It’s official: I submitted the new plan for feedback and grading.
Since V0.1, I have gone through about 7 more versions, experimenting with a dizzying array of variables. My final result is pretty different from my original thoughts, but I think I’ve struck a balance I’m happy with.
I chose a “topic-oriented” scheme ripped off in large part from Always Formative, because it clarifies which skills go together. I also used his scoring system: you can’t get a 3 until you’ve completed all the level 2 stuff (although I switched to a 5-point system, for reasons that have not changed since this post). I like this setup because it suggests an order in which to tackle things. At the same time, it doesn’t prevent you from attempting harder problems, or recognizing that you’ve already done harder problems. So, it has scaffolding and flexibility at the same time.
Here’s what the tracking sheet looks like for the topic called AC measurement (a first-year course). Note that the students get the first two pages; the third page is a bank of level-5 questions that I may use if students ask for them.
Skills Are a Yes-Or-No Question
I also like the “yes or no” approach to the skills. Each skill is not graded on a rubric; you’ve either demonstrated the skill or you have not. I think this will grades feel less like a “moving target” to the students, cutting down on time-wasters like “I got that question mostly right so I should get 4/5 instead of 3/5.” Now, that question is a skill. You either demonstrated that you have the skill, in which case you get a YES; or you did not, in which case you try again.
Finally, I chose this system because it is similar to the frankly excellent system that was set up by my predecessor. When I started a year ago, the students were already working at their own pace, each on their own project, demonstrating when they were ready, and re-demonstrating if they weren’t satisfied with the first time… but only in the shop. I’m looking forward to extending those benefits to our classroom time.