Thursday, January 22, 2015

Connecting with Teachers: Final Exams and Transparent Communication

By Mark Heintz @historyheintz

One of the best parts of my job is working with other teachers.  At the end of first semester, in my role as a DTC, I was a go-to person to ensure other teachers’ finals were setup correctly in the online grade book. I was able to talk with a lot teachers about what they wanted the final to represent and how the final would be communicated to their students.  It was incredibly uplifting to hear teachers be so positive about their students.  Furthermore, it was energizing in teachers desire to have communication of their final to be clear and transparent to their students.

The world language teachers at Elk Grove High School are a great representation of this.  They have their grading categories broken down by reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  Since the course is working towards mastery, the way the grade book is set up makes student progress transparent in the communication of their skill development. It is truly amazing. Their final exam is reflective of those skills.  In the electronic grade book the district had first semester (we have since adopted a new program), it was really hard to break each component of a final exam into percentages.  The program was based more off of points. Even though it meant a lot more work for the language teachers to convert each of their different skill rubrics into a points system, they wanted the students to know what they earned on each component of the exam.  The teachers really wanted the students to know what skills they had developed and mastered over the course of the semester.  It was just a great last week of the semester due to the teachers’ student centered work and willingness to go the extra mile for their students. Shout out to the language department at Elk Grove High School!

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