Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Assessment and (Re)Vision On a Tuesday Night Before Turkey Comas and Parades. Bring on the Stuffing

I could have cancelled the graduate course the night before Thanksgiving break, but I'm a jerk. Yes, we met from 7:15 to 9:15 on the day before everyone is free for an extended weekend to overeat, to shop, to fight with family, and to think about Santa Clause. I know that next week I'm in Nashville, so I didn't want to let go of this precious time together.

Why? We looked at vision and (re)vision. More importantly, we covered a series of national rubrics for assessing writing, and also applied feedback to the rubrics while looking at authentic student work.

An ESL teacher in Bridgeport supplied several college essays written by young people who have only been in the country for two or less years. My prompt to my graduate students was, "Here's the rubric, these are the kids. What feedback do you give them?"

The veteran teachers in the room laughed at the pre-service teachers noting, "Ah, this is real. You get out of college and collect the first group of essays and you think Oh, man. None of my classes prepared me for this." We looked at the writing and talked about Best Practices for evaluating student work, with much consideration of rubrics, and even more attention on how do you conference with students to offer them the best advice to rethink (and re(en)vision) the first drafts they turn in.

PQP. Praise, Question, Polish.

And the debate over rubrics ensues. I used to be frustrated by them, but now I see the importance they provide when consulting with students.

Ah, assessment. Feedback. The volume of student work. It seems so interesting to initiate beginning conversations with educators who haven't experience a room of their own yet. Yet, we have to start somewhere.

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