Working group assessments in with #SBG

Yesterday, I read a few posts from physics professor Joss Ives at his blog, Science Learnification. One of the posts that really got me thinking was about weekly two-stage quizzes in his physics classes.

A two-stage group exam is form of assessment where students learn as part of the assessment. The idea is that the students write an exam individually, hand in their individual exams, and then re-write the same or similar exam in groups, where learning, volume and even fun are all had.

I really like the idea of having students take a quiz individually, then take it again immediately afterward in a group. I’m going to give this a try next time a give a quiz. If nothing else, instant feedback mixed with collaborative problem solving is a powerful combination.

What I’m trying to wrap my brain around right now is how to work this in with standards-based grading.

Since I don’t give points, I can’t do the 75% individual score + 25% group score = quiz grade split that Joss uses. If I could sit with all groups at once, I could observe and listen for individual involvement in the discussion & problem solving.

It may be that we could just do the group quiz portion as a learning experience and leave it at that. Since my students are always allowed to re-assess, there is value in learning after the assessment.

What I think would be lacking for me is the level of engagement that Joss reports in the group problem solving portion of the quiz. His kids are engaged in no small part because everyone’s grade is on the line. I’m not sure where the immediate motivation would be for many of my students.

Any ideas?

7 thoughts on “Working group assessments in with #SBG

  1. For my labs I’ve tried standards like “I can work in a group” or “I can be a good lab partner” but they usually fall flat. In class we do a lot of whiteboarding activity that isn’t assessed, but I’ve given up on group quizzes (even though they used to be some of the most authentic assessments I used).

  2. Thanks Andy.

    I agree on the wishy washy “attitude” type standards. I’ve pretty much excluded those myself.

    I’m totally on board with the whiteboarding. In fact, I’m about due for some new ones! I notice mine are ruining whiteboard pens way too fast.

    Maybe I’ll just use the group quiz as a learning experience after the quiz and leave it at that. We’ll see how it goes.

  3. My initial reaction:
    What instructional or classroom management concern are you trying to address by introducing this idea into your class? In other words, I see you searching for a solution that meshes with your SBG philosophy, but if it’s a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist, the solution might be to not do it at all!

    Assuming you’re interested in pursuing this idea (whether to address a concern about your current classroom or just to try out something different), I think you might be on to something by asking students to complete the two-stage quiz without assigning a letter grade. I could see it being coined as a “two-stage review day.”

    Another idea – could you add a third stage? After students receive feedback (no letter grade…or a fictitious grade based on the75% + 25% formula) from the second stage, could you add a third stage where students completed it only individually?

    Do us all a favor, share your decision and how it went with students here on your blog!

  4. Matt,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. More importantly, thanks for asking several great questions.

    I did go ahead and do the “group quiz” today in class as an ungraded task after the individual quiz. I’ll definitely address your questions in more detail in a follow-up post to come!

  5. I’m still looking for a good way to bring group quizzes into an SBG system. It may be possible to tie them to reassessment. For example, a lot of people ask the students to supply evidence that a student had worked on improving their understanding before being able to reassess a given standard. Part of that could be that they need to have discussed the standard with a peer and then provide a brief synopsis of that discussion. And one way to facilitate that for your students is to have them do the group quiz. They would get that immediate feedback, have to reflect on it (through the synopsis) and be motivated to participate in the group quiz.

  6. Joss,

    Thanks for dropping by to comment. Your blog has given me a few good ideas!

    I do think a big part of the value of a group quiz immediately following the solo quiz is the immediate feedback. I heard several students say things like, “oh, that’s what I was supposed to do on that question,” or, “I need to reassess!”

    I do think the next step that I need to integrate is to have the students individually reflect on their learning after the group quiz. I did that informally with an exit question, “how did the group quiz help your understanding?” but I’d like to make it more formal in the future. I find that kids need prompts to reflect effectively.

  7. I look forward to hearing how the formal reflections work out. I have previously been troubled by how best to integrate group quizzes into SBG so it’s great to see somebody moving forward on this.

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