Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Assessing Coding in the Classroom

Probably the number one two question I get! “But how do I assess this?”
Right after: “This is fun, but I have a curriculum to teach…”
Here are some thoughts that I hope will help educators gain the confidence to integrate coding throughout the curriculum.

Mathematical processes
So… my first question is, are you assessing these at the present time? Would you like to? In the front matter of the Ontario math curriculum document we find a set of seven mathematical processes students need to learn and apply as they work to achieve the expectations outlined within the five strands. The need to highlight these process expectations arose from the recognition that students should be actively engaged in applying these processes throughout the math program, rather than in connection with particular strands.
The mathematical processes that support effective learning in mathematics are as follows:
• problem solving
• reasoning and proving
• reflecting
• selecting tools and computational strategies
• connecting
• representing
• communicating
It is a simple but creative process to develop a rubric for observing these processes in a class of students working on coding projects.

Curriculum expectations
Given the range of coding activities now available - Hour of Code, Scratch, robotics devices, Swift Playgrounds – it is very easy to pick any subject and see how a wide range of expectations can be met, from Art to Math to Language and more.
Looking at the primary math curriculum for example, in Math alone, we see expectations for estimation, positional language, addition and subtraction, drawing simple maps, and using a grid to show movement. Once you have taught your students how to use the menus in Scratch or Scratch Jr, you will see how effective a game can be as a learning activity or as consolidation in any subject.

Global Competencies, or Deeper Learning
Recently Steven Floyd posed the following suggestion on Twitter:


Here is a link to the provincial discussion document: 21st Century Competencies.

Board Improvement Plan
If you are with the Near North District School Board, our Multi-Year Plan highlights the value in linking to deeper learning and global competencies in the following two sections:
Achieving Excellence
“Develop and promote deeper learning competencies”
Excellence in Teaching and in the Learning Environment
“The Near North District School Board is committed to creating opportunities for students to develop the skill and knowledge to learn effectively and live productively in an increasingly global and digital world.”

Cathy Montreuil
Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Student Achievement Officer Ontario Ministry of Education
Cathy has addressed the TELT Contacts on more than one occasion, and each time she has a powerful message. In one, she summed it up as “Don’t wait for us!” Our curriculum is a large and complex series of documents that takes years to update. Teachers can feel comfortable in integrating coding as a valuable teaching tool, without this being spelled out in the documents.

2016 Ministry Statement on Coding

Ministry Resource for integrating coding


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