Tag Archives: Standards

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Skills-Based Portfolios Meet All Three Requirements for an Assessment System for the NGSS

Introduction (or Why Should I Care About the NGSS?) As you could guess, one of the major themes at the recent Denver Regional NSTA meeting was how to begin to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in our science teaching. I started off the conference by attending a talk by Brett Moulding, who is described as being the “writing team leader” for the NGSS, Read More →

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NSTA 2013 Slide Deck: Assessment in the Modern Science Classroom

I’ll be giving a short presentation later this week at the Denver Regional NSTA meeting about how (and why) to use portfolios for assessment and evaluation in science classrooms. For those of you who like to mark up slides during a talk, here’s the set of slides (pdf link) that I plan to use. They’ll make a little more sense with some dialogue to accompany Read More →

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Zero Points Were Given

This post is about the “points” game that schools play and how to avoid it. By points I mean those numbers we award to students for performances of learning in our classes. Such numbers must have something to do with measuring student learning, but how points-based grading is being used and abused is worth a deeper look. Why do teachers use points to quantify student Read More →

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Integrating NGSS with Skills-Based Portfolios

I’ve been reasonably(?) skeptical of the Next Generation Science Standards: how they were developed, the kind of people writing them, the kind of students they are targeted to, and how they will be used in the future. I decided to get over (around?) all my NGSS angst and just dive in to see if they are useful for how I structure my Standards for my Read More →

Justin in overalls with the prime minister of Canada

How to make standards-based grading just another fad

A colleague of mine recently described what it was like growing up as the youngest kid in the family. His main point was that the youngest child sometimes learns a lotĀ from watching the older kids fail horribly. Hopefully this post gives you a chance to benefit from being the little brother/sister learning from us older kids so you don’t have to make the same mistakes. Read More →

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Standards-Based Grading in the land of portfolios, blogs, and other time-sucking grumkins: a how-to guide

This post is an update to my older year end wrap up that seems to get a lot of traffic from people searching for “standards-based grades” and similar terms. I can only assume that there are lots of folks out there trying to get their heads around what SBG is about and how to do it. What follows will be a (hopefully) concise discussion of Read More →

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3rd Q recap: why I’ll keep using ePortfolios

I’ve had three chances now to assess my students’ eportfolios for letter grades, and I love ’em. Portfolios and students, that is, not grades. Yes, my school still requires letter grades each quarter, but I hope that someday these sorts of learning portfolios that we are building can be shared without having to be cheapened by labeling them with a simple letter rating. A good Read More →

Standards-based grading support group: Teachers Teaching on the Prairie podcast

I was recently invited by my colleague Kelly Jo Smith to participate in a podcast discussion about standards-based grades. There has been enough of a stir about SBG at our school lately that she thought it would be good to get several teachers who are trying it out to go “on tape” discussing our experiences of SBG. I was joined by Justin Miller (art teacher), Read More →

Student ePortfolios in the High School Science Classroom: Q & A

Q: What’s an ePortfolio? A: Let me start by saying that, like most of what I use in my teaching, I didn’t invent ePortfolios and I can’t answer for everyone since ePortfolios mean different things to different people. But I will define an ePortfolio as an online space that gets used to collect and showcase evidence of individual student learning. Q: You mean its like Read More →

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A fine balance

It’s been another phenomenal week in my physics class. We’ve got a definite groove going on in there that is about as student-centered as I can make it. We’ve got several different projects going on at once, still, but this week saw the successful completion and testing of our potato launcher (“its not a potato gun, its a potato accelerator”). Let’s just say that at Read More →