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Starting From Scratch: Authentic Assessments and Grading Practices

Brian Hodges, Kristen Thomsen, Katie Rego, Tobey Reed, Weston Pondolfino — Attleboro High School

How we assess and what we assess drives so much of what happens in a school. Developing and implementing high quality performance assessments can ensure we provide meaningful experiences for students, and we can assess them in a way that will help students focus on learning instead of constantly worrying about they need to do to get a 90. Lastly, we will examine what can be done in schools at a systems level to help provide incentives and procedures to amplify and support authentic learning.

To do this participants will engage in first principles thinking to imagine what kind of work they would have students doing if they could design a school from scratch. Then, they will design systems so that their school facilitates, supports, and develops staff capacity around doing this kind of work. Lastly, they will determine action steps to determine how to transform their school from its current state into the school they want it to be.

Conversational Practice

Participants will engage in first principles thinking to work together and re-imagine a school that is built around authentic assessments, grading practices that put the focus on learning instead of achievement, and has systems to support this kind of instruction and learning. This small group collaboration will allow participants to construct a vision of the kinds of assessment and grading they would want as well as construct a road map for how to get their school from where it currently is, to where they want it to be.

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