What are we doing to help kids achieve and learn?
There has been considerable discussion lately of standard based teaching. Essentially, a teacher has a set of standards and they teach to these standards. The idea is that instead of saying "Hey, you got a C on this test, time to move on..." a teacher would say "This is the standard...you can exceed it, meet it or you can approach it...the goal is to meet or exceed the standard and if you do not, keep trying." Here is an example...we were covering gas laws in my class. I asked seven questions about conceptual ideas concerning gas laws. Students manipulated an HTML 5 site in which they could watch models of gases and change the volume temperature and pressure. Students then answered the questions on a bubble sheet that I simply placed in front of my web cam. It was instantly graded. The grade was not a letter grade...it was a sign that said that they were getting close to the standard or they met or exceeded the standard...no grades were assigned.
So what is going on? The program is called "Mastery Connect". Here is the run down. First, if you are going to use "Mastery Connect" you have to have an accepted set of standards. Next, you need an "assessment". The assessment is uploaded as a pdf. The only way you can upload it is if you attach it to one or more of the standards you are teaching. The next step is to fill in students names. These are called "trackers" (not sure what they have against the word classes...). Next after the "assessment" is uploaded, it has to be with a standard and then the answer key must be entered. The teacher has to make the decision about how many correct answers would meet "getting close to the standard", "meets the standard" or "exceeds the standard". If the assessment is a lab or a short answer or project, the teacher must enter in the scores. If it is a multiple choice test, the bubble sheet can be placed in front of a web cam, scored instantly and winds up in the tracker. Over time, as a teacher, you can see how the student is doing with certain standards. One of the nice things about "Mastery Connect" is that it has a Facebook type feature. You can use someone elses assessments and follow other teachers.
In theory, this is a great idea. There is a learning curve in using the program. One problem is that it really lends itself more to multiple choice questions and it is not meant to just replace a scantron. The goal is to teach to the standards, get data and then do something with it. Is this something that might helpful to you? Check it out and decide for yourself..
My thoughts... It takes a learning curve to figure out and a few hoops to jump through to get it set up. Myself and my students figured out pretty quickly what they know and what they need to work on....isn't that supposed to be the idea?