ST1.5: Students demonstrate their learning through performance-based assessments and express their conclusions through elaborated explanations of their thinking. (add pictures)
Self Assessment Rating 3
At Bates Middle School, our students have multiple ways to demonstrate learning through performance based assessments. Students often present their work through videos, web pages, slideshows, brochures, and engineering design projects. We are a Google for Education school and all of our students utilize the Google G Suite. We are 1 to 1 Chromebooks.
In all courses at BMS, students are given the opportunity for voice and choice in the creation and display of their work. In addition, students participate in a number of hands-on projects, keep interactive notebooks in many classes, and often reflect on their own work. Student groups often create and publish websites or other products to share their work and thinking. Students in our Medical Detectives Project Lead the Way Class utilized our Innovation Room to create a green screen video about food poisoning. Our Student Forum also utilized the Innovation Room to film their Kindness PBL video. These videos are also published on our school YouTube channel and social media accounts. Students in our Introduction to Health Profession class also published their work online through Powtoon videos (video 1, video 2).
Students also present their work and thinking to experts to receive feedback. Students in our dog character class presented their Dog Character Traits Project to our community partner, veterinarian Dr. Blackwell. Dr. Blackwell provided feedback on their presentations.
During the 2017 -2018 school year, all of our 8th grade students participated in the Cubes in Space program through designing and proposing experiments to launch into space or a near-space environment on a NASA sounding rocket and zero-pressure scientific balloon. Their experiment ideas were sent to the Cubes in Space program for a panel review. We had one experiment picked by the panel to launch on the sounding rocket and one picked by the panel to launch in the zero-pressure scientific balloon. This accomplishment was shared in an article by The Sumter Item.
During the 2017-2018 school year, a Bates Middle School student was selected to participate in the TransformSC Project Based Learning Institute Student Panel. On this panel, the student discussed her learning through STEM and PBL, and how it has affected the students at Bates Middle School in a positive manner. Student panels have are also utilized at our school when we have outside visitors such as the TransformSC Bus Tour and a visit from St. Matthews K8 school to view our STEM program. The students answer questions from the audience and defend, elaborate on, and clarify their thinking and conclusions.
Bates Middle School holds a monthly Building Bridges: Inter-generational Program in which students and members of older generations complete hands-on literacy and STEM activities while exploring social/emotional issues. Students and community members share, defend, elaborate on, and clarify their thinking and conclusions on the topics being explored.
Bates Middle School students participate in national and state competitions. All math students at BMS participated in the National MathCon photo contest in 2018. Bates had two top 25 winners with one earning 4th place overall. In the 2018-2019 school year, all math students also participated in the online MathCon competition. In November 2019, a team of students will compete in the South Carolina MathFest. This event requires students to use their speed and accuracy to solve math problems. The Science Olympiad and the Quiz Bowl student clubs compete in competitions locally and statewide. The school holds an annual GeoBee in which all students testing initially and top placements compete in the event. Winners go on to compete at the local and state levels. The public is invited to attend. Our Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) compete annually in the state competition completing performance tasks such as public speaking, Google Basics, and personal budgeting. STEM learning is also evident in our Fine Arts classes, where students regularly demonstrate proficiency via performance benchmarks, ending in a final display of their thinking and learning as they participate in exhibitions, performances, and competitions. In the yearly National PTA Reflections Contest, students create original works of art in response to a theme. Students submit their completed works of art in one or all of the available arts categories: Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography, Visual Arts. We have had a top placement for the last two years at the local level.
Each year, we hold a PBL and Excellence Fair in which student work is not only displayed, but students present and defend their conclusions to stakeholders. Students also complete reflections after each PBL unit of study.
To maintain our strengths, we continue to develop partnerships with experts in STEM careers and local colleges to give students panels of experts to present their work and thinking. We also have formed committees to ensure the continuation of public/family events and competitions in which students present and defend their thinking. One way we could improve in this area would be to increase our use of portfolios, including digital portfolios, to encourage students to reflect on their learning in more depth. We also see the need to help students provide each other with meaningful feedback and are in the process of creating student prompts to assist in this.