Kelly O’Shea just blogged about managing her tests for Standards Based Grading and that inspired me to share my workflow for managing reassessments. I know when I first started out I had a hard time imagining how I was going to manage all of these reassessments, so I think it is helpful for other new adopters to see how other people make things work. I want to mention right off the bat that I am not very talented at organization; I like organization, but I can never manage it myself.
Reassessment starts with students filling out a Google form, stating when they want to take it and which chapters they need reassessments for. When they submit the form all of the data is dumped into a Google spreadsheet that tells me at a glance which reassessments I need ready for any given day. Students must sign up at least 48 hours prior to the date of reassessment so I have time to write a new reassessment if I need to.
I used to let students pick and choose which learning objectives they wanted on each reassessment, but found that I spent to much time individualizing reassessments so I have switched to chapter-by-chapter reassessment. I would like to be able to let students pick and choose and I respect those people who can do that, but it proved too much for my organizational skills. I’ve found reassessing by chapter works pretty well.
For each chapter I have a bank of between two and six different reassessments (in addition to two versions for in-class assessment), but I hope to increase that number each term. With so few reassessments, you might ask if I’m worried students might study someone else’s reassessment and hope to get the same version? My view is that if they want to study that many different versions, they’ll master the material soon enough. To keep track who has taken which version, I write down the version number in the Google spreadsheet that records their reassessment requests and then I can just sort the spreadsheet by student name and quickly see which version of a reassessment a student has taken before. I do keep copies of reassessment for each chapter in file folders, but I can quickly glance at the Google spreadsheet each morning to see if I need to make new versions of reassessments. I’ve been recycling questions from old exams or homework sets to help me quickly throw together a reassessment. One useful trick is to simply change the context of the problems. I don’t know how many times my students complain about how different the assessment problems are from the ones we do in class. Um…. it’s the SAME problems, just different window dressing.
One thing I don’t do that I have seen others do is include the grade sheet with the reassessment when I give it to students. I also don’t have the learning objectives listed next to each problem. Part of what I want to see is if students can determine in which contexts they need to use a certain skill. I don’t want a student to know they need to use Newton’s Third Law because it is one of the learning objectives. I do run into complaints occasionally when a student only needs to reassess on one learning objective but they don’t know which problem relates to it. My reply is that if you understand the concepts you can determine which problems are relevant. That has worked pretty well so far.
I have separate copies of grade sheets for each reassessment which I fill in once students have turned in the reassessments. I’ve found that including the description of objectives on the grade sheet helps students quite a bit. One thing I’ve found helpful is to photocopy the grade sheets and enter the grades later. This has sped up how quickly I can get reassessments back to students.
I’m constantly tweaking my workflow and hope to have an even better system next term. I like Kelly’s idea of scanning assessments into Evernote, but given my lack of organizational skills, I’m afraid it might prove too much for me. Hopefully this will prove helpful to someone, and I encourage all current SBGers to blog about their workflow. I’d love to see what everone else is doing.