It seems that when we discuss all of the 2.0 tools available for utilization in the classroom, we are trying to encourage and facilitate learning. I am trying to rectify the disparity that I am finding between learning and grading. How do you apply a quantitative assessment of students performance in what seems to be a qualitative educational structure? How do you apply grades to classroom 2.0?

Tags: 2.0, grading

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Good question, Shawn! :)

I think one of the problems is the breakdown between assessment and learning.

First, we never have been really able to assess learning. All the tests, portfolios, essays, and other assorted accoutrement of Education fail to give anything other than a very rudimentary shadow of learning. Largely because of the time frames. Stuff that students "don't get" until after the course is over. Stuff they learned but you didn't ask about. At best we can assess the effectiveness of our educational effort, but we can't begin to assess learning. We can't even get a handle on how much learning is incidental compared to the level that's intentional.

Second, the kinds of learning we need to be promoting aren't even served by the current kinds of assessment we use. What's the academic value of google-rank? How much *is* my student's blog worth? How much influence are they really having?

Yea, I know. But think about that as an assessment. In the 2.0 world, those might be important aspects.
I would like to mention some things on this issue.

1. If a student has a blog, a group of students have a blog for a project or build a wiki the curve of the learning process is there for you to "sense". It will be difficult with a rubric.

2. When we could aggregate blog posts. wiki interventions, bookmarks, gmail messages, chat conversations and tagged data, then we could access a "lifeStream" of our student, getting an amazing amount of info to asses the activities of our students. If you think of Jaiku, there is an application where the individual is becoming the channel.

3. If we can build a map of the network interactions pf our classroom network, you should be able to apply some categories to analyze the nodes mentioned by Peter R. Monge and Noshir Contractor in their book "Theories of Communication Networks":
d.Space and politics

As nlowell said: "Yea, I know. But think about that as an assessment. In the 2.0 world, those might be important aspects."

Guillermo Lutzky.
In some ways I think that the 2.0 tools might make assessment easier, particularly in the case of group projects. Until now I've always felt that one or two students carry a whole group. As the work is done outside of class, in many cases, I really don't know if everyone has pulled their weight. As a teacher, I could look at the edits/revisions on a wiki and see who is contributing.

With a blog, for example in art, I would require students to comment on the work of at least three fellow classmates using the specific terminology of art critiquing discussed in class. Assessment would be based on actually making those comments and using the terminology and concepts in a meaningful way. I took an on-line Special Ed class last summer through a local university and we were required to post our own reflections AND comment on the postings of three fellow classmates.

Web 2.0 tools could also be used as a way to offer options to the student (Layered Curriculum - - or Differentiated Instruction) such as write an essay/create a play/make a movie/create a web-site/start and administer a forum about... The student would still have to research and create a script or a plan or a faq etc. but they would be acquiring and applying knowledge.


I call my tech space in the library a "studio" and spend much time thinking about joint exploration and guidance over tool use, skills, and repeated renditions of finished products. I have a yearning to help students explore tech tools the way an early childhood teacher in Reggio Emilia would help her students explore art tools...

Clarence Fisher's post interested me because of his talk about studio space, and I think you might enjoy it, as he talks about:
"In a studio, assessment can be different. This does not mean that standards are lowered or that students are not assessed. It means that the idea of assessment can change and move. It can become a much more built in, integral part of the activities that happen in that space. The goal of assessment and evaluation should not be measurement alone, but should also lead to further reflection by the learners."

Remote Access: Studio Assessment: Critique and Edit

One more quote:

"Ongoing assessment leads to less testing, not more. Ongoing assessment leads to deeper thinking. Talking with kids about their learning, about their choices and their projects, will lead them to further editing and self critique."

Remote Access: Studio Assessment: Critique and Edit

This is a great question. But, I don't think it has any more to do with 2.0 than with any other instructional tools we may use. Applying a quantitative measure to an individual's behavior is not easy. The qualitative nature of posting, reading, and posting in a 2.0 world is a path that each learner will follow differently. As a teacher I try to read what kids write, I ask questions, I try to find the divide between knowledge and misconception. Then, I question more. Assessment, however goes back to the content or learning targets I have set.

Of course each quarter ends and I must place a number next to each name. If I can assume that my measures are varied and speak to my learning targets then I am left having to believe that the numbers infer learning. Am I always right? I doubt it.
This is a great question. Currently, I grade more qualitative than quantitative. But, I believe that both are important in the real world and with School 2.0. Applying a quantitative measure to an individual's grade can be difficult with Web 2.0 applications. As a teacher, I try to get feedback from what students write, say, and actual artifacts. Accurate completion and understanding are considered in the student’s grade as well. Accuracy is after all quantitative rather than qualitative.

As such, my students are allowed x number of errors before points are taken away from most School 2.0 assignments. WebQuests for example can be graded qualitatively or quantitatively as I view them.

Don't mind me, I'm just scratching the surface of School 2.0 with my classes, but the scratches keep getting deeper!


William Bishop (Bill)
I'm glad to be getting so much input on this topic! I guess the point that I am driving at is, are we setting ourselves up for conflict? I know that I am concerned about a student's learning, but a lot of parents are concerned about a student's grade. The difference between these two goals seems to be (in my experience, at least) that it is difficult to explain that a good grade that has no real learning paired with it, is of little value in the long run. But a so-so grade, that is earned by the student and that represents real learning, is of greater value. I'm afraid that we have come to devalue the importance of learning (and failure, but that is another discussion) in favor of quantifiable performance. How can we rectify this in the 2.0 world?
Let me begin by saying that I know Shawn personally, and that he has a brilliant mind and is an excellent teacher. That being said, I'm biased, and you don't have to read this, but I know he has struggled with this issue as we move forward with 2.0 in our own little digital revolution. I'm luckier, I'm the technology teacher so I have some latitude with grading that he doesn't.

Can you remember the class you made the worst grade in but learned the most? The hardest I ever worked academically in my life was for a "D" in a Japanese Immersion class. It didn't help my gpa, but boy did it clarify my future for me. 1. I had no business trying to speak or write Japanese. 2. I had no business being in the Master's of International Business program. 3. My strengths lay somewhere else, and I figured that out, with all the hard work, the tutoring, et al, I still came up short and didn't pass that class. However, all the A's I earned in other classes didn't strengthen my character or teach me an appreciation of exactly how hard it was for me to learn Japanese.

My GRADE was not a reflection of what I LEARNED. My mentor at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC gave us great advice: "Spell out with a rubric what every student is expected to do/achieve to earn a specific grade, and make sure that you leave the student in control of exactly how much effort they are willing to put into your class to earn that particular grade."

Grades are just preparation for what is coming in real life. Someone out there is going to thank you (albeit possibly much later in life) for giving them the dose of reality that will come inevitably in adulthood. You don't always win. You sometimes try really hard and don't get it right. Other people can be smarter. Other people are willing to work harder. Other people, might not have to work as hard as you to get the grade you want.

I'm learning every day. I'm glad that the 2.0 world is going to teach me how to be a better teacher. Grade me on that. Are you going to look at my student's test scores? Are you going to look at student enthusiasm? Are you going to look at my Individual Growth Plan? What about student portfolios?

I can't quantify the energizing impact that this new world has had on me. Grade me on the contagious nature of my enthusiasm which hopefully will be catching in my classroom.
I'm just beginning this journey, but here are some thoughts. Because I teach elementary kids and they have a fairly limited access to computers, I plan to schedule them in to comment or a blog or to add to a group wiki writing project. I can grade to an extent on the amount of participation. But, I'm really hoping that the participation will mainly just raise their interest and enthusiasm in writing, encouraging them to write more, thereby helping them to improve. So, grading will actually take place on other projects that they turn in.
I don't have any 2.0 stuff in place yet, but as the result of inspiration from reading about group wiki projects, I had kids write what I called musical stories, as in musical chairs. They worked on a creative story for a few minutes... until the musisc stopped. Then the traded papers with one of 3 other group members. After the story had made the rounds among all four group members, they got to read them alound. They were completely fired up! Everyone had a page and a half of writing (of which they had done a fourth) written within 20 minutes. This is unheard off for most fourth graders. Assuming that they were writing funny stories, I asked why no one was laughing. They told me that they couldn't because THEY WERE CONCENTRATING SO HARD!!! OMG! This is amazing! I really can't wait to get a wiki up and running and have on-going progects like this on a regular basis! I'm going to have som writers on my hands!



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