Today was our provincial professional day. I attended the science conference and gave a workshop on Standards Based Grading.
There were 32 attendees and a lot of interest. I think perhaps 6 people there were already using SBG in one form or another.
One thing that seemed contentious to people new to SBG is that I don’t really do unit tests. I actually give goal-less problem tests, which I will hold up to any unit test in terms of drawing out the different topics of physics and how they fit together. I could also give unit tests, but they would have to be scored separately outside of the SBG system and treated more like an in-class assignment/assessment. I’m ok with that except that I think neither the students nor myself will get anything out of it.
Another question raised was how does SBG help prepare students for university, because in university kids will get a couple of big tests and no re-tests. My answer to that is that university is so far different from high school that it’s irrelevant. A mid-term and final in high school has almost nothing in common with a university mid-term or final in terms of timing, size, scope and level of difficulty. My stance is that the best we can do is help students learn as much as they can in high school and take what they’ve learned about themselves to help them in university.
One regret I have about the workshop is that I didn’t collect a list of attendees and their email addresses. Collaboration is key for changing assessment practices and I feel bad that I didn’t help pool people’s contact information together.
My “professional” blog at physicsoflearning.com has the SBG workshop materials and other blog posts on SBG, grading, etc.