This was originally posted on Assessment FOR Learning.
Recently I spent a few minutes in the classroom of SHS Marketing teacher Michelle Kovac. Her Marketing students had just turned in projects that day.
When I came into the class the students were in the process of evaluating similar projects turned in by last year's students. Mrs. Kovac had given her students a rubric when they started the project. Now she was having them use that rubric to assess the projects that had been turned in last year. After the students assessed last year's projects they told Mrs. Kovac what grade they had assigned to the projects. Mrs. Kovac then told them what grade she had given. By doing this, the students learned 2 things:
1. They realized that they were harsher graders than Mrs. Kovac was, and
2. They realized exactly how Mrs. Kovac would be grading their projects.
This led to the students falling right into Mrs. Kovac's "trap". After truly understanding how their projects would be graded, the students asked exactly what Mrs. Kovac wanted them to ask - "Can we have some more time to work on our projects?" Mrs. Kovac smiled and told them that they had the rest of the class period to finish their projects. With their new assessment-elicited data in mind, the students literally sprinted to their projects to add finishing touches. It was joy to watch students so eagerly wanting to work on a project, and it would not have happened if Mrs. Kovac hadn't taken the time to train them how to assess.
A student named Zac then made a statement that "one-upped" Mrs. Kovac's excellent lesson plan. Zac told Mrs. Kovac that next time she should let them assess the old assignments either at the beginning or half-way through their work on their projects. That way they could learn from the assessment and make sure they had the best possible project ready to turn in on the due date.
Mrs. Kovac liked Zac's idea and told the class that that was exactly what she would do.
What a great AFL idea. Can you apply this to your classroom? Is there a way you could give students examples of the work you are asking them to do? Could you then train them to assess it the way you do? Would this have any impact on the quality of the work the students did for you? In my opinion, the answer to all of those questions is "Yes".