The other night I couldn't sleep due to too many snow days and no routine. As I was trying to force myself to sleep, of course my mind starting racing with thoughts of school. I'm really trying to figure out the best way to assess my students.
Last semester, I weighted the grades so that assessments were worth 70%, homework 15%, and participation 15%. I really think that killed a lot of grades. My "homework" is that the students need to do something on their own, outside of class that has to do with French. They can watch a French movie, look up music videos on youtube...really anything. I know it's not really helping them learn French, but it has generated some excitement as students download songs onto their iPods, teach their siblings French, or take the opportunity to practice French by texting a friend in French. So I feel like it is valuable, but I don't want it to kill anyone's grade. Soooo, this semester I am going to 90% assessment, 5% homework and 5% participation. This way, it won't kill anyone's grades and the grade letter will actually reflect what they have learned in the class.
Now, for assessments...I've blogged a couple of times about my standards-based assessments and I really want to continue this practice. Last semester, I had story-quizzes about every week or so, weekly spelling tests, and then the standards-based assessments. I began the semester by asking for feedback, since I had 3 students drop my class because they "didn't like it." (All three were dropping to take a ceramics class...so I wonder if the other class was just more enticing?) Anyway, I surveyed my class to find out what they like and what they don't...and what helps them learn. They are sick of quizzes! I thought I was helping them out by just having quick 10 point quizzes every other day, but they hated it! So, back to the drawing board.
I'm really thinking about doing more Kindergarten-style assessments. My son's grade card tells me how many sight words he can read, how high he can count, how many numbers he can write and identify... How can I make this work in my classroom? Obviously, I can have my students count as high as they can in French. Any ideas??