This rubrics/assessment thread is like trying to stop a freight train but I do feel honestly that we need a break from it as discussed here yesterday. Let me share what I am comprehending so far:
Jen: “More fine-tuned descriptors I guess would show a more accurate picture of where the child is, but is that feasible in the process, like right in the moment? I don’t know.”
Ben: I see two problems with the above, jen: 1) the term “I guess” and the term “I don’t know.” If find it a supreme irony that the very person who INVENTED the jGR descriptors five years ago is now not sure about the idea of labeling observable non-verbal behaviors. Jen, in the same way that Krashen can’t prove his hypotheses yet we know they are true, so also, if we are not to trust our eyes and inner vision in class, then we abdicate our responsibility to the kids. Our WORK involves moment to moment loving assessment. It is just so new it is freaking everyone out that “such a complicated thing” could be so simple! (Even when the kid can’t focus, it is loving to say that she can’t focus because it is honest). This is heart work, This is the end of, as Claire calls, the data turdification of children. YOU are as much about that as anyone I’ve ever met. And so now it is time to trust your heart and stop thinking about whether some (usually some handsome-but-dumb-white-man-who-was-given-the-principalship-by-a-superintendent-who-looks-like-him-and-talks-footaball-but-has-no-earthly-idea-about-what-assessment-even-means, right?)
So let’s take out the doubt you express above and rewrite what you said above with more certainty so we can dispel all doubt that may have crept in on us here in the past three or four days. If you sense some urgency in my words it is because we just spent almost a month opening up, in my own private opinion, a NEW FRONTIER in WL assessment and ain’t nobody gonna mess that up because it took us so long to get here. So, jen:
Jen (this is a suggested restatement on the idea of rubrics): “More fine-tuned descriptors WILL show a more accurate picture of where the child is, AND IT IS feasible in the process, like right in the moment. I know.”
And why do you know? Because it is your job to know. You see, the TPRS highway is strewn with wreckages of hippy teachers who have no idea how to assess a kid’s progress in their classes. I am one. They have been using outmoded and grossly unfair quantification systems that, because we CAN NEVER KNOW how much a kid gets, or which words they get and which words they don’t get, etc. (Natural Order Hypothesis, Comprehensible Input Hypothesis, etc.). They have thus failed themselves while failing their students in reporting out to them how they are doing so this is a big deal.
And now we are getting closer to a way of formative on-the-spot OBSERVING of behaviors but WE CAN’T JUST SAY TO OUR ADMINISTRATORS, “Oh yeah I watch them in class. I can tell.”
I’d fire me if I said that and I did say it to my curriculum director and I now see I needed to be re-directed and need to be the one to apologize to that guy. Log in the eye thing. Said in a New Jersey accent, “For fifteen years I’m giving my kids tests and I never really know what they know and now finally I see that all I have to do is watch my kids and note in my mind or on an EASY EASY EASY form during or after class what I SEE SEE SEE and SENSE SENSE SENSE and then record that in a simple way and report out using that form/rubric to my principal and doing that would be accepted by my principal because she would get it IF I TOLD HER HOW I WAS USING THE RUBRIC.
When our boss very reasonably asks us to show documentation and all we have is rubrics with no teeth, validity, or reliability, “I don’t know” won’t cut it. I am speaking to myself here. I really need to get off the “IDK Train” and it is happening now this month in this discussion. Amazing! And if we don’t say what we see in specific terms, we will have blown our chance to show off what we do know: infinitely more about assessment than test-obsessed date losers or like Claire calls, them, oh you know.
We show what we know, what we listen for or see in our kids’ eyes or body language or gestures or drawings or whatever by writing it out in a rubric (even if we don’t fill out the rubric as Claire says). So why not show administrators what we are already doing? THIS IS NOT TOO COMPLICATED AND THERE IS EVERY REASON TO KNOW if a kid is actually sitting up and participating BY LOOKING AT THEM, so YOUR FANTASTIC RUBRIC jGR should NOT be thrown out.
So I want to redirect this discussion, first to take a big summertime break here and pick it up again at our session (kindly offered to us by Carol) in TN and also to take all this way of looking at grading in the direction of the heart and that means compassionate assessment in the moment and reporting it in succinct and identifiable ways to our bosses with what we observe.
I don’t like it that our high IQ Fresno Bad Boy is expressing confusion here. He usually gets things, here in his first year of teaching, in like -5 seconds. So we need to get clear on this.
Now for Claire:
I have gathered that Claire is advocating simplicity.
Ben to Lance: The idea of simplicity in formative rubric based assessment is music to my ears which YEARN FOR SIMPLICITY IN ASSESSMENT. Are you worried that we would have to use 5 rubrics every day and have to manage 27 different rubrics? We won’t! Claire has offered 3 easy to use rubrics and said we don’t even have to fill them out, we could just use them as a talking point with administrators. It’s good news and very manageable even for weirdos like me.
Yesterday, Claire offered that jGR is really good because it doesn’t just use two words (Emerging/Practicing), it has actual descriptions. I think Alisa’s is great for younger kids but my principal would squirm in her chair where it all has to be super detailed in middle school. And I think we can all agree using jGR is not too confusing for anybody.
Lance you said,…the fewer levels we describe, the more accurate and clear…
I can’t agree. The more you describe, the more accurate and clear. This is what I never knew until this thread broke open. Fifteen years of ignorant assessing! Now we’re getting a little hold on this deal. Let’s keep it going.