Home » Biology Rocks Edition 2 » Empowering Students With New Tricks

Empowering Students With New Tricks


The old saying goes… “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” False! But I agree with the old dogs, new is rarely easy.

I say this because I am, for the first time, differentiating my assessments. It’s a process new to me and new to my students. When I explained to them how tiered assessments would work, and the fact that they could choose their desired tier of assessment (along with its associated grade), they were thrilled. Finally! They have control over their own destiny.


Cheer up old dog! We have new tricks for you.

My students are empowered for two reasons. First, they are not locked into a tier. They can move up or down at any time. If they do not master a tier, they figure out why, learn from their mistakes and then retry. If a tier is too easy – they may take a higher tier at any time. If a tier is too hard, they can move down. The choice is theirs. The work is theirs. But more importantly, the learning is theirs as well.

I’m sure I will make plenty of mistakes with this new system. But, my goal is to make better mistakes today than I did yesterday (to quote Steve Young, my tiering assessment mentor.) If you’re ready to take your assessment to the next tier, (sorry, couldn’t help it) check out the latest edition of Biology Rocks! for some guidance.

Hoping to keep this old dog in the game!



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