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Assessing Students on Trigonometry Standards

Jeanette Wardlow

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs

Portfolio Entry for Wisconsin Teacher Standards 7 and 8

EDUW 693 Instructional Design and Assessment

Instructor: Teresa Lien

April 26, 2017

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Wisconsin Teaching Standard #7: Teachers are able to plan different kinds of
lessons. The teacher organizes and plans systematic instruction based upon knowledge of subject
matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals.

Knowledge The teacher understands learning theory, subject matter, curriculum development,

and student development and knows how to use this knowledge in planning instruction to meet

curriculum goals.

Dispositions The teacher believes that plans must always be open to adjustment and revision

based on student needs and changing circumstances.

Performances As an individual and a member of a team, the teacher selects and creates

learning experiences that are appropriate for curriculum goals, relevant to learners, and based upon

principles of effective instruction (e. g. that activate students’ prior knowledge, anticipate

preconceptions, encourage exploration and problem-solving, and build new skills on those

previously acquired).
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Wisconsin Teaching Standard #8: Teachers know how to test for student
progress. The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate
and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner.

Knowledge The teacher knows how to select, construct, and use assessment strategies and

instruments appropriate to the learning outcomes being evaluated and to other diagnostic purposes.

Dispositions The teacher values ongoing assessments as essential to the instructional process and

recognizes that many different assessment strategies, accurately and systematically used, are

necessary for monitoring and promoting student learning.

Performances The teacher monitors his or her own teaching strategies and behavior in relation

to student success, modifying plans and instructional approaches accordingly.

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Self-Reflection Assessment of Content and Strategies Related to WTS 7 & 8

For Wisconsin Teaching Standards (WTS) 7 and 8, I want to focus on improving Student

Learning Objectives (SLO) in my mathematics classes. I teach Algebra 1 and Geometry at Baraboo

High School. Our students are required to take three credits of mathematics in order to graduate.

Some students are able to enter straight into Geometry when they become a freshmen so there are

advanced students as well as regularly paced students in my Geometry courses. My colleagues and

I decided that we would focus our Student Learning Objective around a new topic introduced in

this course, trigonometry.

I chose the disposition descriptor from WTS 7 to assist me during this semester. This

descriptor emphasizes the importance of allowing for an adjustment of lessons depending on what

my students need. I utilized this by choosing to be flexible with my time and extending lessons

over multiple days when needed. I also chose to forgo a traditional review day at the end of the

chapter and review as we went instead. I also utilized the disposition descriptor from WTS 8 to

help guide me. This descriptor encourages frequent assessments of student knowledge to direct

instruction. I utilized three formal assessments to check for understanding, as well as many

informal assessments like warm ups and interactive slides to gauge student understanding.

Assessment of Student Performance Related to Targeted Student Learning Objective

I teach three sections of Geometry at the high school. Within these two sections, I have a

total of 51 students: 12 are freshmen, 35 are sophomores, and 4 are juniors. We have a block

schedule, so we meet as a class every other day for 90 minutes. Geometry is aligned to the

Common Core State Standards. Our state standards require our Geometry students to “define
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trigonometric ratios and solve problems using right triangles” and also to “apply trigonometry to

general triangles.” We utilized these standards when creating the assessment for our SLO.

Students took the pre-assessment before we had discussed solving any type of equation.

Since we had not previously discussed trigonometry in this course or any other course, Artifact B

shows that all of my students scored a 0 on the pre-assessment.

Assessment Conclusion and Student Learning Objective

The self-assessment, assessment of student performance, and learning environment

assessment show that all students are starting at the same level for this topic. All students are

starting to learn this material at the same time. The essential question that directly relates to my

learning goal is: How can I utilize assessments to monitor and encourage student achievement in

the subject of trigonometry?


Instructional Insights Related to WTS and Student Learning Objective

Throughout this process my goal was to implement different assessment techniques to

improve my students’ ability to solve trigonometric problems. While implementing, I found that

these techniques were beneficial to all students in my class.

Students responded very well to the different types of immediate feedback that were given.

I recently had heard about an interactive slide presentation called PearDeck. This allows students to

anonymously answer questions on their chrome book, but still allows me to see their answers in

real time. I really enjoy using this program to allow students to explore as well as to implement

quick checks for understanding. I was able to post a few different answers to questions on the
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board and as a class, we assessed each one to find the error or prove it was correct. Students were

very engaged in lessons where I incorporated this technology.

I also incorporated whiteboards as a way to review or summarize the skills from a lesson.

This allows students to complete their work on a non-permanent surface, which increases

involvement. Students show me their whiteboard with their answer and then I can quickly let them

know if their answer is right or wrong, then students would go figure out their mistake. I was able

to circle around the room and assist students who weren’t showing me their boards. Students also

were very engaged in finding their mistake instead of just giving up.

I also started using the warm up problems to practice trig skills. I utilized review as well as

preview problems to assist in setting up the class for the lesson that day. I also used the “My

Favorite Mistake” warm up process. This allows students to anonymously give their answers to me

then, I put their work on the board. We talked about everything done correctly and then we find the

common misconception. This allowed students to work through mistakes that they had made while

also understanding the parts that were correct in the problem. The students responded well to these

warm ups and were able to refer back to them later in class.

Comparison of Student Performance Related to Targeted Student Learning Objective

I worked this semester to increase proficiency in the topic of trigonometry. Students were

considered proficient if they were able to score a 3 or higher on the assessment.

The assessment techniques that I utilized were successful for the about half of the students.

Although this was below my goal, I do believe that this showed a significant amount of gains based

on the fact that this topic was brand new for every one of my students. Artifact B shows that the

number of students at proficient or higher increased from 0 students to 26 students, about 51%. 6
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students (12%) increased their final score to a 2, which I believe is good growth. Even though they

did not receive a proficient grade, these students still made tremendous gains. 14 students (27%)

received a 0 on their final assessment. Even though these students received a 0 as a score, many of

them had increased the number of problems they were able to correctly accomplish.

Reflection of Entire Learning Process

My research plan was based on the question, “How can I utilize assessments to monitor and

encourage student achievement in the subject of trigonometry?” Throughout this process I learned

that students need consistent opportunities to show what they know and what misconceptions they

have. This allows students to become more comfortable with the process as well as allows me to

better hone in on what students’ needs are.

My Next Steps

1. I will continue to collaborate with my colleagues and evaluate how our students are

doing. We will discuss what went well, what we can improve on and seek out more

techniques to assist our students.

2. I will continue to research assessment techniques to implement in my classes.

3. I will continue to implement new assessment techniques into my courses. I will allow

each technique to be tried at least three times with similar circumstances before I decide if

any technique is positive in my class.

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Artifact A
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Artifact B