Hacking Assessment: Assessment & Grading in the Remote & On-Site Classroom Environments


January 13, 2021 @ 4:00 pm – January 27, 2021 @ 5:30 pm
Virtual via Zoom
Jan Yost, Executive Director

“What’s my grade? What’s it worth? Is there extra credit? Is this for a mark?” It’s time to shift the conversation.

In this interactive virtual workshop, learn the ways classroom teachers and administrators can adjust current practices to be a more inclusive, student-centered experience.  With reflection, self-assessment, and feedback, the conversation in the classroom can change to be one that is more than a grade on a piece of paper, but rather one that is about growth.

Session 1: Shifting the Assessment Mindset

In this session, participants will explore their beliefs and values around assessment. By reviewing current practices, participants will shift their practice to a more inclusive, student-centered experience. This part of the workshop will also address stakeholder buy-in and a basic understanding of formative assessment through project-based learning. This also includes other assessment peripheries like extra credit, late work, homework, and other compliance measures that don’t aid in assessment for learning.  We will also discuss the role of equity in shifting the grading mindset.

Session 2:  Teach Reflection and Student Self-Assessment

At the heart of learning is reflection, the metacognitive process that allows us to dig deeper into the understanding of what we know and can do, and what we continue to need practice with. Teaching students to be reflective in their practice will go a long way to helping classroom teachers be more effective in their instructional practices. In this portion, participants will learn what excellent standards-based reflection looks like and how to help students enrich their meta-cognitive practices. Educators will learn to scaffold the process and learn to embed reflection for better student learning and teacher feedback.

Grading is the most laborious part of being an educator and too often we get it wrong. If we can engage students in a meaningful way in the process, think about how much more useful our communication of learning can be. In this portion of the day, participants will learn how to bring students into the assessment process. We will talk about co-creation of rubrics and success criteria and how to get students to look more objectively at their own learning on a mastery scale.

Session 3:  Rebranding Assignments as Learning Experiences and Defending Learning with Student-Led Portfolio Conferences

Rather than just make an assignment to have a grade to put in the grade book, each learning experience should provide multiple pathways to learning where student voice and choice are highlighted in the experience of learning. Participants will take assignments they currently use and rebrand them into deeper, more memorable learning experiences that will target very specific learning outcomes.

Report cards are but a snapshot and by the time parents see them, they are usually obsolete. Portfolios is a far more productive and meaningful way for students to express their growth as learners and for schools to communicate progress. In this workshop, we will discuss the steps to building successful portfolios: collection, selection, reflection, and connection. First participants will learn to teach students what to collect and why, how to select their examples of learning, how to write reflectively about growth, and then connect the learning across contents.

About the Presenter

Starr Sackstein has been an educator since the early 2000s and is currently an educational consultant with the Core Collaborative, working with teams on assessment reform and bringing student voice to the front of all classroom learning.

In her last position, Sackstein worked as the Director of Humanities (Business, English, Library, Reading, Social Studies and World Languages) in West Hempstead, New York. Starr received national board certification in 2012 and was recognized as an outstanding educator that year by Education Update.  She is also a Certified Masters Journalism Educator through the Journalism Education Association (JEA) and served as the New York State director for JEA.  In 2016 she was named an ASCD Emerging Leader  and had the opportunity to give a TEDx Talk called A Recovering Perfectionist’s Journey to Give Up Grades.

She is the author of Teaching Mythology Exposed: Helping Teachers Create Visionary Classroom Perspective, Blogging for Educators, Teaching Students to Self-Assess: How Do I Help Students Grow as Learners?, The Power of Questioning: Opening Up the World of Student Inquiry, Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School and Hacking Homework: 10 Strategies That Inspire Learning Outside of the Classroom co-written with Connie Hamilton. Starr has published Peer Feedback in the Classroom: Empower Students to be the Experts with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Sackstein has published From Teacher to Leader: Finding Your Way as a First-Time Leader without Losing Your Mind in 2019 (DBC). In 2020, Sackstein co-authored Hacking Learning Centers in Grades 6-12: Teaching Choice and Providing Small Group Learning Opportunities in Content Rich Classes with Karen Terwilliger. Sackstein has also contributed to compilation works in 2017 and 2018: Education Write Now edited by Jeff Zoul and Joe Mazza and “What Educators Do Differently” with Routledge. Her most recent contribution is in Ungrading: Foundations, Models, Practices, Reflections which is currently in press for release with the West Virginia University Press in 2020.

She blogged on Education Week Teacher at “Work in Progress” where she discussed all aspects of being a teacher and education reform for five years ending in 2019. She has made the Bammy Awards finals for Secondary High School Educator in 2014 and for blogging in 2015.

In recent years, Sackstein has spoken internationally in Canada, Dubai and South Korea on a variety of topics from assessment reform to technology-enhanced language instruction.

Starr can be reached at mssackstein@gmail.com or via Twitter at @MsSackstein. She can also be found at MsSackstein.com.

Registration Fee: 

Entire Series: 

$100 for NHASCD/MEASCD Members; $125 for non-members

Individual Sessions:  

$50 for NHASCD/MEASCD Members; $65 for non-members

Register Here