09 January 2015

Proficiency Portfolios: More AND Less

I know my goal for the year is to focus more on Less, but my portfolio process demands a little bit of both. And so, after hours days weeks of retooling, I am once again overhauling what portfolios look like in my Spanish classes:
  • MORE - proficiency expectations: we're gonna do North Carolina one better
  • LESS - confusing technology: switching from Google Sites to Livebinders for easy upload & sorting
  • MORE - separate pages: no confusion as to how much to include where
  • LESS - evidence per page: if I set up objectives (and maybe interpretations) on one side, Livebinders only leaves room for one upload
  • MORE - logical standards: switching Linguafolio for the less-complicated Can-dos from ACTFL (which, upon preview, last semester's students indicated are WAY easier to follow)
  • LESS - rubric: that is, instead of 4 levels for each objective, with intricate descriptors, there is only each the ACTFL Can-dos with a "Sometimes" and a "Consistently" next to it--the rest doesn't really matter.
  • MORE - progressive expectations: as the semester advances, so do the expectations, kind of like I plan to do with IPAs
I think most of the shifts are pretty self-explanatory, but the proficiency expectations and technology warrant a little further exposition.

More Proficiency
North Carolina says a Spanish I student need only reach Novice Mid level, so that has been the ultimate goal of my portfolios. However, as my good friends and colleagues Sra. Rhodes and Sra. Cottrell have pointed out to me: novices can't do much of anything.

This flies directly in the face of everything I believe about the purpose of education and its bogus segregation from the Real World. Education is not preparation for life: it is life! Our kids are alive, they are people, when they walk into kindergarten the first day, and every day they walk into our classrooms after that. Their world is the Real World, and they should not have to wait to be "grown ups" to be treated as real, to be told what they do matters.

But if novices can't do anything, and it is fallacious to treat school only as a place where students and their experiences are not Real yet, how do we serve novices authentically?

Sra. Rhodes laid it out for me on our ride back from EdCampWNC: Get them out of Novice level as quickly as possible.

So to that end, an A in Spanish II will be a consistent Novice Mid first 6 weeks, but a consistent Novice High the next 6 weeks, and a consistent Intermediate Low by semester's end. They can still get a C the next grading period if they re-do a section that they're still only on "sometimes" and need to redo.

Less Confusing Technology
I liked the flexibility of Google Sites, how it was already tied to accounts students already had, and how I could share the template. However, the unlimited "request for access" messages I had to send to see students' evidence that they hadn't shared finally got to me.

Now Livebinders is yet another account for students to keep track of, but the ability to upload/embed anything without a million access requests is just too good to pass up, since I finally figured out I could make the template and just have students straight-up copy it, rather than going through the whole process of creating, browsing, and choosing.

The only catch is the lack of physical flexibility. It would have been nice to be able to keep all of the Novice Mid Listening evidence on one page, instead of making "Listening 1" and "Listening 2," but the upload procedure doesn't allow it, and you have to pay to have another layer below subtabs. There's also no easy way to copy and paste subtabs in case students need to include more than two samples.

Still, I think it looks pretty good! Take a peek here, maybe make yourself a copy, spruce it up a bit, and give me some tips to improve still further!

1 comment:

  1. I think that you really nailed the "less, but more ... but still LESS!" aspect that you were going for by making those changes! I follow your portfolio posts pretty closely, and it's something that I'd like to add to my classes, probably starting next year. Livebinders looks like a good place to keep them, and I'll definitely let you know if I play around and find anything out. Thanks for the post!