Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ready For A Change

In June 2009, my principal suggested to me that I attend a Marzano/Pickering conference in September.  I didn't have a clue who they were, but I didn't tell her that!  I didn't really want to go, until she said it would be a night away from my kids.  At that time they were 1 and 4 and I wasn't getting any sleep!  She sold me!  I was going.  It was one of the best decisions of my teaching career.

I went and sat there and listened to Dr. Robert Marzano speak about formative assessment and standards based grading.  I saw the data on what research showed to be effective and ineffective.  Sadly I realized that many of the ineffective strategies were things I was doing.  He inspired me to make some changes.  I must have been at a point in my career where I was ready for a change.  I thought I was going to make a simple change.  I enlisted the help of our division math consultant to create a visual chart of the student's progress in each outcome.  The research showed that this strategy would help to improve student learning.  I thought it would be a simple process.  Boy was I wrong!  We soon discovered that it was a lot harder to show progress on a scale out of 4, when everything I was doing was based out of 100%!   Thus this lead me to one of the most difficult, but enjoyable years of my teaching career!  The learning curve for me this year was not a curve, but pretty much a vertical climb!  However it was a very rewarding climb.  It took us half a year of many bad rubrics to finally get to a place where we could develop a general math rubric to guide all of the specific outcome rubrics.  A few more math teachers jumped on board and through collaboration we became more comfortable with creating rubrics and assessing outcomes using a scale instead of 100%.  We were on our way...

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