Assessment, Growth mentality, Learning Maps, Self-Regulated Learning

Rethinking Learning Maps #2: First steps

In my last blog post, I wrote about my distal goal in the course I’m currently taking, which is to change my focus on learning maps from an assessment lens to a goal-setting lens. I’m looking at learning maps as a set of distal goals, and using that perspective to purposefully select and use templates for formative feedback. These will be used as the foundation of a student feedback / peer observation / self-assessment process that will align with the self-regulated learning process, and will act as supports to student success in showing learning in the Big Ideas from the learning maps expressed as distal goals.

I’ve created a list of proximal goals for myself as I go through this process, and step one was to revise my current learning map. The version of my French 8 learning map that I was using was based on a curriculum document that was posted by the BC Ministry of Education in 2016. That document was revised in 2018, and so I needed to review the curriculum and my learning map, and update my document to reflect the Ministry changes.

Here is the 2016 version of the BC Core French 8 curriculum with elaborations, which I had downloaded and saved while working on the existing version of the French 8 learning map.

And here is the 2018 version of the BC Core French 8 curriculum with elaborations. I read these two documents side by side and highlighted what had changed, writing notes to myself in the margins.

My next step was to reread the existing version of the learning map, pictured here:

This learning map had been developed from the 2016 version of the ministry curriculum, but my collaboration partner and I had also developed learning maps for other levels of Core French. Because 2016 was our second revision of our learning maps, we had already been through the process of drafting, revising, discussing and implementing. We knew from previous experience that we wanted a flow of information that was consistent from grade to grade, so that students would be able to see a natural progression of learning expectations as they went through Core French courses. To facilitate that, we used a similar structure and organization of information for each grade level, which I have represented in the template pictured below, and can be accessed in a Google doc here. We also built in wording to represent the idea that students should not remain at one consistent level throughout a course, but should demonstrate growth as they learn and integrate new information. A unique aspect of second language courses is the use of reference tools to find new vocabulary. Because we wanted learning maps to be a tool for assessment of student learning, we chose wording that showed that in order for vocabulary to be considered “learned”, it had to be more than a one-time use of a word, and students should be able to show that they can apply that learning in other contexts with a range of language competencies (speaking, listening/viewing, reading, writing).

I have now revised the 2016 learning map to reflect the updated wording of the 2018 Ministry document. The original resource my collaboration partner and I used to develop our learning maps recommended the use of A, B and C proficiency descriptions. We adapted ours to incorporate C+ and C-, as these are grades that can be assigned as final marks in BC. We assumed that if we needed to assign those grades, we should know how to describe the learning at that level, and students should have a description to guide their progress. We made sure that all proficiency descriptions were stated in terms of what students CAN do, not in terms of what they cannot do yet.

In my 2019 version, I have included proficiency descriptors beside the letter grades at the top of the learning map to reflect recent changes in the way student learning is communicated in BC. Keeping in mind the principles of self-regulated learning and inclusion, I have included an “I” or “In Progress” category to represent what learning looks like for students who are attending regularly and engaging in the learning tasks presented in class. I want to include language that is motivating to students, and it’s important to recognize that there is learning that happens at the levels below a passing grade that can be built on to achieve success. With all of that in mind, here is my revised 2019 version of the Core French 8 learning map:

The full document can be viewed as a Google Doc here. I’ve tested it on a critical audience – my 14 year old son who took French 8 last year. Based on his feedback I made some changes to my original wording, to make my word choice easier to understand from a student viewpoint. I got my husband (who is not a teacher and has never read the curriculum documents) to read the 2016 learning maps with the same goals in mind.

Now that I have this done, my next steps will be to research appropriate feedback models to use with the distal goals, create a checklist and categorize my existing assessments.

“Blueprint”by Will Scullin is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

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