The Talk

We had school on Good Friday this year because of snow day accruals, which means we had a ton of students out. I wanted to give one short assessment to see what needed to happen when we returned from break. Students who were out of school had an option to complete the assessment online (totally their option. I made it clear that family trumps chemistry every time) so they didn’t need to worry about taking it when they got back from break.

I wanted some method of keeping the questions secure, so I decided to use a Google Form to keep track of access to the document.

From the class website, I posted a link they could use to get to the test.

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From there, they were taken to a Google form with the following statement:

I understand that taking the test from home is at my own convenience. By signing my name below, I affirm that I took this test without the aid of outside resources such as notes, a textbook, or the Google. My performance is accurate and reflects my current learning in chemistry.

They then had to type their name in the box and submit.

Once submitted, they were given a link to the test so they could take it.

I’m not naive. I know that they could just grab the link and pass that around. That’s not the point.

Standards-based grading helps with the conversation piece – their grade is attached to the learning they’ve done during the chapter. You know the information, or you don’t. It makes grade conversations much easier because students recognize that they haven’t proven their learning…yet. That also gives me a much more solid platform for catching misrepresentation of ability. I know what they can do, and the test scores usually match up pretty closely.

Which brings me to the second point: honestly representing what you can and can’t do goes beyond the classroom. Don’t fake resumes. Don’t fake online profiles. Be who you are, and that means being honest with what you know and don’t know. By signing the form and then taking the test, the student is entering an agreement that gives us a starting point if uncomfortable conversations need to happen.

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