Mimio Educator

Numbers and Grades: Finding Meaning From the Scores

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Tue, May 21, 2019

Your child comes home from school and on their paper is a single number: 9. Should you punish or reward them? Call the teacher? Call a tutor? 

The answer is pretty obvious: we don’t know. A single number doesn’t really make any sense without having some context. Was it 9 out of 10 or 9 out of 100? Was it a score for points or a score from a rubric? We need more information to know what the number actually means.

The next questions for the teacher and the student are “How does this impact grading?” and “What do the numbers even mean when it comes to the grade?” Again, a number with no context doesn’t mean much. But in order to create meaning from this number, we need to start with what the number actually means once it is turned into a grade. 

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Topics: classroom assessment, tips for teachers

Turning Data Into Action

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Apr 24, 2019

In most schools, we have plenty of data. It is usually assumed that more data means better outcomes for students. This very well could be true, but I believe most schools are DRIP (Data Rich, Information Poor) schools. We have the data, but what does any of it mean? Using data helps us to guide both learning and instruction, but it has to have context. Teachers must know how to reference the data and how to form context around it.

Collecting the data is the easy part. Assessments abound all around us, and we layer benchmarks on top of formatives on top of summatives on top of progress monitoring—not to mention classroom assessments. It takes a great deal of time and resources to administer all of this, but unless these numbers turn into action, it becomes a giant waste. 

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Topics: classroom assessment

Effective Assessments in the Classroom

Posted by Kristy Nerstheimer on Wed, Apr 3, 2019

I see your eyes rolling right now as you look at this title. I know what you are thinking: Too many tests! I agree that there is too much testing in our schools, but assessments don’t have to always come in the form of paper and pencil.

As educators, we have a curriculum to teach and standards students need to master—assessments are a necessary part of the process. Depending on what grade level you teach and the district in which you work, standardized and common assessments might be a mandated part of your students’ experience. Just grin and bear it, people. It is part of the job!

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Topics: classroom assessment

Things to Consider When Creating Assessments

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Feb 13, 2019

At the end of a section of learning, it’s time for the teacher to create an assessment. This could be the end of a unit or chapter, but for what we are discussing today, a summative assessment needs to be created. Instruction is over, and we need to see what the student knows and has retained.

Where should a teacher start? The first question that should always be asked is, “Do I even need an assessment?” This may seem like a crazy question. “If I don’t give a test, what will I put in the gradebook?” But if we stop to think about it, not all learning is created equally. In the mind of a student, if something is tested, it matters because it is for a grade. So as teachers, if we test everything equally, we are sending the message that everything matters to the same degree.

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Topics: MimioVote assessment, classroom assessment, tips for teachers

The Point of Learning

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Jan 9, 2019

“At what point do you feel like you have ‘learned’ this concept?” This question that triggers a student’s metacognition can be a hard one to answer. As we reflect on the question, we may not be able to answer it easily ourselves. Have we learned something, like a fact, if we can recall it? Is learning the same as remembering? Have we learned something when we can use the information in a specific way—is learning the same as applying? Or does it have to be an even deeper level? Have we truly learned something when we can explain it to other people? Is learning the same as teaching?

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Topics: classroom assessment, tips for teachers

Grade What Matters—and If It Matters, Grade It!

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Fri, Jan 4, 2019

 

As humans, we tend to become comfortable doing something and like to do it the same way over and over again. It’s easy for our brain to become more “automatic” so we don’t have to think as much about each specific task. But for some things, as they have become more and more automatic, we may have forgotten about the original purpose for doing them in the first place.

I would contend that giving letter grades to students is one of these “things.” It has become automatic—so automatic that most educators don’t really stop to think much about the original purpose behind giving them.

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Topics: classroom assessment, Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

How to Use Assessment Clickers to Adjust Instruction

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, May 2, 2018

In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins wrote at length about technology as an “accelerator.” It was important to note that the acceleration technology created could go in either direction. Companies with a clear vision and plan could use technology to improve outcomes rapidly, while those that did not have a solid foundation and invested heavily in technology “accelerated” their demise.

The world of education is probably not much different to these companies. Schools that have clear instructional goals, a solid foundational curriculum, and engaging practices can use technology to move from good to great.

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Topics: MimioVote assessment, classroom assessment

De-Stress Before the Test 

Posted by Kristy Nerstheimer on Tue, Apr 10, 2018

Spring is finally here! And with all the new buds and blooming flowers comes state testing. Sigh.

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Topics: classroom assessment, tips for teachers

Even More Great Assessment Tools

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Nov 8, 2017

A little while ago, we shared our 10 best assessment apps with you. This article highlighted a number of great tools to use for formative and summative assessments in the classroom.

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Topics: Classroom Technology, MimioVote assessment, classroom assessment

Designing a Learning Classroom

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Aug 30, 2017

As we look at our classrooms to arrange them for the start of the year, we should ask ourselves this reflective question: “What type of classroom do I want to create?” Or even better, “What type of learning environment do I want my students to experience?”

There are different answers to these questions, and multiple answers are correct. As a teacher, you must first teach from the heart—from your own heart, and not someone else’s opinion of what teaching should be. The environment that is created should not be gathered from Pinterest, but should sprout from your own philosophies about teaching and effective learning.

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Topics: classroom assessment, Classroom Collaboration, 21st Century Skills, Classroom Management

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