Josh Sexton

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This session is best experienced with a lop-top computer and a Google account for hands-on practice. The use of spreadsheets can be technically demanding, but the rewards are great.

Materials for this session:

Employing a peer-scoring system in your classroom is an endeavor full of both promise and peril. The goal of this workshop is to help teachers identify the goals and pitfalls of the peer-scoring process, and then equip them with tools to overcome the difficulties so that they can successfully execute a meaningful peer-scoring experience. Ultimately teachers will be able to improve the integrity of peer- and self- generated scores, develop students' metacognition, re-engage students with content, give feedback to students in a more timely manner, and as a bonus, get their grading done with less work!

There are several issues inherent to the peer-scoring process that either diminish the value of the exercise, or make its efficacy too great of a burden. These questions identify some of those issues: How will this be a meaningful use of class time and not just busy-work for the students? How do you hold students accountable for applying sincere mental effort? How do you ensure the integrity of the student-generated scores so that they can be used for inputting grades? How do you answer the questions above without requiring super-human effort? During the workshop, teachers will discuss these questions as well as explore the concerns and experiences of the group.

Despite its pitfalls, the potential benefits of peer-scoring are profound. Peer-scoring creates an additional instance for students to re-engage with content, develops metacognitive skills, helps students become more deeply aware of the objectives and standards by which they are assessed, and exposes students to diverse samples of work that they can emulate. In John Hattie's influential meta-study of fifteen years of educational research published in his book Visible Learning, 'student self-reported grades' is identified as the most impactful influencer upon student achievement. Additionally, “Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information" is also a facet of the Science & Engineering Practices dimension in the NGSS, and peer-scoring offers a great opportunity for students to engage in this practice. An effective peer-scoring process not only provides rich feedback to students, it allows the feedback to come in a timely manner and reduces the amount of time teachers spend on monotonous grading. During the workshop teachers will be exposed to the compelling reasons for implementing a peer-scoring system.

Using a system that employs Google Forms and Sheets, teachers can take advantage of the benefits that peer-scoring offers while overcoming its inherent problems and reducing the time they spend grading student work. By turning a thoughtful rubric into a Google Form, teachers can guide students through the scoring process in a focused way. As a result, students are required to think again about content and become more aware of the expectations for their work. When students are required to score the work of multiple peers, a large set of data is generated as a Google Sheet. In this workshop, teachers will learn how to employ basic spreadsheet tools like column sorting, creating formulas and conditional formating to analyze this data. From this analysis teachers will be able to: 1) Generate a single average score or grade for each piece of student work that was scored by multiple students. 2) Identify scores that are suspicious 3) Identify student work most in need of spot-checking. 4) Hold the student-scorers accountable by grading their performances in faithfully applying the rubric guidelines.