Happy Friday Junior, friends! Not only are we coming off of two snow days, my daughters are also recovering from pneumonia (they’ve been just pitiful!), which means my students’ learning routine has been quite disrupted over the last week and a half! Today, my students took a quiz over the Legislative Branch (this unit is ginormous, so we split it in half) and completed their post-assessment for the learning targets we covered. Do you ever have one of those moments when you look at student data and say, “oh wowzers! I missed something there!” Well, that happened to me today and I’m owning it! Here’s how I’m learning from student learning!
At the beginning of this school year, I decided to commit myself to using pre and post-assessments for every unit, and right after Christmas my students charted their pre and post-assessment data, as well as their learning goals for the unit. It’s been going REALLY well!
The pre and post-assessment that I give my students is brief, and includes roughly 2 questions per learning target. They complete the form before they begin their unit hyperdoc, chart their assessment data and their goals that we can reference throughout the unit. After we complete the unit assessment, they retake the unit pre-test (this time as the post-test) and then chart their progress. As a teacher, the feeling I get when I watch a student’s face light up with pride because they’ve made considerable progress in learning through the unit is absolutely indescribable! Watching students who start off the unit selecting “I don’t know, yet” on all of the questions move to getting more than half of the questions correct on the post-assessment makes my teacher heart burst with happiness! (Of course, I love seeing ALL of my students have success!)
Today, as I was walking around the room, checking student progress on their learning chart, I noticed that many of them made no progress between pre and post-assessment on learning target 4, which dealt specifically with checks and balances between legislative and executive branches. I saw this on a small percentage of students in my first section of Government, then a few more in the second section, and even more in the last section. I read the learning target and read the question. I thought we had emphasized that concept throughout the unit, but apparently we did not!
As students completed their post-assessment and learning charts, I brought up the low scores on that specific target. I said, “since our scores are low on that learning target, that means I didn’t focus on that concept enough! Guess what we’re hitting before we move on?” My students’ response? “Checks and balances!”
It’s so important that we not only gather student learning data but also use it as a part of the process of reflecting on our teaching. I can look at the data from the last learning target and say, “oh man, I’m a crummy teacher, poor me,” or, I can say, “whew! I’m glad I have that data so I can design more learning experiences to make sure my students learn that concept!” Fortunately for my students (and me!) I’m taking the latter path and using that assessment data to drive my instruction.