Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mary Baradaran Summative Assessment Project

                           Using Google Forms and Scripts for Writing Assessment

This assignment occurred at a perfect time for me.  My students were just finishing an argument piece of writing and I was preparing to assess it.  Even more fortuitously, the first night of class we read "The Five Musts for Mastery" Article and I was assigned to read the part about "timely and specific feedback" which included Form Emailer.  The Google Form collects scores and comments and populates a spreadsheet with that information and the script sends an email to students with those scores and comments.  
First, I created a Google Form with the rubric on it.  This involved transferring my paper copy rubric to Forms.This involved modifying the rubric in minor ways to fit the Form.  I've worked with Forms before, but I had to acquaint myself with the grid feature.  I used the Six Traits language of Emerging, Refining, Strong and Exceptional.  I thought this language was affirmative of a student’s efforts, but not discouraging. Then I played with the numbers to see what various scores would get. Turns out if a student was all emerging, entirely possible, they’d fail. That wasn't okay, so on the suggestion of a colleague I started with a 2.5, 3, 3.5, and 4. That worked and I found it was an accurate reflection of student writing.
Whenever I do something new with technology, there will no doubt be drama as part of my learning process. I've not worked with spreadsheets before so I had to learn how to have the scores sum. After much trial and error and for a yet unknown reason, I couldn't get scores to sum. In the end, I had to manually add them. Annoying, but I made it work. After consulting colleagues, I thought maybe the spreadsheet not summing had to do with the form so I made a new form without the descriptors in the grid-I thought maybe that messed up the spreadsheet initially.  The new form did sum, however I noticed some of the scores seemed low, so I added them up...several times to be sure and yes, those sums were off as well. No idea why. I continued on and just manually added the scores. Then, I consulted Caitlin’s how to video and emailed scores to students. Caitlin Tucker's Form Emailer How To I went through the installation bit by bit and emailed students their scores and comments on their paragraphs. I included myself on the email to make sure students got theirs and to see what it looked like. First, I emailed one student to make sure it worked and then it's super easy to do them all at once. You enter the number of the line you want to email and add a * to indicate you want the lines following that number to be emailed too. For example: 2* would email from line 2 to the last entry.
Standards addressed: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
a. Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.
b. Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and
demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
This is authentic assessment because students had to perform a task they will have to do many times in the “real world” present their ideas and defend them with credible evidence in order to persuade another’s way of thinking. They have to show they have proficiency with organization of ideas, evidence of examples that are research based, the use of transition words to indicate relationships, as well as the use of conventions to make it easy for their reader to understand their thinking.
My reflection
Since my goal this year was to be as paperless as I could, using Google Forms and scripts was a natural. I like it for many reasons. First, I have a record of scores and comments and more importantly so do the students. It will be easy to see patterns in a student's areas to improve and their strengths. Especially helpful for parent-teacher conferences. There is more than one tool that could accomplish the same thing, but I’m glad I started with this one since it really wasn't too difficult, just a learning curve which was initially time consuming. There are other applications beyond evaluation that Form Emailer could be used for; basically anytime I can collect information in a Form and need to Email it out; this script would be great.

In the end it was terrific and I’ll use it again, but I need to figure out the spreadsheet summing.

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