IntelAssessing Projects : Formative Assessment
Intermediate Phase Case Study


Learning about Frogs in a Grade 3 Classroom  
Mr. Gcaba’s Grade 3learners are about to begin a project on the life cycle of frogs. He wants his learners to understand cycles in nature and animal habitats. He also wants them to develop skills of scientific observation and collaboration, and, as always, he wants them to work toward becoming independent learners who can manage their own learning. During the project, learners research frogs and create a project sharing what they have learned.

Mr. Gcaba has a diverse group of Grade 3 learners in his class. He has five learners who are identified as having different levels of learning difficulties, one gifted learner, and two learners who are non-first language speakers.

Preparing for the Project
To prepare for this project, Mr. Gcaba first collects a variety of print materials about frogs at different reading levels. From his experience with his learners and previous assessments, he knows that Molly, a learner with moderate learning difficulties, is still reading at a kindergarten level, and that Paul, a gifted learner, can read at a fifth-grade level or higher, especially if he is interested in the topic. Therefore, Mr. Gcaba knows he needs to have books and magazines at different levels so that all of his learners can participate fully in the project. He has also bookmarked several websites at different levels of difficulty.

Mr. Gcaba expects his learners to prepare for a new project by looking over the self-direction goals they set at the beginning of the year and thinking about how they are progressing. For example, Molly, a learner with moderate learning difficulties, has had a consistent goal of remembering to have her materials ready when it is time to work. She also wants to work on elaborating her ideas more when she writes. Justin, who has mild learning disabilities, knows that he often rushes through his work and is careless. His long-term goal is to take his time and check through his work before he turns it in. Mr. Gcaba encourages Justin to discuss his work with a peer before he considers it finished, a strategy he asks all his learners to use.

Introducing the Project
When Mr. Gcaba introduces the project, he asks the learners to help him fill out a Know-Wonder-Learn (K-W-L) chart to determine the learners’ level of knowledge about frogs. During this discussion, he notes that Molly, along with several other learners, is confusing frogs from fantasy books and cartoons with real frogs. Mr. Gcaba follows the discussion with a Venn diagram showing the differences. He realizes that Carl, a struggling reader, has a deep interest in frogs and clearly knows quite a bit about them. He makes a note to recommend some books on the topic for him to read during their next silent reading time.

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