Common Theme at School Sites
Over the past month, a common theme has arisen when working with my fellows about the struggle with the amount of grading and providing feedback in a timely manner. With the instructional shift of allowing for revisions in order to get students to reach mastery, many are finding that they are overwhelmed with grading. Coincidentally, we have just read Chapter 3 on grading and providing feedback in the book "Rethinking Grading" by Cathy Vatterott for our standards based grading pilot study in TUSD. One thing the book mentions is to NOT grade everything. And when you do grade, make sure you are grading the learning goal and not for student compliance or completion of work. I commonly ask teachers when we are figuring out how to assess using rubrics, "What is your learning goal?". This focusses our work in creating the rubrics so that we are only looking at the essential standards or skills in the student products. At the end of this post, I will go into greater detail about the three main types of rubrics teachers are developing. But, regardless of the type of rubric, it is essential that feedback is provided to students to help them revise, grow and reach mastery.
Cari WIlliams is a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for the Tustin Unified School District in Southern California. She holds a MS in Instructional Design and Technology from Cal State Fullerton and works on the side as a consultant writing science and STEAM curriculum and training teachers. After working for 12 years in the classroom as a middle school science and STEAM teacher, she transitioned into the role of Digital Learning Coach in 2013. In this role, Cari helped teachers innovate curriculum and shift pedagogies through the integration of educational technologies. Her most current work as a TOSA is focused on engineering design in robotics, computer science, and Makerspaces. She is an official VEX Robotics event partner hosting tournaments for teams from around Southern California as well as leading 28 robotics programs servicing over 100 teams in the Tustin Unified School District. Although her expertise has taken her deep into STEAM education, she remains passionate and engaged in helping teachers transition to the NGSS through participating as a Science Peer Review Panelist for Achieve and as a Professional Learning Facilitator and Instructional Coach (in-training) for NSTA.