22 Oct How Digitizing a Student Character Grading Rubric Changed A Magnet School
EduMetrics’ product iNOTED is a flexible platform that is helping schools collect information that helps their mission and curricular goals. The EduMetrics team works with each school to help determine which areas would help advance the goals of their school based on our available modules. However, at times there is something unique that a school wants to assess. In those cases, the research team at EduMetrics works with staff at the school to create an assessment to meet the school’s needs. Here is an example of what this looks like at one of our schools.
One of our partnering schools, Breakthrough Magnet School North in Hartford, Connecticut a K-8 school, approached us about digitizing their character grading process called the BRICK. The BRICK consists of five key behaviors that were identified as important components of having good character by the founder of Breakthrough Magnet School (BMS). The school’s BRICK philosophy is embedded in the curriculum and culture of the school. Students are taught different skills pertaining to these five traits throughout their experience at BMS. They are also are graded on their report card each quarter based on a detailed rubric that was designed to help teachers assess student’s character.
In the past teachers had to create their own systems of tracking students character based on a rubric in order to assign grades at the end of each quarter. Kate McDermott, a middle school math teacher, explained that she really struggled trying to develop a system that she could use to accurately track the BRICK. In the past they had tried filling out rubrics on students each day, they had tried complicated spreadsheet systems but the same issues kept arising. It was difficult to remember to do, it took a long period of time to assess each student, and ultimately the systems always dissolved. This left teachers scrambling to assign a grade at the end of each quarter, often leading to grades based on recent behaviors.
In collaboration with the Breakthrough teachers and administration the research team at EduMetrics created a daily survey that addressed these problems. Each day at the end of the day (or at the end of the period for middle school students) teachers received a reminder that their survey was ready. They could access the survey on their phones, tablets, or computers making it easily accessible to teacher. They then were quickly able to go through their roster to mark each student on the BRICK, taking less than three minutes to complete for all of their classes for the day. Kate explained:
“I found this to be really easy just because our class sizes are small so it’s really not too difficult, and I know at times it’s stressful that at the end of the day on a Friday and you want to get of here, but the best part is that you can take it home and I can access if from my phone and I can do it on my own time.”
In addition to teachers assessing students on the BRICK, we used iNOTED with students in grades 6-8 to assess themselves on the BRICK each day. Every day, during the student’s advisory period students took less than five minute out of their day to go to the computer lab and answer five questions on the five traits of the BRICK rubric.
The coordinated assessment of the BRICK led to important discoveries about the character curriculum and led to important changes in the teacher’s instruction. The most important finding was that students were marking themselves consistently lower than the teachers each day. In the graph, you can see an example what this would look like in a given week. Teachers realized that there was a disconnect between the expectations of teachers and students and they immediately made curricular adjustments to address these disparities.
This is just one example of how a school has taken the information provided by iNOTED and used it to create curricular changes that positively impact their students.