Above is a video by Shaw TV that shows a school in West Kelowna that uses FreshGrade. FreshGrade can be used by any grade of students, but this clip highlights how it can be used by intermediate students as more than an online report card, but as a way for students to get involved in their own learning.
FreshGrade is great for all ages, but in primary classes, it is primarily the responsibility of the teacher to choose what should be documented, upload it, and reflect on it or explain it as necessary. This can be a lot of work for the teacher, especially if paper report cards are also required. Even still, I believe it is a valuable tool to provide timely feedback to students and update parents, but it is definitely a different experience for primary teachers than it is for intermediate. With the older students, teachers can place some of the responsibility on the students themselves to document their own learning and explain what they are doing in class. They also have the opportunity to reflect on their own work, including how they feel about it and what they learned, including a self-assessment of how they think they did with any particular project or assignment. I believe this adds another exciting layer to the benefits of using FreshGrade.
Last semester, I was able to take an inspiring course on assessment and reporting. One of the most interesting aspects of assessment that I learned about, is that having students self-asses actually helps them learn more effectively. This is explained well by Kathleen Gregory, Caren Cameron, and Anne Davies in their book Knowing What Counts: Self-Assessment and Goal Setting when they say:
When students assess themselves they develop insights into their own learning. Rather than relying on feedback from one person — the teacher — and asking “Is this right?” “Is this enough?” “Am I doing it right?” “Is this what you want?” students begin to monitor their own learning and consider what part of the assignment meets the criteria and what needs more attention.
When students are involved in their own self-assessment, they provide themselves with regular and immediate descriptive feedback to guide their learning. They become more actively involved in a curriculum that otherwise can seem unrelated to their lives and personal experiences.
Gregory, Kathleen, et al. Self-Assessment and Goal Setting. 2nd ed., Hawker Brownlow Education, 2012.
Self-assessment can be done for any grade and in many different ways, but I believe this video really underscores how FreshGrade can be used as a very effective self-assessment tool, especially for older grades. Often, FreshGrade is viewed as an ongoing report card, but this shows that it is more than just that, as it is also a tool for learning.