I have dabbled with FreshGrade for more than a year now. I have started using it with specific purposes in mind. Our school is part of the Reporting Pilot again this year. I have been trying to integrate several aspects into my classroom.
- Formative Assessment is not end product evaluation based
- Differentiation implies students are working at different levels, rates and possibly different tasks.
- The new curriculum has a different focus that does not lend itself to checklists of can and can’t do and
- FreshGrade is a new system that we don’t have all the best practices figured out for yet
1. I have worked with Formative Assessment for several years in my District position and have encouraged it. With the previous Learning Outcomes being more yes/no based, I think it was easier to report.
2. I have done several assessments in reading, writing and numeracy. The results show many gaps in the ability to demonstrate previous learning (now, or if they understood it before). The spectrum their ability to demonstrate or understand topics is mostly outside of Grade 6 level.
3. I believe the new curriculum for BC has incredible potential. I have found ways to take photos, record students voices, students working and examples during the process; however, I have had challenges to link/assess the competencies as they represent a large continuum not a finite moment in time.
4. FreshGrade has huge potential to change assessment from just summative assessment with numbers and letters to be a portfolio documenting a learning journey along the path guided by the BC curriculum. The evidence of learning is actual evidence, not a subjective number.
I did find that the time I spent with the new curriculum planning over the summer and preparing the interims has been very useful. I am comfortable with the curriculum and where I need to teach based on the formative assessment, but putting into a record of learning is still a challenge.
A key piece of this is how to report progress on content learning when we are rebuilding foundations of previous grade level knowledge where they had gaps. (Do I say not meeting and provide grade level content and concepts, or do I report the content and concepts from the grade level they are showing a degree of understanding?)
Lastly, as I have had to focus on managing behavior, and filling in missing skills, it is very hard to report when I feel that almost every student is equivalent to ‘Not Yet Meeting’ and even ‘Emerging’ seems too high based on Grade 6 curriculum because the focus is on filling in missing gaps or pre-requisite skills. They are making progress but not yet on the scale. (If you don’t fully understand whole numbers, and place value, reporting NYM on fractions seems silly.)
On a different note, I have to remember to celebrate our successes as a class