You are on page 1of 5

Assessing Student Learning

Mary Beth Lynn EPS 513 Winter 2013 Assessing Student Learning Analyzing Student Learning For this assignment, I chose to assess my seventh grade students learning on the sequence (or order) of events in literature, because it is an area that will be tested on the 2013 Spring ISAT test and also because it is a beneficial reading comprehension strategy. Additionally, sequencing is a concept that had not yet been taught this year, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to truly analyze pre and post instruction data. Understanding sequence is aligned to Illinois Learning Standard CC.K-12.R.R.3 Key Ideas and Details, which states that students should be able to analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. It is crucial that todays students not only know how to, but understand, why the order in which events occur in a story is significant. Sequencing is one of many skills that contribute to students' ability to comprehend what they read. It refers to the identification of the components of a story, such as the beginning, middle, and end, and also the ability to retell the events within a given text in the order in which they occurred. Finding meaning in a text depends on the ability to understand and place the details, or the sequence of events, within some larger context of understanding, which gives the reader a way of integrating the story's individual parts into its larger framework, and thereby understanding the author's purpose. This particular lesson began with a Do Now activity that asked students which words they looked for in texts to help them identify the order of events that occurred in the passage. To my surprise, the students had very little knowledge of time-order words such as first, next, last, afterwards, etc., (or it at least appeared that way based on the Do Now results),

Assessing Student Learning

so this told me that my instruction would have to begin with the basics. From my perspective, I believe the students knew the answer to the question, but they were not able to connect with what the question was asking to the actual words they use in context, because my seventh grade students are typically proficient at interacting with the text and using context clues to help them comprehend what they are reading. After teaching the lesson, I assessed students using a gradelevel worksheet from the Ladders to Success workbook, because it is very similar to what they will see on the ISAT test. The worksheet asked them to read a passage entitled, How Chocolate is Made, and then answer seven multiple choice questions relating to the story. Although this concept may seem fairly simple, the questions can be confusing and often difficult for struggling readers. Overall, my students did well on the worksheet especially considering this was their first time this year learning the skills. I chose to represent the data on a bar chart with the number of correct answers per question being signified by blue and the number of incorrect answers per question being signified by red. I thought it was important to visualize how many students got the questions correct, and even more importantly, compare each questions results. As the chart displays, only 15 of 27 students in my class actually completed the homework, which is a problem in-and-ofitself and one we have been struggling with all year long. Of the 15 students who completed the homework, all of them answered questions one and two correctly. Question one asked students to identity the first step in making chocolate, and although the answer to the question was stated in the text, the students had to infer what the harvesting process was in order to answer the question correctly (it was not explicitly stated). This was a huge success for my students, because inferring is not the simplest of concepts to grasp. Question two asked what the second step in the process was.

Assessing Student Learning

The text didnt explicitly say, The second step in the process is but it did say, The chocolate beans then sit for about a week and dry out in the sun. The word then served as the time-order clue for the second step, and the students successfully utilized that information to answer the question. The fact that all 15 students got questions one AND two correct made me a proud teacher! Question four was the only one that seemed to trouble the students, with six of them answering it incorrectly, and I believe it was because of the way the question was worded. It said, Mixing the beans to produce a specific flavor comes before which step in the process? Although the question included the word before, it required the readers to look at two steps in the text and then make a conclusion about the information, which ultimately proved to be challenging. In general, questions one, two, three, five, six, and seven all had a fairly high number of correct responses. As the pie chart displays, a total of 82 percent of the questions were answered correctly, in which the data displayed that student learning was above average. The data also represents the fact that my students were able to pull direct and indirect information out of the text. Using Assessment to Inform Instruction Based on the data, there are two implications that come to mind. One, students need to actually do their homework, and two, students need more practice at the sequencing skill. Although the class as a whole did very well on the questions presented, I believe they need more practice at determining the order of events in stories, especially in complex texts. In order to give them more opportunities to improve their sequencing skills, I will refer back to the objective any time I model a particular reading comprehension skill. I will also continue to provide opportunities for the students to practice during small group and/or independent work time.

Assessing Student Learning

This will allow the students to ask questions and talk through their processes with me or another classmate, which will hopefully improve their skills. As far as students actually doing their homework, I will conduct weekly one-minute meetings with individual students in order to discuss homework, grades, goals, etc., so they are fully aware of how not doing their homework impacts their overall grade and success in seventh grade. Although the lack of homework produced by many of my students can only be controlled by them individually, I feel that there are certain steps I can take to help ensure their understanding of the situation as a whole. Overall, the students who practice their skills by doing homework produce better scores on tests, which ultimately leads to getting into a better high school, as well as the opportunities presented after high school. My job as a classroom teacher is to be as transparent as possible with my students so they can make the best decision for their futures right now. Overall, the use of data to inform instruction is a very beneficial tool. It provides the classroom teacher with a much more specific form of analyzing her students learning, and even more so, where they need targeted support. It also helps to identify why a student might need assistance in a particular area, whether related to the actual teaching, the way the questions were written or worded, and/or the students lack of understanding.

Assessing Student Learning

Data Representation
15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4 Question 5 6 7

Students

correct incorrect

Correct vs. Incorrect Answers


Incorrect Answers 18%

Correct Answers 82%