OCT OEEO

PS_December_2016

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T E C H C L A S S 45 December 2016 | Professionally Speaking FIRING UP ASSESSMENTS A high school science teacher uses a colourful online tool to see where students need support. BY STEFAN DUBOWSKI YOU CAN DO IT TOO! WHAT YOU'LL NEED: • An Edusight account, free for individual teachers (edusight.com) STEPS TO TAKE: 1) Upload your class list to Edusight to create individual student portfolios. 2) Enter notes and grades for each student throughout the year. 3) Use the analysis window to view individual student progress. 4) View graphs, comments and marks to see where students may need help. Edward Hitchcock, OCT, evaluates student performance using web-based software. THE CHALLENGE: Scrutinize students' specific skills to understand who could use the most help and in what areas. THE SOLUTION: Use Edusight, web- based software that generates a "heat map" of student performance. See where students struggle and consider potential solutions. LESSONS LEARNED: Edward Hitchcock, OCT, wanted a better way to evaluate the performance of his Grade 9, 10 and 11 science students. The grade- book software that he and other teachers used at Bayview Glen School in Toronto was fine for organizing marks — but it didn't let the educators drill down into the grades to see where students may be struggling, or the best way to help students overcome those challenges. So Hitchcock signed up to use Edusight, an Ontario-made web service in which teachers can collect marks, notes and comments — and then trans- form that data into practical guidance. The software automatically creates graphs that illustrate how students are doing — not just test and assignment scores, but information broken down into categories such as knowledge, inquiry, communication and application. The program displays assessments in col- ours from green to red, providing what Edusight calls a "heat map" to identify students who need special attention. Hitchcock says there's a growing trend toward standards-based grading, which focuses less on test results and more on students' skills and abilities. Edusight supports this evaluation process. If you wish to set up your classroom using standards-based learning, you can either use Ministry of Education expectations or upload a custom list of standards. "There's also a mobile app for record- ing observations in text, image or video, which should be useful for recording evidence of POC — product, observation and conversation," Hitchcock says. OBSERVATIONS: Students don't always know how to interpret marks. "They struggle to know why they struggle," Hitchcock explains. Edusight helps make the education process less frustrating for his students by showing them precisely where they may need help. Hitchcock still has to use the school's standardized gradebook software to upload information, which takes time. To waste less of it, he enters grades into the standard school software first and then transcribes the marks into Edusight for trend analysis. Teachers can share individual student portfolios with students and parents to keep everyone informed. Some students initially find the detailed Edusight evaluations "a little disorienting … because they're used to just getting marks," Hitchcock says. "And parents are used to that, too. But typically when I show them what an Edusight gradebook looks like and I can show what we've learned, the skills we've addressed and how the student is progressing, they see the benefit." PS HELPFUL HINT: Edward Hitchcock, OCT, says before using any web service to store student information, check the service's privacy policy. Edusight says it never shares data with third parties and that you're in control of the information you upload to its servers. PHOTO: MATTHEW LITEPLO The College's professional advisory Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media (oct-oeeo.ca/wztn58) guides members' professional judgment in the use of technology.

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