I have always been the kind of teacher who wanted to enter grades as quickly and efficiently as possible. Before using ASSISTments, I graded a lot of student practice assignments based on effort; which although incentivized practice, did not reflect my students' understanding accurately. Over the years, I've used several methods of grading all of which were essentially effort-based systems (because it was impractical to assess and grade each problem myself). Often, my routine would consist of going over the answers and then taking questions at the beginning of the next class after an assignment.
I started using ASSISTments during the COVID-19 pandemic and since then, every single math problem a student completed has been scored and returned with meaningful feedback. While students receive Immediate Feedback on computer scored questions, I still had to provide feedback manually on open response questions. This was my initial struggle. When I first began using ASSISTments, I hadn’t yet figured out how to leave regular feedback on open response work in a timely way and it became difficult to manage a “work-life balance.”
I resolved this by developing a routine with my students that involved reviewing, scoring, and providing feedback for each ASSISTments assignment twice. I did this once, the day before the assignment is due, giving students who completed their work early an opportunity to ask questions and get clarification and then once after the late deadline. I make sure to communicate these details within Google Classroom, letting the student know when the assignment is due, when I will provide early feedback, when the late deadline is, and when the students can expect last chance feedback (if they had not submitted before the first round). I make sure to make time to ensure my students are clear on the process to avoid any confusion. These routines help my students and I manage reasonable, consistent grading and feedback expectations. Many of my students complete the assignment the day it is assigned (knowing they will get feedback through ASSISTments) and as a result, the whole class benefits from the data as we review assignments together.
For the individual feedback I provide in the Open Response Questions, I save time by copying and pasting common feedback comments. It's important to still add custom, individualized student feedback, which I do as needed.
I have learned a lot about how to provide effective feedback from my participation in the ASSISTments Quick Comments Beta. I find that I am evolving to give more guiding questions in my feedback than straightforward answers which allows every student to move forward with their learning. I have also developed better processes for providing feedback for students who answer correctly and earn a perfect score.
Additionally, I have established routines for students to review their ASSISTments reports and any Open Response feedback that I provide. I create Google Classroom review assignments for my classes and link their previous ASSISTments assignments all in one place with some directions and guidance on how to efficiently review and study for unit assessments (see how I do this by clicking here.). Students are expected to review feedback and are encouraged to rework problems. This process has proved to be successful in both remote and in-person learning. (I often also include a Google Form to capture information and assign a grade to students to incentivize this review process as well.)
ASSISTments has changed my teaching practice by giving students access to authentic grades and actionable feedback. I can’t imagine ever teaching without ASSISTments again!
Jenni Birrell was teaching both live virtually via Zoom and using recorded lessons posted to Canvas. She found it incredibly challenging to assess students during that time; until she realized that student engagement was still one of the most critical components of teaching and learning, no matter the format.Continue Reading