Monday, April 1, 2013

Tracking Student Progress...

I'm always looking for meaningful ways to track student progress that are simple to create and utilize in the classroom. Tracking student progress allows both teachers and students to examine increases in knowledge towards a learning goal. Teachers can use multiple informal assessments to quickly assess progress being made on a daily basis and to adjust instruction. Moreover, students are able to make connections to learning goals and their learning progress. Most importantly, however, tracking student progress helps students to take responsibility for their learning. 

During my junior internship, I was able to work with an amazing team of 3rd grade teachers that developed an efficient system to track student progress. For each student, the teacher created cards for each learning goal. The cards included the learning goal, customized scales, and a bar graph for the student to track their progress. 
Prior to, during, or after a lesson the students would track their progress. Students would fill in the date, use the scale to determine where they felt that they were in attaining their learning goal, then shade in the bar graph to the corresponding number on the scale. Students used a 3x5 index card box to store their individual tracking progress cards and separated the cards by subject area.  
Once you create the initial set of cards, the system is simple to use and effective. The teachers and students were able to visualize student progress. Also, students could re-visit learning goals throughout the year.  Some students showed that they met their learning goal on their individual bar graphs, but they were not able to demonstrate their knowledge on a formal assessment. Students and teachers can use both the bar graphs and formal assessments to reflect on the student's progress and set new learning goals. The graphs provide great data for teacher/student conferences and/or parent conferences.  

In my senior internship, I used a similar system to track student progress for a various standards units. Below is a Social Studies example. Although I love using individual bar graphs to track student progress, I've learned that we should use a variety of techniques to track students' progress both informally and formally in the classroom.

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