Types of SBG – using Marzano’s Format

Before I post any examples of my work on this site, I think it’s important to point out that I am using a format similar to Robert Marzano’s example in his book, “Classroom Assessment & Grading that Work”. After reading the book, I really bought into the idea of using rubrics (as opposed to points) to assess topics. He suggests setting up assessments with varying difficulty (or depths of knowledge). Section 1 is typically recall/simple concepts taught in class. Section 2 is the more complex concepts taught in class. And section 3 should be novel problems, typically requiring application of what was taught. Or as my friend Grant Wiggins has asked, what do you ultimately want the student to do with the content?

This type of assessment has its advantages and disadvantages. The best part is that I can fairly easily use a rubric to determine a score. If the assessment is structured correctly, a student won’t be able to do section 3 if he/she can’t do section 2. Or he/she can’t do section 2 if he/she can’t do section 1.

The disadvantage is that sometimes students do well on the more difficult material, and make mistakes on the easier material. Translating this into a score gets tricky. Marzano suggests that oddities should be resolved by interviewing students, which I think is a great idea, but is not always realistic. Another part of the problem is that I am just figuring out how to structure these assessments. They are not perfect and require constructive criticism. That is why I love the idea of using this site to get feedback from others.

In the future I will be posting study guides that I use to prepare students for an assessment. These study guides are similar to quizzes that I give in class. I won’t be posting any actual quizzes since I know how sophisticated some of my own students are. Any quiz I post would be found, duplicated, and shared the morning of the quiz.

Nathan Kraft


About nathankraft
I like to dance.

2 Responses to Types of SBG – using Marzano’s Format

  1. absolutevalueofteaching says:

    I also started using SBG last year based on the ideas of Robert Marzano. I was doing what you are doing now, writing assessments with three tiers for each learning target. I had a couple of problems with the system:

    – For one, I found it difficult to create some tier 3 questions for some learning targets. This just
    may have been my inability to be creative, but some things (I’m thinking you scientific
    notation) just befuddled me.

    – I too had students who would do well on tier 2 and tier 3 problems, but completely blow the
    first tier. I swear they purposefully tried to forget the vocab. and basic recall facts from class. I
    often just found myself overlooking the poor performance on tier 1 questions if the student
    displayed an ability on the upper tier questions.

    I do think the idea of having a rubric to help assess a student’s level of understanding for a learning target really helps. The way I’m seeing it, we take this rubric idea to the 8 CCSSM math practices, worry less about being all content-crazy and make their assessments simpler, and create some kick-ass problem solvers. All aboard the crazy train!

  2. donakimberly says:

    This is very interesting! I’ve had a few students in the past who blew me out of the water with this. At first it made no sense that they couldn’t perform on “tier 1” exercises, but were crazy successful on the “tier 2” and “tier 3” exercises. I think we need to step back and ask ourselves, what is more important, that they can communicate using proper sentence structure, agreement, conjugation, etc? or that they conjugate all 6 forms of a verb? Personally, if they were able to hold a conversation, I was way more excited about that than if they could write all the conjugated forms on a piece of paper. This is the standard we are trying to achieve – high level proficiency! 🙂 I think 3 trumps a 1 any day.

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