Thursday, September 16, 2004

Blogs & Assessment

This past Monday I had my students register for accounts on Blogger so that they could begin writing in online learning logs. My intention is for them to write in them every three to four weeks, or at the end of my district's short cycles, so that they have a running record of their learning.

What is a short cycle? My district, Middletown City Schools, has decided that we teach according to an instructional calendar. A certain number of state standards are to be taught and assessed during what's known as a "short cycle." After the assessment, students who are falling behind are assigned to an intervention period for a few days.

Having my students keep a learning log is an important action that I use to help them become good self-assessors (is that a word?). Embedded in this action are a couple more strategies, all associated with assessment for learning.

First, notice when you read this example
that the student is discussing her strengths and weaknesses; she is engaging self-reflection, a strategy which reinforces learning and helps her gain insights into herself as a learner. In the second example, notice that this student is talking about specific learning targets that have been made clear to him from the beginning of the short cycle. He knows what the expectations are and where he stands according to them. With this knowledge he and I can focus on these weaknesses, possibly in an intervention period.

So why use a blog for this? As is it updated throughout the year it becomes a digital portfolio with the whole year's learning right there for all interested parties to see.

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