Thursday, January 16, 2014

Why I do what I do

As another course is finished, I always ask for input from my largest stakeholders; My students.  I have removed all "unit exams" and replaced them with projects, and my final exam has now a 45 minute presentation component in which they have to demonstrate their learning of the course.

I have been asked, many times, what is your class average? How well are your diploma marks? As well as other grade-orientated questions.  I usually answer with "I don't know" as these are not the things I focus on.  Below is a picture of the questions I ask my students and their responses. (These are things I care about)

Please provide comments to Mr. Martin around his assessment strategies: (Here are some of the responses)

Mr. Martin's teaching methods are different than the majority of other teachers'. However, I personally believe his methods are an improvement upon the current, old-school teaching methods that are burnt into the minds of, what seems to be, every teacher ever. He provides help when needed and always knows what every individual needs help on. His strategic teaching allows students to get the not only quick feedback on the progress through the course, but also constructive criticism that allows for major improvement. I truly believe in Mr. Martin's way of teaching and would strongly suggest every teacher try. Maybe it won't work for all teachers and all subjects but it worked in this Math 31 class. I not only feel like I know the material taught, but also what the purpose of it and why it was taught. Mr. Martin, you are truly a genius in my books and I wish other teachers could see past the fact that your teaching methods are different and therefore wrong. Thank you for the time, effort, and belief you have put into your teaching.

I liked the way you have evaluated me. Projects and assignments have been tough but that is the way I feel I am learning. Goals and outcomes have been successfully taught through problems and projects. I like the way you mark, and also the fact that you never assigned homework. The time I didn't use to do math homework helped to catch up at other subjects.

If I was the teacher I would have done everything pretty much the exact same. However I would distribute the 45 minute presentation throughout the year because towards the end of the year is busy with other classes and diplomas so it is stressful to do all at once.

I really enjoyed being able to demonstrate my knowledge of concepts over the entire term. I make a lot of mistakes and learn the most by doing this. Mr. Martin's strategy allowed me to fully grasp the concept before I moved on and kind of allowed for a learn at your own pace type thing. I wish that my other classes were more like this because it would allow for me to learn the material more effectively

One other statistic which is not mentioned above is that before I changed the way I assess I would have up to 35% students dropping.  This year out of a class of 25 I only had 2 students drop.  This stat and the ones above are the reason I do what I do, not because of class averages.

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