Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Moment of Truth

So here we are. 13 school days after the start of the first unit in our BYOD class, and our unit test is tomorrow.

Throughout the unit, the students have made their way through the 8 learning goals and the tasks associated with each of them - some formative, some investigative, some creative. They were reminded to complete the exit slips for each learning goal on their own, but I know some of them collaborated (and really, I'm okay with that, since they're working together and learning together). Their quizzes (there were two) were more independent, but with the busy-ness of class, and students moving around the room continually, I still can't be 100% sure they did them on their own either.

Tomorrow's test will be the first time many of these students will be demonstrating their mastery completely on their own. What have they really learned over the past three weeks? How confident are they in their newly-gained knowledge? How well has our new system of independently-driven learning worked?

Here is an update on our progress through the unit. Many of the students have now powered through most of the exit slips, leaving the more "cumbersome" (lengthy) tasks for the time being. We'll have time to revisit those after Friday's test; they'll only be tested on the 8 learning goals.

There's something that's really bothering me though. One of the focusses of this new style of learning is that students move at their own pace. They demonstrate their mastery when they are ready to, and not before. But as with most teachers, I struggle with trying to complete curriculum in a timely manner. What if a student is not ready to be tested on this unit until next week? Next month? December?

Obviously, according to this chart, there are some students who are NOT yet ready to be tested on the unit (unless they have moved forward on their own, which I know some of them have). Is it fair to test them on everything tomorrow? How much emphasis can I place on a time-based expectation (they have known about this end-of-unit test date since the beginning of the unit)? Where is the balance between letting students move at their own pace but still managing their time and adhering to deadlines?

I'm nervous to see the results of this first BYOD, proficiency-based learning. Test results to follow...

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