Friday, September 14, 2012

A conversation with Joe Bower: How does formative assessment influence students' motivation to learn?

How does formative assessment influence students' motivation to learn?


  1. I really really really like this. At least, the heart of it. I do have some questions though.

    1) If your school wholeheartedly adopted this philosophy, how would you defend it to the parents of your students who can't get into a college because they have no grades, and thus, no GPA? I've asked this question before with no response, so I don't expect any this time either.

    2) The captions are hilariously wrong. I have some friends who are teachers who also happen to be deaf, and your video is almost useless to them. Are you interested in fixing that?

  2. 1) I've taught in three schools. One was a middle school (grades 6-8), the second was a Kindergarten to grade 8 and the third is a children's inpatient psychiatric assessment unit. The context of my teaching experiences had nothing to do with getting into college so the parents would have never required me to defend assign a grade for these reasons. When I was required to field questions from parents, their focus was on their children's learning not their GPA. However, there is a movement among post-secondary institutions to broaden their admission's policies. Many colleges and universities offer alternative ways of being accepted that do not require the SAT or testsandgrades. Instead, they look at student performances and portfolios.

    2)Captions? I did not place captions on this video. Just audio and video. Not sure what you are talking about.

  3. How broad is this movement you speak of among public universities? It just seems to me that entire admissions procedures will have to change radically if a college is going to review 30K+ student portfolios instead of a list of GPAs and SAT scores. I'm not saying that's bad, just a RADICAL change, requiring a lot more effort on the part of the admissions offices.

    I'm a little troubled by seeing you say that "the context of my teaching experiences had nothing to do with getting into college...." I'm sure at least some of your students have gone to post-secondary work. And, from what I've read of your blog, the educational principles you hold most dear are the exact principles that would do college students the most good. When I've taught college classes, I'd much rather have the "middle of the pack" students who love to learn over the "top tier" students who do what they think they have to do to get a grade and never push themselves.

    As for the captions, since you didn't provide any, YouTube/Google tries to make them for you. It makes its best guess about what you're saying, but it doesn't always do a great job. If you can make a text file of what you said, YouTube will align the captions for you. Of course, that means going to the trouble of someone typing up what you said and then uploading it as a caption file.... which you will have to weigh against how important it is to you that people who can't hear are able to get your message.


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