My previous reflection claims that the term “assessment” means to sit beside someone. In that reflection, I also argue that rubrics, which are valuable assessment tools, work best when they describe observations rather than make judgments. In the spirit of sitting beside you these past two weeks, I want to offer an observation, without judgment. I simply want to describe what I see, as faithfully and respectfully as I can. When I invest time and energy in a project like this biography unit, I have to be careful to stay objective while assessing results. Personal attachment can cloud my impressions of what is actual happening, thereby jeopardizing future such experiments.
We are entering a new stage of our experimental unit–the sustaining stage. An increasing number of people are using class time to check email, finish Math problems or shop online. At the end of this the second week, which roughly represents the halfway mark, some are still using class time to read, but not everyone. Several people have finished their books, while others are plowing through their stories. This difference in reading progress is partly explained by various abilities, interests and commitments. Different book lengths also play a role. All things considered, though, we are now experiencing that big midway hurdle over which some people understandably find it hard to jump. We need to renew the initial enthusiasm, by completing the reading, composing a final demonstration and implementing that design. The prospect of everyone’s sharing his and her insights is what energizes me at this stage. I think of these presentations as parting gifts from individuals to the larger group.
So what? So, now what? Keep at it. Encourage one another. Recall, if necessary, what created your initial interest in this person’s story. Make a real effort to share your new understandings with your classmates. Honor them in this way. Honor the authors and subjects of these books.
photo credit: cronkitenews.asu.edu