ActiveGrade Kinda Terrifies Me

Standard

But I’m doing it anyway.  I really want to go all-in on standards based grading this year, and this seems like the best way to do it.  I’m a little freaked out because school has already started and this is a big change.  But I don’t see any way around it:

  • I want my kids focusing on learning and not points, and I don’t think my regular gradebook can do that.  I have ActiveGrade set to show the students their learning target scores, but NOT their overall grade.  It seems like this feature is crucial to have in a standards based gradebook.  I think when they log in to a regular gradebook and see “B”, they think “ok I’m fine” but maybe there are some skills they really need to work on.
  • I need to be able to enter multiple assessments under each standard.  I plan to start with a five question multiple choice quiz and a constructed response item for every learning target.  If a student does poorly on either of those, they will have other opportunities to show me mastery.  They could do this by working a problem on a whiteboard, teaching someone else how to work a problem, making a quick video, or any number of other ways I haven’t thought of yet.  So I need to be able to enter “individual assessments.”  My normal gradebook won’t do that.  With ActiveGrade, I can enter new grades for a single student on a single standard.
  • I want to give quality feedback and start a conversation about learning.  My normal gradebook has teacher comments, but it’s not a two way conversation.  ActiveGrade not only allows me to give feedback on any assessment, but it provides a way for students, parents, and advisers to talk back.  This back and forth seems necessary to make this whole thing work.  And I especially think my special ed teachers will love being a part of the conversation more often (not just during IEP meetings).

If you’re already using ActiveGrade, got any tips or advice for me?

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3 thoughts on “ActiveGrade Kinda Terrifies Me

    • I do love my new school. But really, the cutting edgeness is coming from the mathtwitterblogosphere (which i recently discovered and now am a little obsessed with).

  1. I’ve been using ActiveGrade for awhile now, and it is incredibly powerful for helping students to see where they’re at. I think our biggest challenge wasn’t helping the kids get it, but making sure that we communicated with parents early and often enough that they saw the power and value in this very non-traditional gradebook interface. This year, my challenge is to move the stduents from just identifying their strengths and challenges to actually doing something about the areas where they need to improve (I’d love to hear more about your plans for managing reassessment!). Good luck on your adventure! Oh! And re: AG specific questions, the user forum on the AG website can be super helpful, as well.

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