Traditionally, this takes place on a unit test (or other culminating activity), supported by a number of smaller assessments leading up to the test, such as quizzes, worksheets, projects, etc.
However, these are all product-based. How can we, in math, move away from assessing primarily through products, and more through conversation and observation?
This is a scary concept for many high school math teachers, who are so used to assessing products. It's easy enough for teachers to observe, or to have a conversation, but whereas you track a level/mark on a product (16/23 on a test, say) that you see directly on that assessment paper, how do you track what you see off-paper?
As I think about being back in the classroom, this is something I want to improve upon. Instead of chalking it all up to my "professional judgement," I'd like to be able to track what I see and hear, and offer that as a record of student learning.
But I have no idea how to start that tracking. The newness of it (to me), and the openness of it, makes the process feel overwhelming. A lot of math teachers are in the same boat.
So who better to ask about tracking observations and conversations than the experts - Kindergarten and Grade 1 teachers! Where so much of the learning is done without textbooks, worksheets, and tests, these teachers are the pros in recording what they see.
I did a quick poll of K/1 teachers on Twitter of how they track the learning that happens in their classrooms (click here to see the Storify archive of the conversation), and here are some of their responses:
Some teachers are using paper checklists, created in advance, highlighting the look-fors and the learning goals the students will be working to complete. They can be stored in a binder, always within reach in the classroom for when learning is observed or when the teacher and student engage in conversation.
Amy (@Teach_Laidlaw) shared an amazing post detailing her checklist process. You can find it here: http://misslaidlaw.blogspot.ca/2017/02/assessment-and-tracking.html
Photos & Video
Aviva (@avivaloca) is the QUEEN of documenting her students' learning through captioned photos and video. She and her teaching partner collect them and review them throughout the day, using them to not only assess the students, but also to plan future activities.
Brigitte (@BrigitteDupont0) has a busy French classroom with lots always on the go - she uses pictures and video too. She also keeps everything in Google Drive for easy access.
Stickies & Colour-Coding
I think Marcie (@MarcieLew) is one of the most organized people I know. Her tracking method of choice is stickies and colour-coding for at-a-glance overviews of how her students are doing. She can then walk around the classroom with a clipboard and stickies, observing and conferencing throughout the lesson.
Amanda (@amandakmalo) creates online versions of checklists using Google Forms. There would be a drop down list for the student's name, another list for the subject, and then an open answer for comments and quotes.
Not only could Amanda fill in the forms on a tablet as she was going around the classroom, but the ECE and prep teachers also had access to the form to record what they observed. With a running record of comments for each student, it made report card writing much easier, as well as learning stories.
Geeta (@geetaranikumar) also recorded her observations digitally, but through Evernote, which includes the capability of attaching images and audio files to a "note." Geeta also mentioned that she could add tags to the pages/notes for easy reference and sorting later.
I'm so grateful to my PLN for sharing their practices with me. I'm a big fan of the paper checklists, but I'm leaning toward the convenience of the digital record keeping. How do you keep track of observations and conversations in your classroom?