AJEd 020 : Starr Sackstein: Hacking Assessment: Anatomy of a No-Grades Classroom

Screenshot 2016-02-21 09.13.49

In this episode of the Adam Jones Education Podcast, Tom Morgan (guest co-host) and I welcome Starr Sackstein back to the show. We talk about her recent book, Hacking Assessment, and what it takes to teach in a successful no-grades classroom.

Starr has been teaching for the last 9 years at World Journalism Preparatory School (6th-12th grade). She currently teaches AP Literature and Newspaper. She is also a coach/guide/mentor to many of her colleagues and teachers around the globe. She is the social media manager for the @ECET2natl brand.

Check out some of Starr’s other amazing books on her Amazon Author Page.

World Journalism Preparatory School STUDENT Newspaper (Online)

Some questions from the episode:

  • In addition to teaching, what are you currently work on/thinking about?
  • With all your success, are you going to continue teaching in the day-to-day school environment?
  • How many kids are you teaching in all your classes?
  • What advice do you have to teachers new to project-based learning (PBL)? Early steps to embrace the shift?
  • As you’ve shifted into PBL — content/skills/assessment change. Are these classes different than the types of classes you taught in the beginning of your career?
  • Do you receive pushback from others in your school? What do you say — how do you defend your choices?
  • Do you lay out the end-of-the-year assessment goals/objectives/outcomes with students at the start of the year?
  • How can you be sure your plan is going to stay the same throughout the year?
  • In your experience, are there a lot of new skills sets that show up that weren’t planning on and then have to assess?
  • How much do you take into account the work of the individuals students (in a group), when you are assigning individual grades?
  • In order to have a SBL classroom, what concrete things do you need to make it happen?
  • What are some of the critical things you need to add to your teaching practice to do PBL well?
  • How do you manage the incessant drive for the kids to always want to know their grades? And parents?
  • How do you manage deadlines with students in a SBL classroom?
  • Beyond blogging, what are some of the places you’ve been able to get your students’ work published?
  • What are a couple ideas for getting starting with a student-focused online newspaper?
  • What are some beginner steps that people can take to get started with PBL and/or throwing grades out of their classrooms?

Screenshot 2016-02-21 09.16.30 Guest co-host and Proctor Academy colleague, Tom Morgan

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