Opportunity to Succeed

I presented the flipped class and mastery learning models of instruction at the EARCOS Teacher’s Conference in Malaysia this past March. This is my first year using these methods, and honestly, I’ve been making a lot of it up as I go along. It’s worked out pretty well so far and students are engaged and learning every day.

The most questions I got at the conference had to do with documentation and grading, which makes sense. As I field more questions and have more opportunities to share these methods with other teachers, I’ve been missing subjectivity from my discussions, especially with exams and accommodating students with learning needs.

I am a firm believer that every student has the capacity to do great things…but that doesn’t always show on tests.

An observation I’ve made throughout this year is that many students who do poorly on written exams can often sit and have a discussion with me about the content. They know what they’re talking about, they just have a hard time connecting the writing on a test to what they know. So, I began to give oral exams to those students. Their grades instantly jumped from way below failing to right around the class average.

Because I knew my students, it was petty subjective. If they got one prompt from me, minus one point. Two prompts, two points, etc. I pulled the content from my chapter objectives they use to learn the content.

In an attempt to become more objective, I began to shift through volumes of rubrics on the internet…but I found most of them were for presentations or group projects and not for summative assessments. So, I sat down with our special ed coordinator and talked about oral exam rubrics and how to design an effective tool for summative assessment.

You can see the final product here. If you’re using the flipped model or if you are interested in differentiating assessment, feel free to use the template.

Let’s step up and not accept failure when simple accommodations can give every student an opportunity to succeed.

*More information on flipping the class and mastery learning can be found here.