Collaboration With Accountability: Pooled Responses, Individual Assessments

poolThis post was originally featured on Thought Partners, a blog for educators, hosted by the excellent classroom behavior management app, Class Dojo.


Here’s the conundrum:

You’ve composed a prompt for an assessment. It has many possible answers – and many ways to succeed.

That’s good!

But some students, sitting at home, alone, will have trouble formulating a quality response.

Take this quick quiz to see if you should use Pooled Responses, Individual Assessments: 

1. Do you encourage team-work?

2. Do you feel that the best ideas are piggybacked on other good ideas?

3. Can you use a computer?


pool3

If you answered YES to all three, then you should use Pooled Responses, Individual Assessments. Here’s how:

1. Present the prompt in class.

Be sure the prompt is complex, has many possible solutions, and is relevant to the Essential Questions / Enduring Understandings of the unit.

2. Have students individually write 3-4 answers / solutions to the prompt.

3. Students partner up and together, they choose from their (now) 6-8 responses their agreed-upon top-three.

4. Students write these 3 solutions / responses in a grid in a Google Doc, accessible to the class.

5.  At home, students will be able to review a dozen or more solutions. Rather than create ex-nihilo, they can modify and build a complete response based on the best of the best.

In other words, they have pooled the resources of thoughtful solutions, but it will be up to each individual to identify and analyze the best responses.

Caveats:

1. Students must quote the ideas’ authors by name (and are permitted a note card if the assessment involves an in-class essay).

2. Students may quote the idea verbatim, but must put it in quotes.

3. Students will still have to 1) explain the idea in his/her own words, 2) justify the idea with proof texts and additional support.

4. You could even require students to pull at least one idea from his/her own partner session, and decide whether to support or critique a classmates.

Ultimately, Pooled Resources / Individual Assessments sends the message that while each student is responsible for his/her own work, progress and learning takes place as a result of the collaborative efforts of many people.

Hmmm. Sounds like real life…


For part 2 on Pooled Resources / Individual Accountability, click here.

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