After my first blogpost documenting this project, I would like to document how I tried to have a close and fair follow up of the student´s work. Having 15-16 year olds working for many hours in groups with their netbooks and ipads is a challenge. I was realizing, that without close follow up and clear directions, it would in many cases result in poor productions. Their autonomy is in certain cases still limited.
On the other side, I had to have an idea of the student´s performance. Our system still demands marks and replacing the classical written test with project work, was a challenge to me. Even with the approval of the authorities, I had to track their progress closely in order to be able to evaluate them, in a constructive way.
I began taking notes by hand, but as I am very messy and use to loose papers, I decided to work on the cloud.
I designed a spreadsheet, organized with colours, one sheet for each class. I inserted hyperlinks that would send me to timely actualized documents:
- the Documentation of the group (identified with the hyperlinked name of the documenting student),
- the progress of the research and the information they are gathering (identified with an hyperlinked “info” entry) and
- general observations – this means my own documentation- of what I observe in regards to their performance in class, collaborative work, questions quality, etc (hyperlink in OBS text).
So, each lesson we spent on working and gathering information, I had my own documentation doc open, taking notes, taking pictures.
By the end of the lesson (in some time left at school or at home), I took a moment to analyze every documentation produced that day by every group. The same I did with the information sheet, paying special attention to the revision history in order to find out which student has been collaborating or not on the document that day.
For both student-produced documents, I added comments with feedback intention, marking highlights and weaknesses. This was easy to do having it centralized on my spreadsheet, where I finally entered the “mark” as an overall evaluation of what happened that day within every group.
By the end of the trimester, even if the campaigns are not ready, I was able to give a mark that I believe – and students agreed- reflects pretty fairly their performance during these last three weeks of autonomous and collaborative work.
This has been very time insuming in the end, if we consider that we have 5 classes, 27 different diseases, 89 students to be evaluated. But isn´’t correcting 89 identical written tests also a lot of work and -most importantly- AWFULLY BORING????
Not to say that I had to become an expert myself in diseases that range from multiple sclerosis to brain cancer, from leishmaniasis to meningitis, in order to be able to accurately check for the information the students were managing.
One very important thing was to share with the students the rubric. It transparents the evaluation, lets them know which are the teacher´s expectations. However, I have to admit that I feel that I was not able to check for each item in my planned rubric, for every student, for every day. Perhaps, my rubric has too many indicators (like more then 25…). On the other side, it is not always easy to check for each student how he/she is really working, in real time. I think I will still have to work in this sense.
I am already a drawing-fan, so I -obviously- prepared a sketchnote illustrating the process evaluation.