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A year of teaching without tests

Session 3
Steve Goldberg — Research Triangle High School, Durham, NC

In today's digital world, it makes little sense to ask students things that they could look up on Google. Instead, in my US History class (1877 to the present), I am placing a premium on students who ask thoughtful, well-informed questions. In order to ask a good question, you usually have to know what you are talking about.

What I do is read my students' learning journals on a rotating basis — I get to roughly four per day — and provide them with regular feedback via comments on the Google Docs that hold their learning journals (each student gets feedback about once a week). If someone asks a great question or conducts fascinating research (both have happened), I share what they did with the whole class.

We generally spend class time doing one of two things: discussing readings or videos they've read/watched before class, or working on projects, such as a Supreme Court simulation and a "how does the Stock Market work" project. What I love is that I don't have to read a stack of 60-100 of the same thing any more. I get to see where students have engaged with the material. And they are exploring topics I never would have thought of.

Conversational Practice

I have made a shared Google Doc that contains the basic points I'll be making before we start talking and some other resources. If you have specific questions, please feel free to ask questions or raise issues at the end of the Google Doc. The link is: http://www.bit.ly/NOTESTS

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