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Grades are stupid: Let’s promote and assess the process of learning, not just products.

Session 3
Reshan Richards — Montclair Kimberley Academy, Constructivist Toolkit, Leading Online, Explain Everything

Emerging technologies, current research, and innovative pedagogies have supported the ways that students learn and demonstrate what they understand. Unfortunately, the archaic practices of grades and grading still dominate assessment conversations, even though assessment is much more than a static number or letter. Students now make their thinking visible more easily, and it is up to educators to recognize and harness the value in new approaches to assessment.

The purpose of this conversation is to help either reframe or augment thinking about grades and the purpose and meaning of assessment. We will engage some design and feedback activities around goal articulation and formative assessment approaches using multimedia. We will learn and discuss research, tools, and pedagogies that support creative, process-based demonstrations of understanding and the many ways that these processes can be captured for future reflection and growth.

Conversational Practice

A nice way to engage this topic is to understand the perspectives of all of the agents involved in learning. So we will be students, who will create artifacts of understanding. We will be teachers who review and provide feedback to students. We will be parents who access these artifacts first without the context provided by students and teachers and then with it. And finally, we will be the leaders of learning who look at the entire collection of artifacts and try to understand what bigger story is told about the curriculum, about the teacher, about the students, and about the school.

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