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Transforming School from Performance to Learning

Transforming School from Performance to Learning

Most parents, teachers, and schools encourage students to perform as best as they can, but it turns out that a focus on performance can hinder learning, improvement, and, ironically, performance.

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A Work in Progress: Growth Minded Assessment

A Work in Progress: Growth Minded Assessment
Sam had a big smile on his face as he turned in his math test. Sam is in my Intermediate Algebra course, which is a developmental, prerequisite course for College Algebra. Students enroll in this course due to low SAT scores. Based on the big grin, I was optimistic about Sam's test.

"How'd you do?" I asked enthusiastically. "Well," he sighed, "I totally bombed it. But I feel really good about what I learned! Don't take it personally; this is the most I've ever understood in math."

After I graded it, I was devastated to see that he had scored a 30%. I thought about how I was going to have to give this test back to him. I thought about how I would try to soften the blow by telling him I was proud of his hard work, progress, and growth. I thought about the personalized feedback I would give him to help him learn from his mistakes. But mostly, I thought about how I felt like a hypocrite.

How could I develop and maintain Sam's growth mindset while simultaneously informing him that he is still failing in math?
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Kevin Campbell
Great article
Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:41
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Grading for Growth in a High-Stakes World

Grading for Growth in a High-Stakes World

Last month, I wrote about creating a risk-tolerant classroom environment as a way to empower students to seek challenge and risk mistakes—core principles of a growth mindset. But how can a classroom be risk-tolerant when there are tests and grades at every turn?

Recently, I gave a workshop in an elementary school full of creative and dedicated educators. These teachers thought their kids were wonderful, and they wanted nothing more than to simply nurture their enthusiasm, creativity, and growth. But the students (and their parents) were full of anxiety about grades and state tests.

It's no easier for the teachers. Assessment and grading are among the most complex and controversial areas of teaching, because they're expected to do so many different things: motivate students to do their work; measure progress towards learning goals; identify and promote talent and merit; and hold schools and, increasingly, individual teachers, accountable. Many educators are struggling with these competing priorities, and wonder how they can foster a growth mindset at the same time.

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Recent Comments
Lisa Blackwell
That's a fantastic insight! Implicit in your comment is the recognition that learning isn't an all-or-nothing affair, and that eve... Read More
Thursday, 02 February 2012 11:33
Lisa Blackwell
Not necessarily--rubrics aren't the best fit for all assignments, but even more to the point, not every assignment must result in ... Read More
Thursday, 02 February 2012 11:34
Lisa Blackwell
Great points, Mae. These are important skills, and very aligned with the growth mindset too. Have you found a way to incorporate t... Read More
Thursday, 02 February 2012 11:43
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