Because I am a basketball coach, I really enjoy looking at statistics and data. I use them often to drive decisions in my classroom. It occurred to me a couple years ago that I shouldn't be the only one analyzing data and making decisions. Since I have begun including students in data analysis, tracking and goal writing, scores have increased and so has student buy-in. When I say things like, "We are doing this because our writing scores indicated that we aren't very good at using voice in argument writing," they understand.
Today my students are taking the standardized STAR Reading Test. My district administers this exam three times per year. The Renaissance Learning, which is the company who writes the STAR test, is working hard to create a reading test that is tied to CCSS. This is the second time the students will take the test. In August, when students took it for the first time, I had an individual conference with each student and explained their results. This time, I want students to review their results from August and make a prediction on how they will do this time. We will also review their Accelerated Reader data. Each student strives to earn 60 AR points each semester. I am hoping that students will make a connection between AR points earned and their reading grade level.
Before students test, I will hand each student the ENGLISH II SECOND SEMESTER DATA SHEET. The video Data Sheet Explanation explains why I use this form. I will give each student a copy of their August STAR results and their first semester AR points. Students will fill-in their data and make a prediction about their score for today. Once filled in, students will have a quick 30-60 second conference with me where they tell me their data and what they are predicting they will score (W.9-10.10). I ask students to conference with me because the CCSS tell us that students need to be able to communicate with diverse populations, which includes peers and adults (SL.9-10.1).
The conversation might go like this:
Student: My August IRL (Instructional Reading Level) score was 8.3. (Meaning 8th grade, 3rd month).
Teacher: Do you think that is accurate or can you do better?
Student: I feel like it's pretty accurate. I read slowly.
Teacher: Did you practice reading first semester? How many AR points did you earn?
Student: I earned 45 out of the required 60.
Teacher: Okay, based on all of that, what do you think your IRL will be today, five months after testing for the first time?
Student: My goal is 9.1. (He/She writes it in on their Data Sheet)
Teacher: Sounds good. Work hard and good luck.
I will encourage each student to set a goal that is reasonable. These conversations help students understand how important it is for them to be part of their assessment cycle.