Assessments provide a way for both students and teacher to check-in with progress being made towards learning standards. As a teacher, assessments give me a glimpse into a student’s thoughts and processes. I am able to gauge whether one or two students are unsure about a topic or if the whole class has been left standing at the train station a couple of minutes after departure.
Students also need this check. In a class that focuses heavily on doing science/math and group problem solving, a bit of individual time is important. At the same time, I realize that my students are middle schoolers and delayed feedback quickly becomes meaningless. I’m trying to provide quick feedback through self-evaluation and reflection.
As a result, I’m spending more and more time writing out answer keys in a way that allows students to determine how they did while also providing a model on how to fully explain an idea or concept. When students finish work, they come to an area in the classroom set up like the one in the photo. Highlighters are provided and students evaluate their solutions. This gives them immediate feedback and also places some power in the hands of students. If they disagree with solutions, they can discuss with me while their energy of problem solving is still at a high level.
The second step is reflection. I’m still working on the questions but my goal is for students to think about themselves as explainers of ideas. How successful are they at transferring their ideas onto paper? My hope is that the process of reflection helps students improve their preparation for assessments while also expanding their ability to discuss ideas.