Blogging Assessment

10/30/2005 02:35:00 pm

I'm working on adding another piece to my Rip, Mix, Learn blog on assessment. I found that I had to associate some kind of mark with blogging in order to really get my students to buy in. The thing was, I didn't want to make the parameters too rigid so as to encourage reflection and creative thought on the students part. So in the end there are two ways students get blogging marks in my classes.

(1) They have to write their own post at least once per unit. The post should be some kind of reflection on what they are learning. The parameters for this post are on the class blog (feel free to copy it verbatim if you wish).

The first question on every unit test they write is:
Did you blog at least once before this test as outlined in my post "Blogging on Blogging?"      Yes    No

It's easy to verify because every post is time and date stamped -- it's either in the web log or not. I give them the mark regardless of what they write as long as they have made at least some small effort to reply to one of the prompts in my post.

(2) One mark for each scribe post. The scribe works like this: Each day (except test days) one student writes a summary of what we did in class that day. That's it. They end their post by choosing who will be the next day's scribe. (The first student scribe was a volunteer.)

I update a post I wrote called The Scribe List each day to make sure that the same person isn't chosen twice before everyone has had a chance to be scribe first. (It takes about a minute each day to do this.) I also leave a permanent link to The Scribe List in the links menu in the sidebar.

Their final scribe mark will be the number of scribe posts they wrote divided by the number of times they were supposed to write such a post. They write some pretty amazing stuff! As I've written earlier each scribe has been trying to outdo the previous scribe; particularly in the grade 11 class.

I've recently begun posting thought provoking games on Sundays on each class blog. An idea I got from reading Jan Nordgreen's blog; Think Again! The idea is too expose them to a variety of problems in a low pressure environment that encourages mathematical thinking. They don't even realize they're learning as they play these games. I think one of the reasons this type of learning is so powerful is related to the instant feedback they get while playing; something that is difficult to do in a classroom setting.

Bud explored blogging assessment last year with the kids in his Blogging Experiment. One of the students, Elle, wrote a very thoughtful post on how blogs should be assessed.

I wonder how other teachers get their students to buy into the process of blogging. Do you also have to use marks to goad them into it? Do you assess their blogging? If so how? If not how do you get them to take advantage of the opportunities blogging represents? How do you assess student blogging?

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  1. I started off my year by marking blog posts. I thought the kids would need the "motivation" that marks produce (I'm sure Alfie Kohn would have something to say about that!) to get kids going.

    But I have quietly, over the last several weeks stopped marking them. We have continued to focus on our blogs, I give them an occasional question they need to work with, we examine good posts, and the blogs of other classes; but they have not been marked for several weeks. The grnad majority of my class have noticed, but they don't seem to care. They are still writing, improving their writing, and blogging away. I am uncertain if it will last or if the marks will need to come back, but this is where we stand currently.