Archive for the 'Pre-test' Category

Class increase of 12 points over last semester

I give a pre-test and a post test in my Spanish course.  From the pre-test I can measure the students incoming knowledge.  From the post-test I measure their departing knowledge.   More importantly, I analyze the results of each unit test by the various categories on the test. If many students do poorly on a certain section, I reteach it.  The next semester I start out that particular point with  the reteaching material.  I also do many formative assessments so that I can give students new strategies to do better.  This semester my students did an average of 12 points better than last semester’s students.  I have analyzed the final to see the area in which they lost the most points – writing mini-compositions and have begun to figure out ways to help them. We will do more writing in class and on our class wiki. I will focus on the verb forms to tell a story such  as what I did last weekend. I will have them write out their weekend in a chronological order and make sure that they use a different verb in each sentence. We will do mini-writings over several class periods. For the final they do not need complicated sentences; they just need simple sentences that communicate different ideas.  My goal is to increase this coming semester’s average by 10 points over last semester.

By how much will you increase your class average  this coming year?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Activating Prior Knowledge and Formative Assessment

As I work with my students to develop their writing skills, I want to know what they already know about writing. I want to activate their prior knowledge and experiences. However, there is a down side to activating prior knowledge. A science teacher friend says that his students have many more misconceptions about science, then conceptions. He is careful to find out their misconceptions about a topic at the very beginning of the unit so that he can spend time in helping them to understand that their misconception is not valid science thinking. If they continue with this misconception, they will never grasp the real conception. I find that the same thing happens in writing. Students have misconceptions about writing such as “if I write it, it has to be good”,  “A very long story at the beginning of a very short essay is a great introduction.” or “One small piece of evidence is enough to convince my reader”.

I think we have to be aware that activating prior knowledge means activating whatever the student s may  think they “know” about the topic. Such activation does not assume that all prior “knowledge” is really positive knowledge. Activating prior knowledge provides a great formative assessment tool since we can “see” the students’ previous learning.  Therefore, we can guide the student forward instead letting student being stuck in his/her misconceptions.

Do you activate and diagnose students’ prior knowledge and  figure out strategies to  help the students improve in their learning?

Self-Assessment, Teacher Assessment and Improvement

This semester I have my students in Speech class do a self-assessment (what do they think they will do well on and what do they think are their areas for improvement)  before they give a speech.  Then they give the speech and do a post-assessment (what do they think they did well on and what do they think were their areas for improvement) . After they give me their pre-post sheet, I give them my assessment.  Then I return their pre-post to them so that they can compare their statements and mine.  In the next step they pick two areas and write out specifically what they are going to do improve (Not “look up more” but “look up more by (indicating the specific action). During their next speech I look for their indicated improvement.

How do you help your students to improve?

Mystery Object, Critical Thinking, and Pretest

I’m teaching a course in critical thinking to college students. I showed them a glass case, asked them to think of five questions to determine what was inside and then to write down the questions. Next, I had them get in groups of 5-6 and read aloud their questions. Then, I asked them to think about the answers of others and their own answers. Finally, I asked them to rewrite their questions based on the questions they had heard. I was amazed at how many students did not change their questions. 20 questions became 100 questions. They handed in their original questions,their reflection and their “revised” questions. I realize that pre-assessment revealed much about their critical thinking and the skills that I have to teach them.

Planning the Next Semester – Focusing on Learning Gaps

As I’ve mentioned, I’m planning my next semester. Or rather I’m getting in a state of readiness. Once I meet with the students and administer the many short pre-assessments, I will start to understand their present position in terms of the learning standards and to know what learning gaps exist. Then I can modify my lessons and materials to better help them in their learning journey.

As this semester’s students have revealed more learning gaps, I have been writing the gaps down and have been developing activities to help the students. A major grammatical problem is the “‘s” that many students use for the noun plural such as “the boy’s are running.” I have developed other help materials for writing such as coming up with topic sentences for a thesis. I realize that most of my outside of classroom time this semester has been in identifying students’ learning gaps and developing materials/techniques to overcome those gaps as part of the feedback process. My teaching has been more focused on helping students overcome their gaps or trying to help them avoid possible learning gaps. I have learned that some of my techniques were not helpful to the students since the techniques did not help the students move forward in their learning. I felt that I have learned so much about helping students to learn.

What changes are you making to help next year’s students overcome probable learning gaps?

Pre-assessment: Open Eyes or Blinded

This semester I have given many pre-assessments to my students. Last semester, I made many mistakes in instruction because I did not know enough about my students before the beginning of the semester. I taught material that they knew and did not delve into material that they did not know. I assumed that they could read the textbook when their reading rate and comprehension which I tested once I saw a problem revealed an average class reading rate in the low 100s and a comprehension rate of 60% or lower. I thought that since they were college students they could organize their own writing.

So this semester, I have given them writing diagnostic, writing patterns past knowledge diagnostic, grammar diagnostic, vocabulary diagnostic, and reading diagnostic. I can hear the moans about wasting all the time on diagnostic. My students spend 45 minutes on the combined writing and grammatic diagnostic, three minutes on the vocabulary one, four minutes on the past writing patterns and about 15 on the reading one. So in just about one hour and ten minutes I have done six diagnostic tests that have transformed how I teach writing to the students.

What pre-assessments do you give and how do you change your instruction to better improve your students’ learning?

Writing Types Quick Diagnostic – Quick yet meaningful information

I do not want to teach my writing classes with blinders on.  I want to know the students’ entering perceptions about writing and their actual writing skills. I made up a quick online survey on  Zoomerang. The survey asks the students

To identify if they have done this type of writing
If they have done it how many times 1-6
How well they think they do it 4 (very good)-3-2-1(beginning level )

Narrative (Telling a story)
Definition (What something means)
Classification (Categories of something)
Process (How to do something)
Illustration (Explaining something)
Description (What something looks like? Mood?)
Cause and Effect (What caused something? What was the result?)
Comparison (How similar or different are two items?)
Argument/Persuasion (Convince/Persuade about something)
Research Paper

For them to identify their favorite type of writing and why
For them to identify their least favorite type of writing and why

What they do well in their writing?
What they would like help with in their writing.

As soon as they have completed the survey, I have the compiled results.  I now have meaningful information to help me plan the course.  I will change it to help them move forward in their writing.

Writing Pretest- Students Top Three Responses to Writing a Paragraph.

At the start of the semester, I asked my 40+ college students to write down what they think of when they think of writing a paragraph. Then they formed small groups and combined their answers. What do you think were the top three answers?

Scroll down to find out.

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Spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Every group came up with these three answers. These deal with the mechanics of writing, but not the content.

Only half of the groups came up with main idea.

No group listed pre-write or brainstorming. Nothing for revising . So much for the famous writing process.

The more we know about what our students think about a process, the more we can help them.

Multiple Assessments from the Same Authentic Task

A business teacher was telling me that she used one task as the pre-test for her course. She had the students word process a a business application business letter and email it to her. She checked whether they could 1) use business email procedures, 2) do attachments, 3) use the proper format for a business letter, 4) write in a business style, 5) do an application letter, and 6) write well. She scored each skill on a scale of 4 (above proficiency) to 1(does not demonstrate proficiency). The students took about 25 minutes of class time to do the task and she took about 1 hour to rate each student’s work and record the information. However, with only 1 1/2 hours of time, she knew how to change the course to best fit the needs of the students. She could modify her plans so that students would be successful. She could skip those skill areas that all students had demonstrated. She had used just one task to get a richness of information (6 different skills) about the students.

What authentic task do you have your students do that enables you to analyze how well students can demonstrate the many critical skills for your course (or unit)?

Student Learning and Our Teaching: Lucky, Losing, Learning or Leading?

LuckyLosingLeadingLearning Grid-Reeves

Reeves’ matrix helps us to examine why our students are successful or not. Do we have a high understanding of antecedents such as pre-tests and regular embedded formative assessments that help us to analyze students’ progress and to discern how to reteach information so that our students can have high results? Have we kept a digital record of what misconceptions or conceptual errors our last year’s students made in this standard? Do have a digital record of which of our teaching strategies were successful last year based on the many formative assessments we gave? Or do we teach blindly without the valuable information from pre-tests and embedded formative assessment and therefore, we have little ability to duplicate success?

Do you keep online team blogs of the results of formative assessments and build online team resources so that all of your students can replicate student success in the standards?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Examine Teacher Strategy Effectiveness for Student Standard Learning

How do you select the strategies that you will use to help your students achieve the standards? One technique is best on a quality matrix. You list several possible strategies that could be used to teach a particular key component of a standard. You then guesstimate what percentage of your students will be successful in learning the key component if you use each strategy. You look at your scores and select the strategy that has the highest possible score. You pre-test the students, teach them using that strategy, and then post-test. Next, you check your guesstimate against the reality of the post-test. You can use a spreadsheet to do the analysis. Then you can make a decision if that strategy was as effective as you had hoped. If it was not effective, you can think of modifying that strategy or using another strategy. If your colleagues teach the same key component, you can compare strategies and their effectiveness in helping students to be successful learners in a standards environment. If two of you used the same strategy and had drastically different results, you can discuss of how the strategy was implemented in each class.

Most effective teaching strategy for standard

Try out this quality matrix to help you determine which of your teaching strategies are effective in helping students achieve the standards.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Three Steps to Improving Students’ Learning: From Formative to Summative Success

Pretest Refocus Formative and High Quality Learning

Three simple steps to improving student learning.

Give them a pretest or pre-assessment based on the standard. Analyze the results using a spreadsheet or online tool.
Refocus your instruction for the upcoming lesson to focus on the components of the standard in which the students have shown the greatest weakness. Use a word process to modify the lesson and your proposed activities.

Give frequent formative assessments that inform students of their progress and allows them to improve. Provide alternate strategies so they can drive their car of learning to success instead of their crashing in misunderstanding.

Celebrate in the high achievement of your students on your standards-base summative “test”.

Share your success stories about using these three steps and technology.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Diagnostic Pre-test With Technology Before Teaching the Standard

Teach or Pretest

I’ve noticed that teachers start off a new lesson with the topic, maybe why it is important, and some motivation/hook. I have not seen, in the last few years, any teacher pre-testing students at the start of the topic. I understand the reason not to pre-test students. If we know what students do not know, then we have a responsibility to fill in the gaps. If we do not pre-test, then we do not know anything about learning gaps and we can proceed with our already-planned lesson even it does not fit the needs of the students.

If we pre-test and quickly analyze the results, we have an obligation to modify instruction. We can not simply say that the students need to do more math problems or they need to write more to do better in the standard. We have to discern how to help them travel from where they are to where we want them to be in terms of the standard.

I suggest giving a pre-test the day the students finish the previous unit. Then you have a day to analyze the results and modify your unit according to the new data you have. Some teachers who do not have a district online quiz or test program use survey sites such as Zoomerang and SurveyMonkey that allow them to give 10 question pre-test (multiple choice, True False, ratings, and open-ended) “survey” for up to 100 students. They can set up a quiz quickly. If they write the pretest in a word processor, then they can copy and paste it into the online survey taker program and they will have it for the future. However, the teacher has to copy the survey results since the results will disappear after ten days. Teachers save pretest correction time and basic analysis time when they use these sites.

Do you use another online survey program for pretests? Do you have another way to give online pretests and have them analyzed? Share your information so that we all can have new tools to help us improve our students’ learning.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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RSS Education with Technology

  • Tech Integration Teacher, What time is it? August 23, 2016
    When someone asks what time it is, that person wants to know the time, not the history of the clock, not how a clock works, and not what other types of clocks there are. Classroom teachers want to help their students improve their academic learning through technology. Sometimes they need help with technology so they go […]
    hgtuttle
  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    In my public school career I have been a classroom teacher, a technology integration specialist and a technology administrator. In my technology role, I served under the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. She had a simple mission: Improve students’ academic learning. My mission was equally simple: Improve students’ academic learning through technology […]
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  • Students React to Digital Badges: Pros, Cons and Interesting June 22, 2016
      ISTE 2016 By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D. College World Language Students’ Preferences Digital Badges – 52%        Paper Certificates – 48% World Language: Can-Do Digital Badges Digital Badges Pro- – Breaks down proficiency more – Shows all badges at once – Is more attractive – Is more appropriate since we use […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior (http://www.academia.edu/9074119/Grading_and_Whether_or_not_Grades_Accurately_Reflect_Student_Achievement). Equally important, a letter […]
    hgtuttle
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
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  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
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  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
    hgtuttle
  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]
    hgtuttle

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