

      By promoting pacing over learning, we are doing our students a disservice.

    7. One of his research studies showed that college students who were held to firm deadlines performed better, in general, than students who chose their own deadlines or turned in all work at the end of the semester.

      This argument is errantly conflating two separate ideas: retakes and deadlines.

      The act of allowing a retake does not preclude the use of deadlines. Setting deadlines for initial work is important because that way, I can check student work before the major assessment. There are also deadlines for completing retakes…the end of the semester being the hard stop.

      I'm also building in structure for retakes. The fact that I allow a retake does not mean it happens when and where a student wants. They work within my defined schedule, which includes deadlines.

      Arguing against retakes because deadlines disappear assumes that they are contingent upon one another when in reality, they work together to help students develop agency and time management skills.

      This makes sense at a high level, but in reality, none of us - in school or out of school - lives in a deadline free world. I have deadlines to meet at work and if my product is not quality at the deadline, I have to do it again.

      The difference is that we cannot fire students from school.

    8. In my experience, however, the more lenient we are in these matters, the less students learn. The traditional policies—giving each assessment only once, penalizing late work, and giving zeros in some situations—help most students maximize their learning and improve their time management skills, preparing them for success in college and career.

      This statement comes with zero qualification for "in my experience." Is there research or empirical evidence that supports this statement? Are there other interventions or policies that could be used in place of allowing retakes?

      Setting up the entire post on the premise of "in my experience" makes it a hard sell to start.

  3. Jul 2019
    1. A variety of educational taxonomies have been adopted by districts and states nationwide. Examples of widely used taxonomies include but are not limited to Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives;23 [ 23] Bloom’s revised Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing;24 [ 24] Marzano and Kendell’s New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives;25 [ 25] and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Levels.26 [ 26] Using educational taxonomies to facilitate the development and guide the organization of learning objectives can improve content appropriateness, assessment effectiveness, and efficiency in learning and teaching.

      Bloom's Taxonomy

    2. How you track student progress can make a difference in their learning and your teaching.

      I will have to develop my own assessment strategies - formative and summative.

    1. Performance assessment does not have to be a time-consuming ordeal; it is a great way to assess our students' skills. It is essential to create a rubric that is simple, quick, and objective. This article discusses the process of creating a rubric as well as showing a rubric used by the author in her general music classroom for several years. Differences between assessment and evaluation are also mentioned.

      How to create a rubric for performance assessment?

    1. It is interesting to notice that this article from a decade ago doesn't even mention any online assessment. So much has changed since then! I'm glad to see that from measuring attendance and attitude we are moving toward a more professionally acceptable system where we can teach, assign and assess measurable knowledge in music ed, more specifically in choral programs.

    2. 11% for music knowledge

      Only 11% for knowledge! That is surprising and could be more if we don't try to measure "talent" but the knowledge that is teachable and factual. Again, this is old data (1991) so today the numbers might look different.

    3. attendance and attitude were the most common grading criteria employed by instrumental and choral music teachers.

      Yes. I noticed that in schools.

    4. Some music teachers believe the creative or interpretive nature of music precludes assessment but then readily employ subjective methods of assessment, many of which "are determined haphazardly, ritualistically, and/or with disregard for available objective information" (Boyle & Radocy, 1987, p. 2).

      This is old data (1987) but still true on some levels. By now, what I see in practice is that music educators have figured out what is that's measurable and what is not and in the school I was student teaching, the choral program is taken as an academic subject and is graded.