Last Friday, 25 February, I had the opportunity to speak to our Year 7 students at their Year level assembly. I wished to speak to them regarding two things. The first being the role of homework in their learning, and the second on assessment at OLMC.
To aid transition into secondary school, students in Year 7 did not receive homework for the first three weeks, and recently homework may have been set in the subjects of English, Mathematics and Languages. The gradual introduction to homework is so that students have the opportunity to develop good habits over these weeks in their personal organisation. That is, using their diary to record tasks to be completed, and developing a routine at home of when and where homework is completed. Homework provides the opportunity for students to independently apply their understanding and skills to a task.
The second item I spoke of was the role of assessment, because all year levels assessments are now being completed or about to commence.
The role of assessment is to provide students with feedback about what knowledge or skills they have been able to demonstrate and what the next steps are for their learning. I like to think of it in terms of the ‘Glow and Grows’, what has been done well and is to be acknowledged and affirmed, and where is the opportunity for students to grow?
Students in Years 7-11 will be provided with a rubric prior to a task, and this rubric will indicate the skills and understanding that will be assessed in the task. When looking at the rubric, each row should contain one criterion which is then differentiated to describe the nature of increasing expertise. As we move from the left to the right on the rubric the demonstration of skill or knowledge becomes more complex.
The rubric also provides feedback following an assessment. The coloured cell in each row on the rubric will indicate the teacher’s on balance judgement as to what the understanding or skill the student has been able to demonstrate. The uncoloured cell on the row to the right provides feedback to the student as to what they were not able to successfully demonstrate. It provides information as to what the next step is for the student, where there is opportunity for a student to grow.
Aside from discussing the role of the rubric, I also mentioned that a grade will be provided for an assessment. A grade provides a general indicator of accomplishment but grades do not communicate what the next steps are for learning in that subject.
I mentioned to students that a C grade is a good result. However, it is the rubric that is the more important aspect to focus on, as it will provide a student with a clear indication of what the next steps are for learning. The rubric provides greater value in discussing learning.
When looking at tasks that have been assessed on PAM, you will be able to access the rubric. This is a great place to start a conversation regarding learning growth, with questions such as “What does the rubric tell you? What were the glows and where is the opportunity for you to grow?”