Archive for the 'Success' Category

Problems with Institutional Assessment

Assessment dominates education from K-12 through college.   There are different types of assessment, formative (helps students improve) and summative (grading of students).  However, institutional assessment  involves the bigger picture of how an institution or a department is doing academically.

In institutional assessment, teachers enter data into a  mega-database. For example, teachers may enter their students’ grades  on each section of the final. Then someone, often a department head,  analyzes the overall results using the online data, to assess the student learning across specific courses and across the department.

Institutional assessment has some basic flows
1) Most institutions have not identified a specific  enough curriculum that can be assessed.  Many contain very general statements of learning.  For example, English might state that  students will write a well-written essay. Has the English department specified what constitutes a well-written essay?  Likewise, a Modern language department may have the curriculum statement  “The student should speak in sentences that have relatively simple structures and concrete vocabulary”.  What does “speak” mean?  Does it mean to be able to talk about one’s life, to hold a conversation. to repeat from memory?  When there are only general  learning statements, there cannot be any  meaningful assessment.

2) If departments have identified specific learning goals, what is the priority of those learning goals? For example, in English the purpose of writing is to communicate ideas or feelings.  Shouldn’t the organization of ideas be more important than the spelling?  Or does spelling/grammar have the same assessment weight as organization?  Likewise,  in  Modern Languages, are all skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) treated equally in assessment weighting even though both in class and in the real world, people listen and speak almost double the amount that they read and write?  Have the specific learning goals and their priority been communicated to the teachers/students through a department website/wiki?

3) The departments do not have exemplars that show the quality that they expect of students.  Does the English department share  electronically with all English teachers essays that show what constitutes a high level paper,  an acceptable paper, and a non-acceptable paper?  Again, are these exemplars on the department website for each course?  Does the Modern Language department share audio files of  a good ten sentence conversation through their website or an their department app?

4) They have vague assessment tools.  The English department has a generic rubric (has good organization,  conveys ideas, etc.) that can be interpreted differently by different people.   What type of essay will be the written? An autobiographical essay requires a very different approach than a contrast essay.  In Modern Languages, how will writing be assessed – holistically or analytically?  If different educators can come up with different scores for the same student, then the assessment tool does not accurately measure learning.  Teachers can receive a digital image of the rubric and work assessed using that rubric.   How well does the assessment tool match up with how the information was taught in class?  Is the assessment tool such as the final developed  at the  competency level or at the highly competent level?  Students may be competent but not highly competent

5) The departments do not do a thorough analysis to get at the root problem once they have discovered a gap.   If the students do not achieve well, was it due to the  students’ lack of effort, a misunderstanding of  how to answer the  assessment question, a specific word in the  assessment question,   the thinking level of the test question,    the structure of the assessment item,  the textbook, the textbook’s powerpoints,  the teacher’s explanation, the homework, or  the online work?  Usually much additional exploration is needed to determine the real reason for the gap. Once the  department identifies the gap, what  specific strategy will help the students over come this gap?  Will the department suggest  technology-based strategies that appeal to students such as Youtube videos, interactive websites,  interactive apps  and that help the students directly overcome the gap?

6) Most important of all, how does the institutional assessment help  students improve in the course right now?  Most institutions assess once a semester.  After the analysis, the department  focuses on  what changes will happen in the future year.  Unless regular assessment is done in small intervals  throughout the year and changes made almost instantly, then the assessment does not benefit  the present students.  Next year’s students may be very different than the students who took this assessment.  Classroom teachers need access to the online data and analysis so they can take class time to provide  the students new learning strategies.  Then, students can be successful learners!

How does your institution assess  student learning?

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Administrators Learn From Others Through Google Forms

Superintendents and other central office people often need to find out information, collect real time data, opinions or interests of others.  Likewise, a building principal might want to survey the views of his/her staff. He/She may be looking for alternative ways of solving a possible school problem.  When  administrators receive suggestions, opinions, etc from others and have up-to-the-minute data, they can make wiser decisions. An easy way to quickly get information from others is through Google Forms.

One just needs a Google email and then they can create a Google Form.

Go to Documents on the Google menu bar.

Click on New

Click on Form.

Type in  the title  of the form such as Hall Problem.

Add in any directions.

Select from several type of questions. Can use as many different types, each in a different question.  Those questions that allow for a specific answer (multiple choice  Checkboxes, Choose from a lists, scale, and grid) can  automatically analyze the number of responses for each choice. If you include numerical or very short answers, people can answer these from their Smartphone.
Text – short phrases or a short sentence
Paragraph – longer answers such as multiple sentences
Multiple Choice (select one of the answers)
Checkboxes (select one or more of the answers)
Choose from a list
Scale Rate something on a scale of 1-5 or 1-1o
Grid Rate a series of items on a scale of 1-5

Remember to click on “Makes  this a required question” if the survey takers have to answer the question.

Move any question up and down by clicking on it, holding down on it, and moving it up or down.

Click on Save.

Go to Forms, Edit and copy the url (http://..). at the bottom of the page.  Email that url to the people you want to take the survey or  take that long URL and shorten it using bit.ly so that people can type  it directly in their Smartphone or tablet.  Be specific about when the closing date is for taking the survey.

To see the results, go to Forms – Show Summary of responses.  The numerical answers will be a graph form. The text answers for any question will be grouped together.

For those  administrators that want real time  data at a meeting,  get the URL of the form, shorten it using bit.ly, and display that shortened URL at a meeting so the people can take the form right then on their Smartphones or tablets.  Show them the results instantly.

Are you ready to learn from others? Are you ready to make better decisions based on real-time information from others.

I have Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Healing Learning injuries: The Immediacy of Formative Feedback

If a student has hurt herself and is bleeding, we do not say, “Wait a few days and we will take care of your bleeding.” We help stop the bleeding immediately.  However, when a student bleeds academically by showing a serious learning gap, we often delay the necessary treatment.

When a student displays a learning gap such as  not being able to write a topic sentence in a composition, we  immediately apply the treatment of providing the student with different new strategies.  We do not simply re-give the student the  original strategy that was unsuccessful for the student.  We have a list of different strategies on the class website, blog, wiki, a handout, or a QR code.  We write these strategies in student-talk and provide examples.  For example, a topic sentence has a topic, like “the school baseball team”, and a strong position or viewpoint  about the team such as “will win this Friday”.  The complete topic sentence becomes “The school baseball team will win this Friday.”
We provide a  variety of differentiated ways for the students to learn the missing concept of a topic sentence such as  a written explanation.   We can ask students to put a box around the topic and put an arrow ( → ) over the position. Also, we can offer the student  a variety of other ways of learning this concept such as    Youtubemovie, a podcast, and  a visual.  The student selects which formative feedback she feels will help her the most. Then, she practices that new strategy so that she improves.

Through the  immediacy of formative assessment, we heal the student  in their learning.  The student does not become injured for the rest of her learning.

Tuttle’s formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Formative Assessment and Technology Tech Forum NY 2011 Presentation

Dr. Harry Grover Tuttle
htuttlebs@gmail.com

Formative Assessment:The process of helping students move immediately forward from their presented diagnosed learning to the desired learning goal.

Formative Assessment Process:
Student responds → Monitor → Diagnose → Feedback → Improvement Time → Success

Clearly state the learning goal and desired level of success

Use Exemplars to raise the bar of learning

Pre-test (“I can” forms for self assessment; content quizzes). Use digital forms such as Google Formsand Quia.

Formative Assessment and Technology
Student Responds Monitor Diagnose Feedback Time Success
-Digital form is best
– Write on wiki or blog- Sound or video recording
– Take pictures of
– Record data using spreadsheet, Google Form, digital checklist, online program such as Quia. – Compare against digital exemplar with specifics- Compare against digital checklist or formative rubric-Identify new strategy from digital library -Orally give through avatar (Voki), audacity or screen cast; face to face
– Refer to website that shows new strategy (QR code)
– Suggest explanatory PowerPoint made by student or teacher
– Read word processed info, text, or tweet
– Go through digital exemplar
In-class time  or screen cast – Eportfolio
– Wall of Fame
– See changes in spreadsheet graph
-Celebrate!

His Books on Formative Assessment (Eye on Education)
Formative Assessment: Responding to Students
Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment
Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment

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.

“Fake” Formative Asssessment by Companies

When I do formative assessment workshops, I always include a section on what formative assessment is not.

Many school districts are buying into systems that supposedly do formative assessment.  Usually these systems test students every 4-6 weeks and often  provide a list of what skills the students have and do not have.  The programs may provide “remedial” work to help the students.    How many schools district would tell their athletic coach to wait until 4-6 weeks  to assess  the strengths and areas for growth for each player?  Coaches want their players to improve each practice.  How many school districts would tell their teachers not to assess students until every 4-6 weeks?   Classroom teachers need to be the ones to assess and help their students on a daily or weekly basis.

How many schools would want their coach to say generic statements like “work harder at passing  the ball” without giving the players better strategies for  passing the ball?  Unfortunately many systems provide just vague feedback such as “Organize  ideas”.   These systems do not offer students a choice of strategies; they simply provide one way of learning the material or do not even provide a strategy. Many systems just drill  the students.

Unfortunately, much of what “sells” for formative assessment is in fact just summative testing.

I define formative assessment as ” based on the students’ present learning condition, providing strategies so  the students can immediately begin to  achieve the desired goal”.  The classroom teacher is the heart and soul of formative assessment. Formative assessment takes place as part of the normal  classroom. It happens constantly in the classroom.  The teacher always  focuses on what the students are learning and how to help them better learn.

Here’s an article that gives some additional information.   http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/11/10/12assess.h30.html

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.

Improve FL Speaking Fluency With Formative Assessment

NYSAFLT  Conference Oct. 16, 2010

If we want students to be speakers of the language, then we have to let them speak more in the classroom.  Engage them in real language use.

Formative Assessment my definition: The process of helping students to immediately move forward from their present diagnosed learning to the expected learning.

Formative Assessment components:

Student does something in the language →

Is monitored →

Is diagnosed (determine present status and assess the gap between the present and expected learning; identify a strategy to improve) →

Is given formative feedback →

Has time for improvement →

Is re-assessed to show improvement →

Celebrates success

Formative assessment  create a culture of success, of constant improvement

Two Formative Assessment videos from the UK:

Secondary Assessment for Learning

Modern Foreign Languages Peer Assessment


Formative assessment advantages and concerns. You do not grade formative assessment or it becomes summative. It is critical that students be given a new strategy or a new way to think about the learning.

Success or Failure Grading?

Importance of Peer assessment. When peers assess peers, students can talk more in class and get more feedback.

Speaking Assessment: Identify the specific language function and level.

Student 1 speaks for a minute while Student 2 records number said. Student 2 reports back to Student 1 and gives additional suggestions. Student 1 practices the improvements.

Student 2 speaks on another topic  for a minute while Student 1 records number said. Student 1 reports back to Student 2 and gives additional suggestions. Student 2 practices the improvements.

Record the information on this baseline.

Students may need teacher given strategies if they do not show sufficient improvement from peer-to-peer help.  The  teacher has to have a large variety of strategies, each of which leads directly to the students’  being successful.

I have worked on 16 different speaking assessments and each one has about ten different strategies for the students.

Tuttle, H. G. (2009). Formative Assessment: Responding to Students. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

Hopefully, my book, Improving Students Speaking Through Formative Assessment, will be out in late April. To be put on the mailing list, email me at htuttlebs@gmail.com

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.

Formative Assessment Time = Success Time

This semester I am teaching  College Composition.  I find that my students’ quality of work has improved drastically since I use formative assessment. In the last essay unit,  the classification essay, the students spent over half of the time in formative assessment, mostly peer review.  We peer review each part of the pre-writing phase, starting with a narrowed topic.  Students constantly get feedback on their work according to the assessment checklists.  Their feedback is not a free-for-all, write whatever you want about the students’ writing; their feedback focuses directly on the assessment checklist.  They can give feedback  since they know whether the person has included a certain aspect such as a classifying verb or the evidence name.  I feel that they are about 90% accurate using the checklists.  In fact, I look over the previous peer-assessments before I actually assess the essay.  Since students have to have different students peer assess their work, they have different “eyes” to see their work.  Since each student gets feedback at least eight times during the writing process,  I find that  when I assess their papers, I do not have to  focus on the big issues (thesis, topic sentences, sufficient evidence, and detailed examples)  since the reviewers already helped the person with these. Each time we spend in formative assessment is time spent in helping students be more successful.   In a survey using Google forms, my students said that they made many changes (4.2 out of a five point where 5 =many many changes).  Also, they said that only 2.8 times in the past had their essay been reviewed twice or more.

How do you use build in formative assessment time for student success?

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.

Dead or Alive Students?

Recently a fence between my neighbors and my house fell down. As I walked around the huge tree in the backyard near the downed fence, I noticed that the tree was rotten on the back side.  I called three tree specialists. Two said to cut it down. The third agreed it was rotten but then stated that the tree was still alive. It had healthy branches. He could trim it so that the rot would not cause the tree to come down. The tree could continue to live and grow.

I wonder how often we have  “cut down”   “rotten” students when they have failed tests,  not completed their homework, or not done in class work.   We may think, “They’ll never get it…They are always lost…They will fail… They are beyond help.”   However, if  we nurture them through formative assessment  they can overcome their “rotten” parts.   We can  use technology to provide additional resources for them that present the learning in a different manner so that they grow in their learning.

Do you view students as “dead wood” or as “thriving trees”? How does your classroom actions show this? Try formative assessment to help your students become successful learners.

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Reponding to Your Students

Using Writing Formative Assessments for At-Risk students

Recently I received an email from someone who had purchased my Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment.  She said that she was, at first, shocked by how I had objectified English by breaking each part of the writing process down.  She said that she had assumed that her students “knew” all the basic things about writing. However, when she began to use the book’s formative assessments for each part of the pre-writing process, she quickly found out that they did not. She  realized that they became stuck very early in the writing process and, therefore, did not move forward.  She told me that she never thought about giving students different strategies to overcome their writing gaps; she just assumed their present writing strategy was effective.  She used some of the book’s  various strategy to help them.    She commented that she could see success in her students as they used the strategy.  She ended up by saying that she was now aware of how much structure students need to be successful and how these formative assessments provided that structure.

Obviously, I felt good about her comments.  The writing formative assessments  that I included in the book were ones that I have used  in a college writing course that I teach. Some of the students in the class dropped out of school in six grade and am now working on their GED as they are taking college courses. My job is help these “at-risk” students  to go from six grade writing to college level writing in one semester.  Through the use of constant formative assessments I can guide them from where they are to where they need to be so they can  write college-level academic essays. The writing  formative assessments build in student success and  build in student confidence in their writing.

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

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Formative assessment keeps students from getting stuck in pot holes

The more I teach and the more I observe other teachers, the more I see formative assessments as avoiding or filling in the pot holes as soon as they show up in students’ learning.  Our students can only hit so many pot holes in their learning before they get an educational flat and cannot continue.  If students do not get the help to overcome these pot holes, then they give up. The students know when they hit a pot hole but they do not know how to avoid it in the future.  If we do not give them a new strategy, then they will continue to hit the same pot hole in their learning. They will get stuck and not be able to proceed forward in their learning.  Let’s keep students on the road to learning, not stuck  in their learning gap pot holes!

Formative Assessment books by Harry Grover Tuttle

Do We Know the Students’ Exact Progress in the Learning Standards At Any Moment?

Every teacher should know at any given moment where their students stand in regard to state standards, state assessments, or even the “final”. We need to focus on our students’ learning progress and how we can help the students to improve from where they are to where we expect them to be. Waiting until the end of the year for students to take a pre-state assessment and then cramming down not-learned concepts make no sense.

When we start with the end in mind (Covey and Understanding by Design), we identify the precise learning we expect of the students and we create assessments that measure not only the end product but the many steps in their progress toward the learning. These mini-formative assessments help us to know at any moment where our students stand in terms of the end assessment. By using a technology as simple as a spreadsheet, teachers can keep track of their students’ formative assessments, give students new strategies to use to be successful, and, after much practice, re-assess the students to see growth.  Student learning is about continual growth toward the end learning.  If we want students to achieve the end learning goal, we need to constantly assess their progress and provide new strategies for success.

Do you know where your students’ exact progress right now in your course toward the state standard or assessment?

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Reponding to Your Students

Build a real class learning community

Teachers can create a class community such as everyone knowing two things about everyone else in the class without having a learning community where students continually work together to better each other.   Likewise, teachers can have students work together (Student A does this/ student B does that….) without really collaborating (interacting and changing the individual or group’s ideas) .

I would propose using formative assessment to build a class learning community. When students continually help each other by peer-reviewing and offering new ideas to others, they  have a learning community.  For example, in pairs, the students have peer-reviewed each other’s brainstormed evidence for an English essay and the teacher has given the original authors time to make appropriate changes. Then they continue being formative by creating groups of three to four.  In turn, each author reads his/her thesis and his/her brainstormed evidence; the group has the responsibility of adding three to four new pieces of evidence to the original list. After they help the first person, they rotate through the group.  Each group has a single purpose: to help each author to have three to four new pieces of evidence.  Those groups are truly learning communities

What learning communities do you have in your class?

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Reponding to Your Students

Continuous Assessment

The British have used the term continuous assessment or assessment for learning for many years.  I like the term continuous assessment since it implies that students are continually being monitored and given feedback to improve. Continuous assessment differs from the “unit” test or “every five week” tests that do not provide feedback directly to the students and that do not occur on a daily or weekly basis  in the classroom. Continuous assessment changes our approach to the classroom; we spend more time observing students for their learning progress and giving them new strategies rather  than “teaching”.  We measure our success by how successful the students are as they learn  the essential goals of our course. We know that students will improve throughout the year and we reward that growth instead of counting their early attempts (such as the first essay of the year) equally with their final achievements. Their grades represent continuous improvement.  Continuous assessment returns us to our initial reason for being teachers; our students show that they now have the profound learning in our subject that we wanted to share with them.

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Reponding to Your Students

How Many Formative Assessments Do You Do Each Period?

The only way to know how well the students are doing is for constant formative assessments or check-ins. If we do monitor students’ progress, then we have to have strategies ready to help the students who are progressing. I suggest that we should do three or more formative assessments each period.  At present I teach a Composition and Research course at a college and, specifically, we are doing classification essays.   Students self-check to see if for their chosen  topic, they have three classifications and that those classifications do not overlap. They see or hear several examples of classifications that do or do not overlap.  They have time to make changes.  Then peers look their papers to see if they have three classifications and if there is any doubt that two classifications may be too similar. The peers circle the two classifications that seem similar and put a question mark next to them.  The peers talk to the writers to explain what they perceive as the overlap.  The students have time to make changes. At the same time, I walk around and comment on any students’ paper that is lacking three classifications or that seems to have  overlaps. I suggests ways to avoid the overlap such as changing the classification name to be more general such as “music” to “entertainment” or ways of narrowing the classification from “fast cars” to “sports cars”.

During each class the students self-assess themselves, peer assess, and I assess at least three  times each class.  Every class every student becomes successful; no students get stuck in their learning gap.

How often do you have formative assessments in your class?

Harry Grover Tuttle's two formative assessment books

Change to Assessment from Grading

Very often teachers use the terms grading and assessment interchangeable. However, they are very different.

When we grade, we give a “final” score to something such as a B and an 83. Usually when students receive a grade, they know that learning that material is over; they do not have to think about improving on materials in the unit. Also, they often receive one grade on their work during the unit.  Likewise, students will likely receive a holistic grade, one grade for all the various parts of the whole work. Grades stop the learning.

On the other hand, in assessment, particularly formative assessment, students do not receive a grade on their work; they do receive a few critical suggestions for improvement. Students know that they will use  this  formative feedback to improve. In addition, they know that they will receive many assessments on this topic.  Furthermore, if  teachers use a rubric, the teacher uses an analytic rubric where the students receive indicators for many major components for their strengths and specific comments on how to  bridge the learning gap.  Formative assessment moves the student forward in the learning.

Can a student receive just assessment up to the final grade? Yes.  I teach courses in which the students are assessed every class. They do not receive a grade each class. Do they know how they doing in their learning-both their strengths and their learning gaps. Yes! Do they constantly improve throughout the course? Yes.

Try assessing instead of grading to see how much more beneficial it is to the students and to you!

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

Formative Assessment and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment by Harry Grover TuttleFormative Assessment and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment by Harry Grover Tuttle

My book. Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment will be available from Eye-on-Education in the Fall.

Having Students Go from Proficient to Above Proficient Through Improvements

In my Oral presentations (speech) class, I’m grading their final speeches on how much they have improved from when they originally gave the speech. They have to show me their original speech, the rubric in which I indicated their strengths and gaps, and a sheet which explains how they are overcoming their gaps. Their final (two speeches that they select from those they have done) are graded on improvement.  If they show the three  improvements, they get an A. For each learning gap that is not changed into a strength, they loose ten points.  So far students have shown drastic improvements, their speeches have gone from being below proficient or being proficient to being above proficient. They have learned to support their speeches with image-based PowerPoints that drive home their messages. When we raise the bar and prove ways for students to improve, they go over the bar!

How do you have your students improve and become above proficient?

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

Reponding to Your Students

High Expectations For Our Students: Our Responsibility

Robyn Jackson in Never Worker Harder than Your Students differentiates between standards and expectations.

The standards specify what high level content or process learning we want of the students. Expectations refer to our belief that we can help the students  to get there. If we have high expectations, then we believe that we can help the pupils to be successful. If we have low expectations, then we do not feel that we can help them learn. If we truly have high expectations, then we will figure out what we can do to help the students to  grow in the standard to the point of achievement. We do not focus on what they cannot do, we focus on what we can help them be able to do. We do not focus on what they do not know, we focus on how to help them obtain the prerequisite knowledge or skills in the context of the course. If we have high expectations, we do not ask students to learn the missing material or skills on their own, we build knowledge or skill development into our class into mini-lessons targeted to help them. If we have high expectations, we take responsibility for their growth; we work on the solution, not cursing the problem. If we have high expectations for our students, we promise ourselves that they will be successful in our class due to our efforts.

Do you have high expectations for your students? How do your students know?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Be more positive than negative

Do you use a positive or negative mentality in your class? Do you focus on pointing out the positives of students’ learning or do you concentrate more on the negatives?

Tom Connellan, “Inside the Magic Kingdom”, pgs 91-95 asserts that

If students see…………………………….they perceive it as

1 compliment, 1 negative………………negative

2 compliments, 1 negative…………….neutral

3 compliments, 1 negative……………positive

I almost agree.  I think that students need an abundance of compliments before they really believe the comments are positive. I think that 3 to 1 is borderline positive. I would argue that a 5:1 ratio is needed for students to feel that they are doing positive work. If they feel that positive about their work, then they are willing to make formative changes.  If they do not feel very positive, they will not attempt the changes.

Try the 5:1 rule and see the change in your students.

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book,
Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

School Awards For Teachers

I recently  attended a college’s award ceremony for faculty and staff.  I was impressed with all the categories of awards.

I’ve made up some awards that I would like schools to give. These awards will not be given to just one teacher but to any teacher who does any of the following:

Focus their students’ learning on the standards

Spend more working with students than lecturing

Diagnose students’  learning problems instead of just giving grades

Give specific feedback that actually help the students to move forward in their learning

Keep cumulative records of students’ strengths and learning gaps in a specific learning goal

Celebrate their students’ standards-based learning successes

Transform academic learning  into real world learning

Invite parents and other experts in the classroom (physically or virtually)  to share their wisdom about a learning goal

Involve the students in meaningful community or global projects that truly make a difference in other students’ lives.

Empower students to feel that they are capable of being successful

Share the learning goal, assessments, and success strategies with other teachers

What other awards would you like to schools to give?

New Learning If Have Options

My wife just purchased an all-in-one printer-fax-copier.  The machines lists eight special features. However, next to six of the eight features, there is a comment such as  “Optional hardware/service needed to utilize this feature.”

I wonder how often we give instruction to students but we have not included the optional features.  As I talk and survey students more about their writing, I find out that my assumption that the students  already know “how to” or that they remember “how to” are not true.  The wonderful lesson of two days ago has not been internalized so that they do not use the new technique; they revert back to the learning gap.  Likewise, they face a new writing pattern and they suddenly disregard all the good writing structures they used previously.  Finally, they encounter a writing topic that engages them so much that they forget the writing pattern completely.  All subject areas have optional features.

As I break the writing process more into thinking units and have the students practice these ways of thinking, I find that optional features need to become part of  the standard writing process. I have to be prepared to help the students negotiate their thinking so that they use these features.  They have to internalize the formative writing process so that they can produce high quality work at any time and in any condition such as in an in-class writing essay.

How do you build in the options for success for your students?

A Tight Formative Feedback Fit for Students

Today I put plastic insulation on the windows in my 1910 house. The insulation will keep the cold air from blowing in. The tricky part is to put the plastic on tightly. If it is not tight, then the air can blow it off.

I wonder how tightly our formative feedback fits our students? Do we give them general feedback such as “You need to improve your topic sentence. Remember to restate the thesis and then identify the category of this paragraph”. Or do we give specific feedback to one of our students who is a football player “Think of a topic sentence like a sports game. The goal is always to win the game. Each play is to win the game through doing (this play). A topic sentence has the same format of the essay thesis (the game purpose) and the particular paragraph game play.”

Do your students understand your formative feedback? Unless they understand it, they cannot move forward. Does your formative feedback tightly fit them or will they blow it off.

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

My Formative Assessment Book Published

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, was published by Eye on Education. I just got my copy. http://tinyurl.com/FormAssess

I’m proud of the book since I included so many practical suggestions. I’ve read too many articles and books that talk about formative assessment. In fact, I just finished a book about feedback that was very general. It took a very long time to say very little. Very few writings take it to the classroom level with specifics. So my book has many examples for the sections of building in student responses, monitoring, diagnosing, formative feedback, time for growth, reporting and celebrating. It is meant to be a bank of easy to implement ideas.

I reread it last night. I begin thinking more about some of the activities and realized that I can modify some of my present activities to be even more formative, helping my students to begin to walk on the path to success.

Exemplar Collecting and Using For High Quality Learning

At one of the colleges I teach at, I had to submit material for a course review. I was pleased to receive not only a perfect 3/3 but also to be asked to send some of my material in as exemplary work. However, I became even more interested when I found out that this college that has at least six different campuses is collecting exemplars. My question becomes “When are they going to share these exemplars with the faculty so that we can improve by seeing the excellent work that our colleagues are doing?”

I would suggest that we all collect exemplars at our schools and use them to improve our teaching and our students’ learning. Have each teacher submit his/her best student paper, project, etc. For example, each English 9th grade teacher can submit one excellent student paper for the major types of writing. The teachers can physically put them in a cabinet or even better they can put them onto an English Wiki so that teachers at any given time can access these exemplars. These instructors can discuss with each other what makes each exemplary. They can all come to the same idea about what exemplary work is. Furthermore,They can use these exemplar papers to raise the learning level of their students. The instructors will have many exemplars for their students so that the students can realize that the high quality can be shown in many diverse ways.

Get your team to start collecting and using exemplars now!

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

New Windows, New Visions: Insights into Class Learning

Our church is having its stain glass windows cleaned. As the window company took out the stain glass windows for cleaning, they put in clear windows. The sanctuary is covered with light now. Things that we did not notice, we know notice.

I wonder how much light we have in our classrooms. Do we see which students are struggling? Do we see how they are struggling? Do we see which resources we can use to help these struggling students? Do we see how we can lecture less and spend more time helping students? Or do we teach our lessons so we only see darkness (our teaching) and not students’ responses?

Turn on your lights by noticing how students respond to your higher level questions through their hand signals or personal response systems. Brighten the classroom by observing students doing in class exercises to determine where their strengths and learning gaps are. Enlighten your classroom by having numerous formative feedback activities to help students who struggle.

Let student learning shine brightly in your classroom.

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

How Many Academic Firsts Do You Celebrate?

My wife and I went to see our son, daughter-in-law and our grandson. These parents proudly talked about each first success of the baby- the first time he rolled over, the first time he had cereal, the first time he made something move…

I wonder how proudly we talk with our students about their successes. Do you acknowledge each of the students’ firsts? Do you let your students know on a daily or weekly basis their successes? Do you break your curriculum down so that they can celebrate small successes instead of waiting until the end unit test to be able to show a success? Do you celebrate each success to motivate them in their learning? Do you celebrate each success to show them that they are moving forward? Do you celebrate each success so that when they find a task especially difficult they can look back to their previous successes and know that they can achieve this task? Do you scaffold the curriculum so that they can easily move from success to success or do you have a sink-or-swim approach to student learning? Do your students look forward to the next challenge so that they can show how well they are doing or do they dread the exercise that they know they will fail at?

How do you make your curriculum a success one for students so that they constantly have new learning firsts?

If you are interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

High Quality Student Work Early in the Semester

My students have given their first speech in my college oral presentation course. I analyzed their entering speaking skills and adjusted the curriculum. We have gone over the speech rubric, analyzed three speeches using the rubric, analyzed the text of one speech, and created a template that incorporates good presentation. They organized their ideas with a graphic organizer. We spent time going over techniques for relieving nerves. They did a practice speech to a partner who gave feedback. As my students gave their first speeches, I was in shock. Wonderful Shock. Their speeches were actually at the same high level as the final speeches of my students from last semester even though this semester’s students are only in the third week of class. I had raised the bar for these students, they understood the high expectations and they had the tools to help them reach that high.

I congratulated the class on a superior job in presenting. I look forward to hearing their other speeches as they shine even more.

How do you structure your class so that your students soar in their learning? What do you do so that this year’s students do drastically better than last year’s?

If you are interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Scaffolding for Students Success

I’m preparing two writing courses for next semester. After checking the textbooks, the workbooks, and teacher DVDs/websites for both courses, I still do not feel that the students have enough structure to help them be successful in writing. Using high level writing terms or asking “Does your topic sentence convey a controlling idea?” does not provide much assistance to struggling writers. I tried to read the textbook and write the paragraph patterns such as narrative writing based on what I found in the book, I could not write what the book rubric indicates as a good paragraph. I searched the Net and likewise found many generalities but did not find specific structure to guide students through a complex process. I found this past semester that my students need much guidance in writing. I hope that as I create materials by greatly expanding on the textbook that I can provide them with the step-by-step they need to go from writing anything to write a vivid narrative.

How much guidance does your textbook, PowerPoints, worksheets, etc.. provide for the students so that they can be successful.?

Students Hiding Lack of Learning From Us

Some students are very skillful in our classes. However, their skill is not based on how well they have learned the standard but their skill consists of  hiding their lack of learning or their misunderstandings. They love group work since they can hide behind other students’ comments and work. They enjoy our large group presentations and responses since they can get away with not saying or doing anything. And yet until they say or do something, we cannot help them.  Silence and a blank paper do not help us diagnose the students’ present learning status. We are like doctors whose patient will not talk about his symptoms so we cannot help the patient get better.

What do you do to not let any student hide his/her learning?

Templated Learning Through Word Processing For Student Success

Persuasion Letter Template

I’ve decided that next semester I will provide my students with a template for their writing of business letters. The template will have the major parts of the specific letter format such as (get attention, increase interest, minimize resistance, action or AIRA) for a persuasion letter. This scaffolding will help the students to include each critical part of a persuasion letter. I’ve found this semester that students tend to skip over a part; I think the scaffolded template will guide them through using all four parts. I’m trying to decide whether they need more specific scaffolding such as a list of possible ways to do each part.

How do you use your word processor to scaffold the learning for your students so that they can be successful in their learning?


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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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. […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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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