Reflection: Student Communication Assessing Romanticism & Transcendentalism - Section 4: Application


Well, not all my students aced their unit tests.  In fact, in one class, the class average was only a 63.2% (failing in our school!).  Despite those facts, every class earned a higher average than they did for my Unit 1 test, so at least in part, I see this as a success! 

After every test, I go through my data with a fine-toothed comb trying to figure out what exactly went on with that assessment, if there are things I could be doing better, and why low grades are happening.  I was also looking at study habits for this test, as we've spent a few days preparing for the test in class and talked extensively about the importance of studying for these tests.  After I get these numbers (from both the grade book and the test reflection forms students fill out), I throw then into Excel, get average and make pretty graphs to illustrate what's going on.  Usually, I have to force myself to avoid stopping everything the test is over to build these graphs, as I'm SUCH a visual person and the satisfaction of seeing evidence so clearly is almost too great to wait for!  After I develop these graphs, I post them on my website so that parents and students (and other teachers if they're interested!) can see the same data markers I saw to explain the test scores.  

I complete this process for a number of reasons.  The first, obviously, because I enjoy data and believe it can bring a lot of clarity to my teaching practice that can make it better.  Though some of the data comes solely from student-reported information, even this is valuable!  Since I don't punish them for not studying, they have no reason to lie (or at least little reason).  I believe that most of my students do fill out these reflections with actual numbers, though I know that some of the study time is inflated.  This data is also transferred to my grade book next to each test score so that I have a record of how much students have studied for each and every test I give them.  This has helped me out in countless ways, including giving me discussion points for parent-teacher conferences, emails, IEP paperwork, and making comparisons between tests quickly!

The second reason I take the time to analyze this information is to be as transparent as possible with my classroom.  Where students or parents may easily balk at the average of 63.2 in my A1 class, they are also forced to see that their class has by far the most missing work, are in 2nd place for the most students who did not study, and have the lowest study time average.  Instead of getting an angry phonecall about the average, interested parties can see what they could be doing to improve their grades.  It also gives me talking points in my classes to express the importance of studying and turning in work on time!  Again, it's difficult to argue when the evidence is so persuasive!

The last reason I look so closely at the information is that somewhere, deep down in my soul, I always think I'll figure out a magic reason for disparities in grades.  Maybe attendance?  Classroom position?  Test anxiety?  Sleep deprivation?  I'm a research nerd at heart, so I think finding some correlation between poor test scores and behavior would help me show students how to get themselves in the OPPOSITE boat!  Though I haven't found it yet, I know I have made an impact in how kids see the value of turning in work, studying, and even attending classes (in years past when I found a really strong class-attendance connection)!  Ultimately, I'm seeing more confident, higher achieving students, so something must be going well, right?!?!

  Using Testing Data to Improve Study Habits & Student Routines
  Student Communication: Using Testing Data to Improve Study Habits & Student Routines
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Assessing Romanticism & Transcendentalism

Unit 4: Arguing with the Transcendentalists Mini-Unit
Lesson 6 of 7

Objective: SWBAT demonstrate a mastery of the content information and apply the reading skills covered so far in this unit on a multiple choice assessment which incorporates study preparation feedback.

Big Idea: The proof is in the pudding. Putting a rigorous active-study routine to the test with an assessment of Romanticism & Transcendentalism!

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