Kathleen + Caren

Are on the Map

Meet Caren and Kathleen, authors of the book Rethinking Letter Grades and master educators. Their goal, to provide the best learning environments for students, motivated them to create a five-step process of teaching and assessing using “Learning Maps.” This process, creating “big ideas,” describing levels of performance, and selecting and matching evidence of learning to descriptions, clearly showed students their strengths and helped them to succeed.

Building and using learning maps is the foundation of QUIO. Creating learning maps may be a new process for you, and you may have questions along the way. We have provided FAQ here for you, but if you don’t find what you are looking for, just ask. Caren and Kathleen are here to answer your questions.

How does this five-step approach help our struggling students? So many are demotivated by letter grades.

One of the reasons we decided to rethink our approach to arriving at letter grades was
our concern for students who lose hope: our strugglers.

We find that, when we use Learning Maps along with specific samples of work, the picture of what students are expected to learn and are able to do is more concrete. As a result, our struggling students start to see where their letter grade came from. Before we used Learning Maps, some students found it hard to see that they had made any progress at all. The Learning Map can show them where they did improve in some of the learning standards in a subject, even though the overall grade may have stayed the same. For example, in mathematics, an individual might have improved in computation, but his or her problem-solving is weak because the reading of the question is often confusing. So, rather than having a student think, “I am stupid in math,” we point out on the Learning Map where he or she did improve in one aspect and where skills still need to be strengthened.

The issue is one of motivation. Some resources worth reading and talking about include
those by Carol Dweck (2007), Daniel Pink (2009 ted Talk), and Alfie Kohn (2011). The growing awareness of the connection between motivation and letter grades gives us hope that this area of motivational research will help change the whole approach to how schools report on student progress.

This entry was posted in Five-Step Approach to Assessment, Struggling Students. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
Ask a question.

We aren't around right now. Please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Questions, issues or concerns? I'd love to help you!

Click ENTER to chat