Browsing articles in "Teaching Philosophy"

Measuring Growth, Part 2: Self-Evaluation in Compass

Dec 4, 2012   //   by Dimitri   //   Blog, Physics Education, Teaching Philosophy  //  No Comments

hummingbird One student symbolized their growth with a hummingbird for three reasons. (1) According to the student, the hummingbird is “special in its ability to hover” which “embodies the moments over the course in which I felt . . . ‘stuck’ in my studies, unable to propel myself forward.” (2) The hummingbird can also “fly in any direction, including backwards. . . . The second midterm, for example, was my fall backward.” (3) On a more positive note, the student compared their growth to a hummingbird that “elevates and flies over ground, ascending over obstacles and any problems.”[/caption]

Introduction

This post is the second part of a two-part story about how Compass encourages students to measure their growth according to a rubric of qualitative skills (which can be found here). The rubric that Compass uses is an adaptation of two rubrics developed by Jon Bender. How Jon developed his rubrics is the subject of the first part of this story, and can be found here. Compass’s rubric is very similar to those created by Jon, and a helpful description was given in Part 1:

These rubrics include a bunch of qualitative behaviors and skills, e.g., persistence, communication, skepticism, and self-compassion. They can be used in two ways: (1) by teachers to provide feedback to students, and (2) by students to evaluate themselves. Jon has taken both approaches, whereas Compass uses the rubrics primarily in the context of student self-evaluation.

In order for students to gain a rough understanding of the skills, each skill is accompanied by a list of defining questions. For example, one of the questions that accompanies “persistence” is: what do you do when you’re frustrated? A particular student’s proficiency can be ranked as either beginning, developing, or succeeding according to the rubric. The stages of proficiency are described through qualitative statements. For instance, the rubric characterizes the beginning stages of persistence by the following statements: I tend to try one or two things; and, I give up more easily than I should. On the other hand, succeeding at persistence is characterized by look[ing] for new ways to think about a problem.

In this post, I discuss how and why Compass started using Jon’s self-evaluation rubrics in our courses and I describe how we adapted the rubrics to serve our needs.
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Measuring Growth, Part 1: Origin of the Self-Evaluation Rubrics

Nov 28, 2012   //   by Dimitri   //   Blog, Physics Education, Teaching Philosophy  //  1 Comment
Status rubric governing document

This is one of the early documents that later evolved into the status rubric. Character traits (top level) are developed by practicing skills (middle level) in the context of developing ideas and using scientific processes (bottom level). Major learning goals include developing traits and skills useful for scientific thinking. This happens in a classroom characterized by respect for individuals and ideas.

 

Introduction by Dimitri Dounas-Frazer

This post is the first part of a two-part story about how Compass encourages students to measure their growth using tools developed by Jon Bender, a former Oakland middle school teacher who has since moved away from the Bay Area. Jon’s training is at the high school level, as is most of his teaching experience. His background also includes teaching courses at the University of Alaska Anchorage and through CalTEACH.

In Fall 2011, Jon shared with Compass two rubrics that he developed for measuring his students’ growth: the status and progress rubrics. These rubrics include a bunch of qualitative behaviors and skills, e.g., persistence, communication, skepticism, and self-compassion. They can be used in two ways: (1) by teachers to provide feedback to students, and (2) by students to evaluate themselves. Jon has taken both approaches, whereas Compass uses the rubrics primarily in the context of student self-evaluation.

In order for students to gain a rough understanding of the skills, each skill is accompanied by a list of defining questions. For example, one of the questions that accompanies persistence is: what do you do when you’re frustrated? A particular student’s proficiency can be ranked as either beginning, developing, or succeeding according to the rubric. The stages of proficiency are described through qualitative statements. For instance, the rubric characterizes the beginning stages of persistence by the following statements: I tend to try one or two things; and, I give up more easily than I should. On the other hand, succeeding at persistence is characterized by look[ing] for new ways to think about a problem.

In this post, Jon shares with us the rubrics’ origin story by outlining the history of their development. In a following post, I’ll talk about how the rubrics have been adapted for use in the Compass classroom.

Without further ado, here is Jon’s post.
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