Friday, March 12, 2010

Thing 6: Teachers & Administrators - Grade Fog

The Edge
Originally uploaded by ~jjjohn~
Working with teachers and administrators about grading and assessment, images help to illustrate that unclear assessments lead to foggy results. This picture reminds me of my drive home from MACUL conference. It was night time and vision was limited on the ill-lit highway. Just for the record, I dealt with rain, not fog, but lack of visibility was the same.

Poorly constructed assessments offers limited views, which can obscure what we really need to know. Just as at times last night, it was difficult to see the road markers on the turns through a mist of rainfall.

Pictures such as this make for a great metaphor that an audience, such as a classroom of students, or a staff in-service, can relate to the image and make personal connections that lead back to the concept. In this case, driving on a foggy road, which many of us have done, is as dangerous as gleaning results from an assessment that doesn't quite assess what it's intended. For example, if a Science test on definitions has points taken off for spelling, it's possible (and likely) that a student could show 100% accuracy on terms but get a B or C because of lost points for misspellings. Or, an administrator evaluates a teacher's performance during Halloween celebrations.

Would you want to navigate that result when explaining to a parent or lawyer?