So I have been sitting back quietly thinking about all the SBG posts going on. Something just wasn’t sitting right with what I know/believe. Which is interesting really, since I completely abandoned giving marks entirely for a year (That’s right, no marks! Ever! In High School! Oh no!) and ran my own semi-made up version of SBG before I knew SBG existed. This SBG movement should feel like I’d finally discovered that all along I was adopted and now I had stumbled into my real family – the ones who looked exactly like me. Then a few folks even started posting warnings and cautions about SBG, all the same things I was thinking as I watched people struggle with their lists and how they would mark the lists and all the other nitty details. My long lost twins, echoing my concerns! Yet, still, it just wasn’t feeling right as something I would want to adopt formally for my classroom.
Then, something about this evening’s twitter book talk that I was lurking in on made me realize that while people are talking both philosophy and details, there was very little talk going on about what the students would be responsible for. SBG does give a far clearer picture of what students know/don’t know in comparison to a standard grading model, but the teacher is still the one who owns the “list.” Something that has been at the forefront of my own professional development has been in regards to outcomes, feedback and evidence and making sure that has been put in the hands of students. It’s not enough for students to be able to test well through a list of skills you’ve provided for them completing assignments and tests you’ve crafted for them. They need to be able to prove, using evidence that they select, that they understand the outcomes (and to what degree they understand them).
I suppose this is where I need to pull out my unicorn, as this takes time and practice for students and a little magic certainly wouldn’t hurt. However, I’ve got a year to think about the details and a whole smorgasbord of things I’ve tried independently in the last 3 years that would be much more beneficial to student learning if I put them together in a more cohesive way. Also, I am (naively) hoping our new curriculum & resources will be more aligned to supporting students in providing different pieces of evidence.