Thursday, July 6, 2017

Going Grade-Less Student Survey Results

I am a big fan of asking students for feedback regularly. I'll ask for feedback immediately after certain lessons or activities, I'll ask for feedback at the end of a unit, and I always ask for feedback at the end of the semester. Usually, I am looking for engagement and learning. My students are generally very honest about what they like and don't like and also will admit when assignments they did not love helped them learn (and also when the opposite occurs). This summer, I've asked for feedback weekly because I am trying something so different than my traditional classroom.

So for this post of my reflective grading summer adventure, I've decided to share this weeks surveys results. I used Google Forms to create the survey and then sent the survey to students as an Exit Ticket for the day via Remind (I also post a link on the board for students who don't have phones). Google Forms takes that data and makes these charts.


I Feel Like I Learned About History: Aside from my couple of outliers (which I will get to in just a minute) these results are a dream come true. I did not expect so many students to respond so positively, and I am not sure I have had a class with so many students responding so positively to this question before. Whether or not that has to do with being a reflective grading classroom is yet to be seen but overall, I am excited by these results and they make me excited to try this grading in the regular school year. 




I Understand The Reflection Process: The process is a hard one to teach and it is challenging to help students understand the why and how of it. For the regular school year, there are already two big changes I know I need to make to the process that I think will add some clarity. First, right now students simply list activities they think helped them with that particular objective, during the school year I am going to require more specificity when picking evidence to use as proof of learning and ask that students post photos or videos of that work as proof. Second, I am going to start the year being clear about which activities support which lessons and then slowly move away from telling students so by the end of the year, they have to determine for themselves which activities address which objectives. I did not do that in summer because of time constraints and everything already felt so new and different but I think (from what I have observed) this would help those students who are still struggling with the process overall.



Feedback from my teacher is clear and helpful: Summer school has been a particularly challenging environment to ensure clear and specific feedback to each student because we move so quickly through content and we only have 18 days together. The above is entirely because I use the Station Rotation model to have one-on-one meetings with my students each week and because Canvas LMs has a function called Speedgrader that allows me to quickly read each student's assignment and leave written or verbal (recorded) feedback for each student. 

When asked what students liked about the grading process, a surprising number of students talked about feedback. Students said they liked that they were given the chance to try again with more guidance and direction from the teacher, students stressed how much it meant to them to get feedback right away, and students talked about how the feedback was helpful and the most positive part of the process for them. Again, there are some outliers and that does have me concerned but more on that in a minute. 

I Understand and Can See How the Work In Class Relates to the Objectives: I used to hate the idea of writing a learning objective on the board for each lesson but now I really enjoy the parts of the day where I post the objective and we break down as a class what it means and what we have learned that could help the students accomplish that goal. It has also helped me cut out work that is  irrelevant and because of this students are more engaged in assignments that tend to be more challenging to buy into: document analysis, reading, etc. 


The Outliers: As you see above I had a few students who did not feel they were learning and who did not see how the learning objectives and classwork related to each other. I went through the surveys to see what else these students had shared and discovered that both had answered "disagree" when asked if they had completed the class work to the best of their ability. Knowing the students, they answered honestly, they had struggled this summer to stay on task and get the work done but is that because the process was confusing and unclear or was that a lack of individual motivation? Did I let these students down by not doing more for them or was there nothing more I could have done?

Considering that out of 78 students only 2 have raised concerns has left me confident in trying this grading system during the regular school year. But the results of this survey also allow me to stay alert and aware that there may be a flaw I just haven't figured out yet.

I still have more to share but so far, I am excited by the changes in my classroom using this type of grading. There are a few more bumps in the road that I will address in my next post which will also include some of the written feedback students provided in this survey.



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