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.

Isn’t this five-step approach very subjective?

It was Lorrie Shepard (2000) who helped our thinking when she explained how the terms objective and subjective are left over from a time in education when behavioural objectives (rather than prescribed learning standards) focussed on rote memory and recall, and the word objective was used to describe tests in which students filled in the blanks, matched, and answered multiple-choice questions.

Today our curriculum requirements include problem-solving, critical thinking, mathematical reasoning, scientific open-mindedness, and willingness to question and promote discussion (to mention just a few). These learning standards require different assessment methods to measure student performance that go beyond “objective” tests and include interviews, observations and a number of other nontesting methods that some people still connect to the term subjective.

In the five-step approach we describe in this book, we identify the complexity of learning and show how to include a variety of evidence that goes beyond numbers to arrive at letter grades that show a concrete picture of student learning. Ruth Sutton (1997) sums it up when she says, “Whether we like it or not, assessment and evaluation is still a complex process of human judgment” (10).

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