I was a part of a Standards-Based Grading workshop and an SBG panel at the American Association of Physics Teachers conference recently. My head nearly exploded with some new ideas for my Sound and Music course (see previous thoughts on that here and here).
Josh Gates coarse-grained standards
Josh teaches at the high school level and does some really cool things with SBG. Read all about it at his blog. He shared with me how he does a small number of deep/rich standards. Here’s a great visual of one of his standards:
When Josh gives his students an assessment (usually an in-class quiz), he gives them feedback using a form with that graph on it. He makes notations on both the core skills and proficiency indicators and then gives an overall (D-, D, P-, or P) where “D” stands for developing and “P” stands for proficient.
I like his approach a lot, and I think I want to borrow it a little as I think about a small number of over-arching standards for my sound and music course. So what might that look like? Here’s a stab for one of the standards I posted earlier:
- I can describe the wave nature of sound
- CORE SKILLS
- Define a wave
- Describe how waves propagate
- Compare and contrast waves with particles
- Describe interference
- Explain wavelength, frequency, and amplitude
- PROFICIENCY INDICATORS
- Measure the speed of sound
- Calculate Doppler shifts
- Calculate frequency differences from beats
- Predict the motion of a particle experiencing a wave
- CORE SKILLS
Hmm, I’m not really happy with that. I think Josh and I are using the proficiency indicators differently. I was thinking of applications to demonstrate knowledge, where his are more combinations of the core skills. Maybe that’s similar.
What’s interesting about slapping that down off the top of my head, is it makes me realize just how broad that standard is. I think this line of thinking/working should help me find good size standards that are still a small number. Then I can start thinking about appropriate assessments.
Note, it looks like my class might get bumped up to 60 people (3 lab sections) so my plans for videos and oral assessments might have to get tweaked, or in the worst case, tossed. We’ll see.
- I think that standard is too broad, you should split it at ____
- Don’t you think that students would rather get 1, 2, 3, 4 instead of D-, D, P-, P?
- I really like D-, D, P-, P, how would you turn that into a grade?
- Josh seems so cool, why can’t he have your job?