I’m about two weeks out until the first summative assessment and I’m still learning things about the IB rubrics I did not know before. The Middle Years Programme objectives really need careful consideration, and I’m finding more and more that they are loaded with skills that we don’t usually take time to teach. For instance, the individual and societies investigation objective, how often do we allow students to make their own plan of action, to formulate their own research questions or to collect and record their own information for an investigation? Not often, I’d say, and it particularly hit home as I had 19 blank looks when I said, “Ok, let think about how we will create an action plan for the maps we’re about to make that are due in two weeks time.” I knew they were going to need a lot of support in formulating a research question, but I thought I’d give them a table and let them go at planning out two weeks of work. Wrong! And wrong on so many levels, first these 7th graders had never really created a plan for school work on their own before and second the objective isn’t about me giving them a table to plan on. So, I had to leave my content for a few days and teach these kids how to plan for something and to teach them different ways to plan out an event -basically, ATL skills. The next day we planned for a birthday party to be given in two weeks time, this they were familiar with. In groups, they brainstormed all
the things they would need and I walked around the room to make sure they listed specific things not just generic stuff. Then they were asked to sequence what they would need first, second and so on. We randomly called on a few groups to present and we had great conversations about how they left room in the schedule for things that might not go well and about how much time certain things would need. We looked at the different ways we could organize events and discussed how different people use different methods to organize their plans. We talked about the realities of life and that things rarely go according to plan and that you have to adjust your plans to meet your goals sometimes. This took a couple of days, but it was well worth developing the skill so that they could apply it to their school work. They will need more practice, of course, but it is nice to know that they will see this objective again and have multiple shots at it.
I learned some things about clarifying the rubric as well. I learned that I can take the command terms, qualitative terms, terminology and phrases from the rubric and give generic definitions, but then change the generic definitions to fit my summative task. This really helped me focus in on what I had to teach in the unit.
Here is what I did for one objective strand – formulates and effectively follows a consistent action plan to investigate a research question (This is the 7-8 level descriptor)
Clarifications for self-assessment:
- Formulates: creates an original action plan
- “does not follow a plan” – You just decide on the spot what you will do next
- “occasionally follows” – You sometimes check your plans to make adjustments and you sometimes follow your plans for making your Rapid Transit System (RTS) map.
- “mostly follows” – You check your plans every couple of days and make adjustments and most of the time you follow your plans for making your RTS map.
- “effectively follows” – You check your plans every couple of days and make adjustments and you follow closely your plans for making your RTS map.
- “formulates a limited action plan” – You copied and pasted the action plan table and have done very little to it since the day you got it.
- “a partial action plan” – You have an action plan that is no particular format that is not complete from start to finish.
- “a sufficiently developed action plan” – You follow a chosen format that you mostly stick to from start to finish.
- “a consistent action plan” – You follow a chosen format that you stick to from start to finish.
The teachers are starting to write their clarifications this way and it is informing their instruction as well. One other note, the culture has started to shift around assessment in only 4 short weeks because all teachers are using the MYP rubrics for summative assessment. I think it says a lot about working as a team. If only a few of us were to have implemented the rubrics it wouldn’t have caught on as fast, I’m convinced that it is because we are all using them, that is why we are wittnessing a shift in the culture so soon.