6.4 Using Assessment to Provide Feedback to Students
Effectively using assessments to provide feedback benefits student learning because it gives them a direction to follow to build on their strengths or weaknesses. Feedback should be of high quality, applicable, and understandable to the student so they know where their current learning development is at and what to focus on next.
The document attached is the result of feedback I offered a student after using previous assessment data. I had been noticing and documenting that this student has trouble getting started on a task. He usually sits at his desk reading a book or thinking about what he is going to do. He also is not very confident when it comes to his handwriting abilities. Based on a pre-assessment I administered to check current student understanding of informational writing, he didn’t have very much written down. I sat next to him sharing some of the struggles I notice he is having and giving him strategies to work with when writing a draft table of contents for an informational topic. He shared that he knows a lot about certain Pokemon, characters from a video game, but doesn’t know where to start. I said, “What’s the most important subtopic you want your reader to know first?” He said, “Types of Pokemon.” I told him to just start writing about that and other ideas will come to him. The strategy of writing one small thing that’s important first is helpful to get started and write more ideas down. Eventually he was able to list 11 chapters on his topic.
This short conference I had with this student allowed me to provide useful feedback based on what I was noticing from his assessments and previous work. I learned that its important to review the assessments we administer and think about reasons why a student could be struggling. Getting an opportunity to have one on one conference with students will also shed light on what could be going on and create a fuller picture of what the assessments are showing.
Next steps to increase effectiveness would be to continue to work with this student on strategies to get writing started. Continuing to have conferences and offering questions to students to provide immediate feedback will guide them toward complete their individual goals and put more meaning at their time at school.
3.2b Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness in Lesson Adjustments
This standard is necessary for effective teaching because there are a variety of factors that can change a lesson during instruction. Teachers should be open and flexible to adjust their instruction based on how the students are engaging with the material or if there are interruptions in the learning environment. Using a lesson plan should be more of a guide for teachers, open to change and not rigid which might actually limit learning opportunities for students.
The evidence I have submitted below is an image of a page from a math worksheet which I had students work on because my lesson was losing the students attention. I needed to adjust my lesson because students were getting restless while working at the carpet completing a task that could have been completed more quickly. I had students on the carpet drawing different types of quadrilaterals on whiteboards and then taking turns drawing on the smart board. This proved to be too much wait time for students and the whiteboards started becoming distractions instead of tools to help students learn. After several reminders of redirection, I decided to end my instruction at the carpet and have students move to their desks, switching to drawing and explaining in their workbooks. Students were more successful after the switch and were able to progress through work books on their own.
I learned that being flexible to adjusting instruction is an important quality that benefits students and teachers time during a lesson. Instead of struggling through a task, switching locations will re-focus their engagement which resulted in more learning. I will be more mindful of what my students already know for future lessons and use these activities for more of a quick review to move on to more challenging material. Not having students sit in one place for too long will also help with pacing and keep their attention so as not to lose interest or focus on the specific content I am teaching.
This standard is important to education because it allows teachers to assess their students understanding of content and having them explain the process they are using. When students are able to verbalize their thinking, the learning sets in and will have a greater chance of retention. The evidence I have included for this post is a section from my edTPA lesson sequence where I am Informally assessing their understanding of perimeter and area, and their ability to break a large rectangle into two smaller rectangles and compare their areas. (For example 6 x 3 rectangle can be as two rectangles added together (3×3) + (3×3).) I designed my questions for students to think about the strategy they were using such as “Why did you build the rectangle this way? How did you determine the side lengths of the rectangles? What patterns do you notice?” Thinking of these questions in advance helped me be better prepared when monitoring for student understanding.
This evidence demonstrates emerging competence because I am including the questioning technique in my planning and instruction. Providing “wait time” can be difficult for me as I am quick to help students understand instead of letting them process on their own. Open ended questions should be high level thinking so expecting a quick response takes away from their processing. Questioning and discussions add engagement and participation for students during lessons and are a great strategy for teachers to use for assessment.
Changes or next steps would be to provide more “wait time” when conferencing with individual students or when posing questions to the whole class. It is important to remember sometimes students need a minute or two to really engage with a high-level question and be given the patience to process and answer when they have a more concrete idea of their response.
1 Expectations: The teacher communicates high expectations for student learning. Establishing high expectations for student learning means creating a structured environment and limiting distractions and interruptions. This is a key element of successful classroom management and allows teachers to make the most out of their time with their students. Students will stay on task when expectations are understood and can spend more time on learning instead of needing to be redirected.
I decided I needed to clearly communicate expectations during my lesson Measurement of Time. The lesson included multiple activities and transitions so I wanted to make sure they went as smooth as possible to maximize their learning. I demonstrated emerging competence on Standard 1 by going over what I wanted students to do before letting them transition to the next task. For example, before the students went from teacher instruction on the carpet to independent work at their tables, I told students I expected them to be silently working through their workbooks. If they had a question or wanted to share ideas with a peer, that would be okay but only if it was math related. I noticed in a previous lesson that students were having off topic conversations at the table so wanted to make sure they understood my expectations during math time.
I learned through this experience that setting expectations improves performance from students. They worked well during their independent work with few interruptions. During another activity using white boards, I instructed students to only use the white boards for math, not decorations or drawing. Although these expectations were set up, not all students followed them and I missed some opportunities for addressing these concerns. Next steps to increase effectiveness with expectations would be to follow up with certain behaviors and hold students accountable. This is another key aspect of creating a structured environment where students should be reminded if they are not following directions. I will continue to communicate high expectations for student learning before beginning a new task and follow up with students who need it.
The Peer Review Assignment for EDSP 6644 Educating Exceptional Students helped me become a better educator because it allowed me to research what current educators are working on to improve special education services. I was able to look at a variety of sources, which will be helpful whenever I have a question, or need to research a topic that comes up during my actual teaching in the future. My topic was co-teaching, which includes important aspects of teacher collaboration. It was great to see what this model looks like in reality and the benefits and challenges it can bring. This will help better prepare me when I am involved in similar teaching approaches.
Co-teaching is an effective model but one that requires patience and flexibility. It is important to interact with faculty throughout the school to get different perspectives and opinions that are different from your own. Co-teaching is not a teaching method where teachers should operate independently from one another. Having time to debrief, reflect, and plan is crucial for a successful and positive system. Learning from one another’s methods helps faculty grow as educators and provide best supports for students that need it.
The articles I researched also discussed the importance of professional development and training when adopting the co-teaching model. In order for this model to be effective, teachers need opportunities to learn methods and skills that have positive effects when collaborating. The program should be one that is meaningful and worth a teacher’s time. Educators have many responsibilities and need to be efficient with their duties throughout the day, including a new approach such as co teaching.
The peer review assignment allowed me to analyze and synthesize documents about a topic to learn more about different approaches to special education. I now have a broader view of special education and particular teaching strategies. I will take these concepts with me as I work in the schools and develop different approaches for helping students succeed.
“5. Learning Environment – The teacher fosters and manages a safe and inclusive learning environment that takes into account: physical, emotional and intellectual well-being.”
Healthy and safe learning environments are required in order for students feel welcomed and protected at school. A teacher having knowledge of reporting child abuse, youth violence, and neglect will assist in managing a safe space for students. Being observant and alert to student behavior in the classroom and with parents will help schools care and provide for student needs. Having a clear understanding of the reporting process within the school and state is important information for a teacher to have.
The following screenshot from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (2010) depicts the importance of reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.
If abuse is happening in the home it is imperative to report and protect students from further harm. Teachers are observing and monitoring students throughout the day and can be the initiators of getting students the help they need. The article points out that making a report can be beneficial to parents, allowing them to learn, better care for and protect their children.
The educator I observed explained that she has never needed to report child abuse or neglect for the students she was working with. She is a relatively new teacher, being in her 2nd year of teaching. She was aware of the process of reporting at her school through detailed training as a new employee. When it comes time for reporting, the staff member notifies the principal and the school counselor who documents and reports the behavior to Child Protective Services. Teachers can create classrooms of trust by fostering relationships with each student. Understanding where a student comes from, their families, personality traits, and interests will portray care and kindness where students feel appreciated and welcomed as an important member of the class. Having this foundational relationship will allow sensitive information to be shared easier if the time comes.
Reporting child abuse, youth violence, and neglect is a critical skill teachers need to foster and manage a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students. Students need to feel protected in their learning spaces. Schools need to have effective procedures and methods of reporting to provide care for students experiencing abuse. If these procedures are not in place, teachers should advocate to have school wide policies so all faculty can work to create a safe environment and prevent any future harm.
Washington State Department of Social & Health Services. (2010). Protecing the Abused & Neglected Child: A Guide for Recognizing & Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.