Saturday, July 7, 2012

#flipcon12 archives: A Flipped Approach to Assessment (Marc Siegel)

 I was able to watch Marc's archived presentation from #flipcon12... here are some notes that stood out to me and my reflections...

I would highly suggest you check out the session yourself as well, because what stood out to me may not be what impacts you the most! :) 
Register for virtual access to all these sessions here.

  • Support is the key to success in the Flipped Classroom. You need to reach out!
  • Classroom guidelines - You need to alter your mindset.  Normally rules are set up with a punishment if the rules aren't followed.  These are his classroom guidelines, and the "guidelines" he set up for his session.
    • Be open-minded
      • Don't say no to anything presented. At least consider everything.
    • Be a critical thinker
      • The status quo is unacceptable here. You must think outside the box.
      • "I don't just think outside the box, I tear it up" - Fast and the Furious
      • "I'm so far outside the box, the box is a dot"
    • Take initiative
    • Dare to Fail
      • You cannot know what you know, you cannot know how to improve unless you fail miserably.
I like these "guidelines", and I have similar ones for my class - they are my "rules for success", but maybe I will cut out the word "rules" and make it "guidelines for success".
Guidelines for Success in Mrs. Kirch's Class
K- Keep Mrs. Kirch Happy (attention, performance, effort)
I- Initiate Communication (online, in person)
R-Remain Honest (all you do, say, submit)
C-Complete All Assignments (thoroughly, thoughtfully, on time)
H-Have a positive attitude (be 'present', be open to learning, limit side talking, participate fully)
  • Conversation with principal: "I am going to increase the amount of conversation I have with my students, and I am going to be there every step of the way"
  Note: Save this quote and use in my #flipclass introduction somewhere.
  • He started off with the "literal flip" (Flipping 101) and by the end of the year he was BORED - all he was doing was homework help in class, with a lab here or there.  Students said they loved the extra time, but something needed to change!
    • Everything was assignment-driven. 
      • Three questions that need to be addressed:
        • What's the purpose of the assignment? What does it measure?
        • Is this assignment measuring what I think it is measuring?
        • Is there There must be a better way!
      • We must design the assignment around the objective, not design the objective around the assignment. 
This is one of my concerns with fully flipping for a school year.  Even just doing it for 6-7 months, some of my students got sick of it and bored with it. I know I did not provide enough variety, and it's been my goal this summer so far to start thinking about that.  I think somehow working with menus (choice boards) will help with this, but I still haven't had time to sit down and wrap my head around it. Coming soon, I guess :)
  • What's the purpose of assessment in a traditional classroom?
    • measure student understanding
    • modify instruction
    • meet objectives
  • All of these occur under the supervision of the teacher.  They are teacher-initiated.
  • Typically individual
This next year, I think I am still going to have concept quizzes (taken when students are ready, but with deadlines) and unit tests (all taken on the same day).  However, I would like to incorporate "non-traditional" assessment as well through projects, student-created videos, etc. It's still a barrier for me to count those assessments in the gradebook as "real assessments" (meaning like a test), but it's a process I will have to work through at my own pace because I see value in the non-traditional assessment.
  • "If I can build skills - if I can build my technology skills, my group work skills, my lab skills, my critical thinking skills - for two weeks... then I can teach content." 
I really really really hope I can do this in August. I tend to always jump in, but I need to slow down and teach skills first. I am not sure how to teach these and still keep the rigor of the first week of school to the level that I like to start the year off at.  Again, I've got a month to think about it :)
  • Critical thinking skills (thinking beyond the surface of the problems)
  • Communication skills (with me and their peers)
  • Writing/reflecting skills (WSQ)
  • Basic internet skills (based on the sites they'll be accessing)
  • Video watching skills 
  • Objectives
    • Develop a common objective/definition for assessment in a flipped classroom
    • Identify aspects of a traditional assignment that can be easily modified to meet our new definition
    • Ideas: 
  • Ideas to consider
    • Will these modifications give students greater understanding?
    • Where's the creativity?
    • Does it give the students choice?
    • Problem-based?
    • Inquiry driven?
  • Have students not come up with "right" answers, but come up with "wrong" answers that could occur. Oh I like this! What a great activity for students to do! Definitely going to try this.  I can see that it will take some training in not having kids come up with cheesy mistakes, but actually ones that could be made by them or their classmates.
  • In order to retake, they have to come in for a minimum 15 minute appointment with the teacher to go over the assessment. I like this idea as well, especially the one-to-one communication part. So many students of mine just review the test individually, study individually, rewatch videos individually, and I don't really get to see where their misconceptions were and address them with them.


  1. I was thinking about something like "This next year, I think I am still going to have concept quizzes (taken when students are ready, but with deadlines) and unit tests (all taken on the same day)." for next year in my class. I was considering quiz when you're ready, everyone takes the same test during a specific week (or 3 day span or something) and then they are all returned at once for test corrections. I already announce each test at least a week in advance, allow test corrections, use multiple versions within and between classes - now I'd just be letting each student select the day that works best for them.

    1. Hi Aaron,
      Thanks for commenting! I like your idea about the "same week, 3-day span" for tests. I have been struggling with giving students the test all on the same day because it is unfair for them to take a test for an hour knowing they are failing (and it's frustrating for me to grade that test... and it takes twice as long to grade a bad test because I have to try to figure out where they went wrong!). However, I am concerned with students waiting until the last day and still not being ready - again, it's that responsibility piece that we are just hoping they learn and grow with the flipped classroom. Concerns about cheating/copying are always there, but with making different versions for different days, that would alleviate that. I always give my kids a "practice test" that is basically the test with different numbers, so there should never be any surprise as far as what they will be tested on. So, even if a student who took the test on Wednesday tells the kid on Thursday what's on there - the kid should already know what's on there from the Practice Test!
      I'm going to take your idea into consideration as I start mapping out my plans for the year... thanks again for sharing!

  2. Crystal, what a fantastic breakdown of my "presentation." I wish the one I did the previous day had been taped as that was much more interactive with better conversations. I have been reading about some of the things you do and I believe we are at very similar points in flipping. I am not going to flip the entire year; definitely not next year, but probably never. Unless the students are coming from a flipped teacher there are just too many traditional methods that need to be altered in order to make it happen correctly. My goal is to start with the assignments, then assessments, then the instruction. I figure by the middle of the 2nd quarter (month 4ish) is when the first fully flipped unit will occur. By then we will have our major skills (lab, Moodle use, Google Apps, collaboration, etc.) fully integrated and the flip should go much smoother. I have not been good about updating my blog, but will post more in July about the changes as I come up with them. Keep up the amazing work!!


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