Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday Tech Tip: Aligning Work Digitally to Track Student Mastery

We recently got a new feature enabled in our Schoology domain called "Mastery," which provides a way to assess & track student work based on standards and learning outcomes. (You can read more about it here.)  Designed to work with the existing alignment tool in Schoology, this could be very powerful as we think about measuring what we value in our students' work and looking for growth on specific standards.

However, before utilizing this new feature, we need to think about what we're aligning, designing, and measuring.   We'll start with "aligning."

What standard(s) will the assignment or assessment target?  Schoology already has Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and Colorado Academic Standards in the system, so any item you create or add can be aligned to those.  However, if you need to align to a learning objective that isn't represented in those standards, you can create your own.  Or, you can create a collection of objectives that you will use repeatedly or for specific units.

When in the "Personal Resources" area in Schoology, you can select "Learning Objectives" from the list on the left.  Once in the Learning Objectives area, you can add folders (for grouping standards by content areas, grade levels, or units/topics), you can add existing standards from CAS, NGSS, and/or shared learning outcomes into your list (for quicker access), and you can add your own "custom learning objectives." Bottom line: before creating an assignment or assessment, it's a good idea to think about which standards you will be targeting (and maybe even collecting them into a folder).

If you're collaborating with a group in Schoology, the group admin can enable Learning Objectives in the Group Resources area.  This would be helpful if you are creating resources to share (like test bank items) and want to track something specific for your grade level team, PLC, or department.  Again, these can be collected into folders by unit, topic, grade level, etc.

Once Learning Outcomes are in place, we can start to think about what kinds of activities, assessments, or assignments will best support that standard or outcome.  Next week's post will explore online (and offline) assessments and assignments in Schoology.

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