Assessment & Feedback
Assessments should align with and reinforce the core values held in a classroom. The purpose of an assessment is to gain a better understanding of where students are in their understanding of mathematical concepts. In Mathematical Mindsets, Jo Boaler emphasizes the importance of giving diagnostic comments and employing “assessment for learning” strategies to help students understand that math class is about learning, not performing.
This is a strategy for teachers to provide students with differentiated feedback on assessments, such as quizzes or tests, through extension questions that challenge students where they are and push them in their understanding.
As defined in Leaders in their own Learning, a portfolio is “a selected body of student work - with reflections - that provides evidence of a student’s progress toward standards, learning, targets, and other character growth.” The purpose of a portfolio assessment system is to give a large part of the assessment power to the student. This shows them they are valued as an authority on their learning and they are able to articulate and accurately describe how well they are meeting the goals because they are the ones that did the work.
A scoreless grading system is an alternative to traditional letter grades and percentages with the intention of focusing on student growth. This structure encourages students to focus on the quality and understanding of the material instead of a numerical score. Evidence shows students are more willing to take risks and increase mathematical confidence when their efforts are not constantly labeled with a number.
One on one check-ins happen three times a year to build rapport, set goals, and give students a voice to share what they are thinking about the class. These quick check-ins will give you a better sense of where the students are so you can individualize learning goals for them and plan for status interventions.