Sunday, March 29, 2009

Getting it right

Another question that arose from our conversation is what happens when students place themselves lower on a continuum than what their knowledge and understanding 'really' is? It is a good idea to have a standard for your particular age level. That standard should reflect an average expected outcome.Use this benchmark for students to measure against it. They will quickly realize where they truly are on a continuum. The most important thing to be aware of and be as accurate as possible is the student's initial 'place' on a continuum. If this truly reflects their ability then the student and teacher can work from this point. However, if the student has made an error in judgment then the student could be receiving too much or too little support for them to move along the continuum in a way that does not allow conceptual understanding. These new acquired strategies and skills are necessary to move forward as learners as these build and establish how to learn and not what to learn. The teacher and student need to have conversations about the choices students make when using a continuum. Model, share and find a balance between being sensitive about being honest with themselves and also being constructive to ensure growth and improvement will occur.


  1. I may be misunderstanding, but the initial placement of a student on a continuum wouldn't only come from the student. It would stem from conversations, observations, conferences and other teacher strategies to get to know the student. I would definitely share my reasoning and ask for input from the student, but that first placement would be mine.

  2. You're right, Josianne. However, Chad, So Hang and I were talking about using very basic continuums as a measure of where kids believe they stand in particular subjects. So Hang had found that her students placed themselves surprisingly low and seemed overly modest!!! We talked about this and agreed that the students needed very clear criteria and assessment in order to position themselves (or be positioned by a teacher) accurately.