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Introducing Gradeable Projects: Manage and Grade Projects through Gradeable’s Brand New Project-Based Learning Tool

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We were not satisfied with just making your grading go faster.  We weren’t even satisfied with giving teachers invaluable insights into your students’ thinking.  We wanted to give teachers more options to understand and engage students, and to that end, we are happy to announce our newest tool, Gradeable Projects. It is the perfect addition to starting and managing project-based learning in your classroom.

Gradeable Projects enables teachers to seamlessly integrate inquiry-based learning and measure standards and learning in a project format.  Project-based learning (PBL) has shown increased student engagement and motivation by encouraging students to constantly ask questions and re-evaluate what they have learned.  Research shows many important benefits of PBL: including higher student engagement, more self-reliance among students, better attendance, and a possible tool to close the achievement gap by engaging diverse students at all levels of achievement.  Check out this helpful compilation of research provided by the Buck Institute if you are interested in learning more.

How to get started with Gradeable Projects

Simply open up your Gradeable dashboard – and alongside, select a recent (or your favorite) project.  Click to create a “New Project.” (ProTip: Looking to create Gradeable’s original assessments? Just click on quiz/worksheet!)

selectproject_dashboard

accessprojects_dashboardThis is your project creation page. You can modify the name, description, tagged Common Core standards, and classes here. Most importantly, you can create your project rubric which is important to maintain the rigor of your students’ projects. To create your rubric, you can copy and paste an existing rubric or use a free online tool like Rubistar to identify the correct language and criteria. You can adjust point levels up to 100.  The beauty of our rubric setup is that Gradeable will total up all of your project points at the end, when you’re done with evaluating students.

createrubric

rubrics

After you’ve filled it out, you will be taken to your main project page. This is where you can add in different components (essays, lab write ups, posters, video, etc), print feedback you’ve left for students, and most importantly, view and grade student work.

mainpblpageOn this page, you can sort your view by components:

evidence_bycomponent

Or sort by student:

evidence_bystudent

To add different components, click on Evidence Based. It will take you to your evidence creation page. Remember that evidence can be any part of your project that you would like to assess students on. The component will not show up on your main project page until you upload student work into that component. Don’t forget to add to your rubric if you add more components.

createevidenceTo upload student work, you can either 1) go to your main project page and click on Upload Evidence or 2) go to your dashboard and click on Upload. On this page, you will see that you can upload two types of documents: 1) Worksheets—these are your completed Gradeable quizzes and assessments or 2) Evidence—this is specifically for your student project components. After selecting the files to upload, don’t forget to click Submit.

uploadproject_1

After the progress bar is finished, you will see your files populating the bottom field. Select which files you would like to organize first and fill in the correct fields on the right-side form. Save project.

Example: Upload all your project files but select only research papers. Navigate to the drop down menu and select the Research Paper component you created. Assign the work to the correct students.

uploadproject_2

When you’re ready to grade your components (and you can save and grade later as well!), navigate back to your main project page. Click on any image in the component you’d like to start in. This is your grading panel and where you will see a picture of the student work as well as the corresponding rubric. The rubric will stay with the same student throughout all the components. Quickly scroll through student work by going left or right.

gradeevidenceTo grade using the rubric, find the correct component/criterion and click on the proficiency level. Gradeable will automatically total up the scores at the end of the project.

evidencerubricIf you choose to add comments, all feedback and rubrics can be printed out for students via your main project page.  Managing and grading projects never was so easy!  Now you can truly Grade Everything.  Are you as excited about PBL as we are?  Let us know in the comments below!

 Don’t let the project blues get you, get started with Gradeable Projects—now!

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Bloggers on Assessments

test talk

Figuring out what students know was never going to be a picnic. It’s a balance between pushing students out of their comfort zone and meeting all the requirements that you face as a teacher. Testing is always evolving, but the idea behind it remains the same: educators need to ensure students are picking up what teachers are putting down. Similar to the SBG bloggers roundup we did, this is a roundup of resources that may help you in the testing process:

Edutopia’s blogs on assessment
Edutopia is George-Lucas-backed site that’s dedicated to sharing evidence-based, K-12 learning strategies. The producers of the site created a page with all their articles on assessment. One author to follow is Terry Heick. In one article, he talks about ways to honor the learning process. His point is that since understanding is a fluid thing, so should the assessment of that understanding. For those of you interested in project-based learning (PBL) and moving away from traditional paper-and-pencil testing, Andrew Miller shares some critical assessment ideas on the practice.

TeachThought on assessments 
Similar to Edutopia, TeachThough aggregates all their assessment content in one place. Directed by Terry Heick, TeachThought’s mantra is simply “learn better.” Their pieces offer tips on how to reduce student anxiety before exams and unorthodox assessment strategies. If you’re interested in this format of articles, I suggest starting with Grant Wiggan’s piece about myths of standardized test preparation to avoid.

A Fine Balance
Carolyn Durley is a high school science teacher in Canada who runs a blog called A Fine Balence. She writes frequently and focuses on the culture of her classroom. I chose to highlight this blog because Carolyn is a healthy mix of talking shop and recognizing the emotional aspects of learning. A fine balance indeed.

#TestChat
Like the pages of aggregated assessment content, Twitter is a great way to find what you’re looking for. The key is using the right search term, or hashtag. If you search using #testchat, you will find educators and writers tweeting their best blog posts. In addition, you can join the conversation of people all about assessments. #AssessmentChat exists, but it’s not very active.

Teaching Blog Addict
Last but not least, we did not forget about our elementary school teachers. If you are looking for resources, or “freebies,” like activity ideas or letters to send home to parents during testing season, this is a fun site to start with.

For those of you who want to delve deeper into the assessment conversation and will be in the Boston area March 6, join us at our third Gradeable Social. We’ll be discussing high-stakes, low-stakes, and alternative assessments and would love to hear your thoughts. If you have any questions, please email bon@gradeable.com.

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ProTip Wednesday: 5 Ways to Assess Student Understanding

how to assess student learning

We’ve all been there—you just gave a test and after receiving the results, you bury your head in your hands and ask yourself the big question: “Why didn’t they get it?”

teacher exit tickets

The “Getting It” process (also known as learning/achieving/mastering) is a teacher’s main goal —in addition to the other ten thousand other skills you want your little human beings to accomplish. In tune with our theme of assessment, our ProTip for Wednesday will be ways to assess your students.

Teachers have the innate ability to know every single facet of our students and if they “get it” or not, just by looking at them. But sometimes, we have to set up some check points before the Big Test to make sure that we’re 100% right and they’re each receiving the help they need before the Big Test.

Ask students to use the skill, rule or concept in a new context

Project-based learning or authentic assessment is one way to ask students to apply a recently taught skill as well as other nuanced skills like speech or writing. This teacher decided to have their middle school statistics class apply knowledge of data analysis and graphical representations through a relationship between life expectancy and water quality. (via Authentic Assessment Toolbox)

project based learning

 

2. Check-for-understanding questions

So now we know it’s not just about the Big Test, but it’s also not just about the Exit Ticket or quiz. Check-for-understanding (CFU) questions are tremendously important to informally assessing your students in the middle of a lesson, which can give you the redirection you need. These questions go beyond the typical, “Do we have any questions?” or “Put your thumbs up if you get it, and thumbs down if you do not.” You’re looking to answer the “why” and not the “what.” Here are some great questions to start with: (via the Christina School District)

  • How does __________ related to __________?
  • What can you infer from __________?
  • What evidence supports __________?
  • Can you tell me more?
  • Give your reasons

assess student learning

More importantly, it is important to prepare these questions beforehand and have integrate into your lesson plan. Planning ahead, according to this Edutopia article, allows more freedom and flexibility in interesting questions, rather than falling back on the same strategies.

 

3. Game-based learning

I used this strategy usually during final exam review time, as it was useful to have students confer with each other and then to come to a consensus answer. Download a blank How to Be a Millionaire template from my personal files! [Free download!]

game based learning

 

4. Self-assessment:

How can you get an accurate pulse of the comfort level of students? Self-assessment allows you to do an informal survey on how students are feeling on new concepts. Ginger Snaps did the above consensogram to gauge how well students understood landforms and oceans. She did this strategy at the beginning and end of any unit; this is also a great multi-tasking strategy to teach graphing. (via Ginger Snaps)

student self assessment example

 

Another self-assessment strategy is to build a tool similar to a traffic light. With this example from A Teacher’s Wonderland, she used the scale from 1-4, novice to expert with explanations on the back side. (via A Teacher’s Wonderland)

student self assessment example

 

 

5. Exit tickets and do nows

exit ticket example

Formative Assessment sounds scary and nebulous, but you’ve been doing exit tickets, do nows, and the entire list thus far already! You’re a rock star assessor—but you already knew that.

exit ticket exampleOne strategy is to create a template that students will routinely see on a daily basis. This exit ticket allows students to 1) self-assess their mastery, complete an “I can…” statement, and provide evidence of their learning through an example.

exit ticket template

exit ticket template

Another strategy is a spin on the normal exit ticket that asks for comprehension of a skill. In this case, you’d still be asking a question similar to the bottom picture, but students may answer it on their exit “ticket.” A clever way to save paper is to laminate the tickets and use as a white board.  (Via Inclusive Ed Wiki)

Looking to learn more?

Here are 27 tips on how to assess

how to assess student learning

Or check out our Pinterest board on Exit Tickets

exit ticket examples

Psst… Gradeable allows you to build in self-assessment survey questions in conjunction with exit tickets and do nows. It’s easy to start and allows for the functionality of including surveys, multiple choice questions, and short answer questions all on one exit ticket.

exit ticket online

Get started with Gradeable and start assessing like a rock star!

 

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Friday Bulletin Board

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Here’s to a relaxing weekend

Project-based learning 
This link talks about the difference between projects and project-based learning. Put simply: “Projects are about the product, while project-based learning is about the process.” Project-based learning is a concept in which students dig deeper into concepts, engage in feedback loops, and establish how all the small pieces relate to the overarching project. I appreciate this approach because it introduces the simultaneous, multi-dimensional tasks that drive successful projects in real life.

BYOD apps across platforms
One challenge of Bring Your Own Device classrooms is that activities planned around applications must accommodate operating systems across devices. Luckily, the techies out there put together this chart of comparable applications whether you’re using an Apple device, an Android, online tools, or software.

Flipped classrooms explained through the art of infographic
This graphic better articulates what I tried to say the other day about flipped classrooms. For those who are unfamiliar, flipped classrooms are when students introduce themselves to new material at home and do exercises, what was traditionally homework, in class. This graphic illustrates the stats, support, and benefits of doing, rather than just straight listening, in class.

Trials and tribulations of edtech: Introducing tech coaches
Technology is an expensive thing, and some schools are finding money for it when they don’t have money to take care of their teachers. One school in Wisconsin has moved $550,000 from their technology fund to pay team of people to coach teachers on how to use the iPads and SmartBoards in their classrooms. The decision had divided to school: While it’s good to ensure the effective use of technology in place, some teachers  haven’t gotten raises in years. What do you think? Is it commendable that the school is making use of technology funds already allocated instead of asking for more money? Should the school focus more on compensating their teachers? (62 of whom have resigned so far this year)?

TWITTER WINS AGAIN 
Everyone, meet @EDTECHHULK. Like all Hulk parody accounts, you can expect Tweets in caps and missing articles. Enjoy 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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More on one of our themes this week: project-based learning.  We’re big fans!

get-educated:

From Edudemic: Project-Based Learning is a fluid technique to enhance learning that really looks nothing like projects as they’re described below. For example, in a PBL scenario, the teacher’s work is typically done prior to the start of the project, it’s graded on a clearly defined rubric, and has driving questions that keep the learning going.

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Schools That Work

Every time I watch one of these “Schools That Work” videos, I’m continually impressed.  Here’s a great one on project-based learning.  Check it out!

revolutionizeed:

Project-Based Learning!  Success from start to finish!