This year I have taken on the task of applying for my National Board certification. I have been trying (possibly unsuccessfully) to work through the material, and as usual, I am completely overwhelmed. (To the point that I should probably stop telling people I am in the process…. For my dignity’s sake).
Nonetheless, there is value in whatever outcome arises from this. Our school’s instructional coach mentioned that it was the best PD of his life - and he’s not wrong. Of particular note is the emphasis on self assessment and self directed learning.
Imma start with a hard truth. I am a control freak. I struggle with anything left to the students, and often, I assume it’ll fail. (Apparently, I am very narcissistic about my abilities). Being an AP teacher, however, has forced me to rely on their independence because frankly, I can’t hold their hand on the test. It puts me in a position where I need to teach them to be reflective and how to effectively evaluate their own work and progress. Therefore, I’ve always had some form of self-assessment. This year - while undergoing my own person Odyssey - I’ve found even more ways to engage students in reflection. After weeding through the muck, I have a few worth sharing.
Really, it’s a shift in mindset for ourselves as the teacher. Why should we burn out creating feedback when the kids are perfectly capable? Yes, it takes frontloading with samples and rubric analysis. Yes, they will complain when you ask them to evaluate on their own. Yes, it means giving up some control (cringe).
The value lies in the process itself. For example, I can tell my kids a score at this point, and they know exactly what that number means: what’s missing, what’s successful, the next steps. Best of all - at least for me - it cuts down grading time. Significantly. It’s honestly the only reason I have time for individual conferences with students... and what's left of my sanity.