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How should student learners be assessed? (or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the report card)

An Overview Report cards, as they exist in most educational settings are insufficient for showing a holistic view student growth. They merely illustrate what percentage of questions a student got correct over a period of time. Using the percentage system, students are expected to get A's and B's, when in actuality, on most report cards, A = Superior, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average, F = Failing. Of course, different schools use different percentage points for each level, but as parents and educators, we still ask students to work toward all A's and B's. We assuming that achieving those levels indicates growth and a job well done. This type of reporting is static and does little to challenge the learner who comes to class with a wealth of prior knowledge. What it does very well for these students is to teach them that they rarely, if ever, have to work hard to get good grades; that satisfactory results ≠ hard work. On the other end of the spectrum, this type of reporting also continues to downgrade the struggling student who may have learned a lot, but who doesn't score well on assignments. This student very clearly gets the message that no matter how hard they work, they're not one of the smart ones and will never get ahead; so why try. This system thoroughly ingrains a lackadaisical attitude toward pride and effort in a job well done. Worst of all, this traditional approach doesn't mirror the real world of work in terms of any actual job or career out there. When was the last time you were evaluated in your job, item by item, then given a performance result based on your number of errors on a sum total of your work assignments? Heck we don't even evaluate teachers in that fashion! How do we even hint that schools are preparing kids for their futures when they're not mirroring the real world of work now, and keeping up with the changes happening "out there?" The LifePractice Model supports evaluating students in the following two categories: 1. Students should be assessed on their knowledge gained; after all, the students' job is to learn. 2. Students should be evaluated on the development of their learning skills. If students need to learn how to learn, unlearn, relearn (Toffler) then we need to be explicitly measuring the students' abilities to do this.

The LifePractice Model The following are a few benchmarks for measuring knowledge and skills assessment.
Mastery levels of knowledge

Knowledge should NOT be age or time based. It should be flexible to require challenged growth in each student. Mastery is black/white. You do or you don't achieve mastery on a given topic. Since content and time are flexible, knowledge assessments also reflect whether the learner is working below, at, or above grade level. "Mastery levels" can be determined at a local school or at district-levels, depending upon the educational setting. Workplace Performance Evaluation This is a rubric based on growth of an individual student within their own educational environment. Students would be evaluated on each of the following skills and assessed as to whether their skills are: E = Exemplary, A = Advanced, P = Proficient, D = Developing, L = Limited. Each area would have a section for comments from educators, as well as giving the learner and parent the opportunity to comment before being posted in cumulative files. Initiative and Judgement a) Takes effective action without being told b) Analyzes problems and suggests effective solutions c) Demonstrates willingness to learn new skills Dependability and Self-Management a) Demonstrates punctuality and begins work as scheduled b) Contacts supervisor concerning absences on a timely basis c) Can be depended upon to be available for work in/out of school d) Manages own focus effectively e) Accepts responsibility for own actions and ensuing results f) Demonstrates commitment to service g) Keeps track of own materials Communication and Teamwork a) Understands group contracts, procedures, goals and purpose as required for projects b) Promotes and demonstrates trust, mutual respect and a cooperative work environment c) Conveys work-related information and ideas to others in oral and/or written communications effectively d) Offers assistance, is courteous and works well with teachers and fellow workers e) Supports cultural diversity in the workplace f) Seeks feedback on projects for self-improvement via f2f or online networks g) Actively participates in/develops a network of support for personal learning Innovation and Change a) Is receptive to new ideas b) Adapts to new situations and changes in the work environment c) Identifies opportunities to improve projects and/or TPLC d) Demonstrates creativity and contributes new ideas to projects and/or TPLC ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Implementation for report cards (what it looks like in action)

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