Monday, September 29, 2014

Formative Assessment in ELA


Be honest. Would you grade a paper if you knew it would not make a difference your students' grade?
As an ELA teacher, I regularly struggle to stay afloat and on top of student papers. I have difficulty grading and returning papers in a timely manner. So why would I take time to grade something that will not impact my students' grade?  Well, because 1). I want students to know exactly what my expectations are for written assignments and 2). Students need the feedback so that they have several chances to practice before they are graded on a performance. Now, in my 17th year of teaching, I have finally found a way to incorporate formative assessment regularly into my classroom! This one is a keeper. Rather than assign a grade to student writing, I assess the writing and then assign it a code. EE=Exceeds Expectations, AE=Approaching Expectations, ME=Meets Expectations, and DNM=Does Not Meet Expectations. This has proven to be beneficial in a few ways.  First of all, the students who do what is required (and nothing more), will receive a ME. The students who push themselves to do more than what is required by using powerful imagery, literary devices, sophisticated vocabulary or complex ideas can receive a code of EE, since they have Exceeded Expectations.  Never before have I received a close reading as in the picture below. Amazing! Now, students get the feedback they need to succeed and I am making expectations clear. And while it seems like too much "grading"
I find that it takes less time  to assign a code. I can distinguish a paper that Meets Expectations quickly from one that Exceeds Expectations or Does Not Meet Expectations. It is definitely worth a try!

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