In chapter 4 of your textbook, you should have engaged in what we know about learning. One of the most powerful ways to demonstrate your knowledge of these concepts is to apply them in a real life setting. Please read the case study below and answer the questions in this forum.
Anna Martin is a young teacher, in her second year of teaching and first year in a second grade class. She has had great success working with students and she makes great connections with her students.
On Monday, Anna found her district benchmark scores in her mailbox. These district benchmark tests are given three times a year, and they measure student growth on a series of standards based areas. The benchmark assessments include a math test, a special math problem solving assessment, a long reading exam, and a writing prompt. In her report she found a set of charts with all the students’ scores in columns across the page. The writing scores, however, weren’t on the chart because the teachers will be scoring those at the next staff meeting.
The charts are an array of colors; with red scores indicating students who are below target, green for those who have made the district target, and blue for those students who are working above grade level. Unfortunately, this time there is much more red and it seems like the students didn’t make “district growth.”
- What is the value of this assessment and what purpose does it serve?
- Who is this feedback for?
Anna decided to take the benchmark scores home and look for signs of hope. The district gave her an Excel file and her first step was to sort the students from highest score to lowest.
“What will sorting do for me?” she asked. She already had the students organized in reading and math groups by their academic levels. But she remembered how huge the chart seemed. She feels a bit overwhelmed and wondered if there was better way to organize this list.
- Taking one academic area, how might Anna organize the data?
- What is the final result that this teacher might be trying to achieve?
Anna decided to focus on one area, the reading test. First, she sorted the students by overall reading score. By doing so, she saw some persistent problems: Vocabulary and Word Analysis, or for another group of students, problems in Reading Comprehension, and for some students they showed problems in both areas.
For the past two months, Anna has followed the district adopted text book and put students in small reading groups based on reading level. The groups had worked through the intervention materials. The textbooks seemed to only ask the students comprehension questions that asked the students to answer questions about what happened.
Anna looks at the Excel file and realized that the district test didn’t tell her anything except which student was low, which was high, or who was in-between. She wondered how she could get more information about how her students were trying to comprehend this material.
- What might be some of the underlying problems that have caused her results?
- What further data might help Anna and what might be missing in her approach and how could she get it?
- What else could Ann be doing to find out what she should be teaching her students?
Anna decided she needed to get the students more directly involved. She wondered if she was using the teacher’s edition too much and thought about how she was responding when students made mistakes. She had posted the reading strategies on a wall she pointed to them when they made a mistake, and told them to focus on the skills. She told them a lot what they were doing right and what they were doing wrong.
She thought about what else in the past month she could have done to see these patterns emerging. Lastly, before heading for the solace of a frozen yogurt, she wondered what her students would think, if anything, if she asked them about these results.
- What coaching questions come to mind if you were helping Anna?
- If Anna speaks with her students, what might she want to know from them?
- What kind of evidence might she gather before the next district benchmark?
- What would be the most important information she could get from her teammates at tomorrow’s meeting?
- Do you have any other thoughts on Anna’s assessments?