Learning Targets - Students Tracking Their Progress

When students know what the learning goals are and where they are in the learning progression, they can take control of their own learning to move themselves forward. Teachers can help students do this by presenting the GLCEs and HSCEs in student-friendly language, sometimes called "I Can" statements. Students can use the "I Can" statements to see what the end goal is, and they can track their progress and self-assess where they are in moving toward those goals.
Sean's comments and resources:
A lot of writings talk about the shift in the view of learning that takes place with formative assessment. It is essential that teachers help their students see that ability is incremental rather than fixed – by working, you’re getting smarter. Student feedback and how we use it is one huge way we can make this shift. Personally, I have been impressed by my students’ change as we have focused on learning by using formative assessment to show progress (true progress), and grades to show the outcome of that progress. I am still struggling with ways to have students become better peer resources: true resources and not just people to get answers from. Also, I am still working on improving the way that students self-assess their own learning.
Below are links to a method that I have used with the “I can” statements. I'm still working on how to use these forms really effectively.
Student Statements of Standards for 7th grade negative numbers.docStudent Statements of Standards for Alg I.docThis is an assessment with a Standards reflection form:Quadratic Mini-assessment.docThis is a sample practice sheet with "I Can" Standards written at the top for the students:Linear Functions Practice.doc
Task: Use the “Student Statements of Standards” form with students for an entire unit of study (you may use one of ours or create your own). Elicit feedback from students about how it was different for them to learn using the targets and what was helpful and what was not. Write a narrative about what changed for you as the teacher using the learning targets and giving feedback. Explain how you would use these in the future, what changes you would make and what would stay the same.


Amber's comments and resources:I began my formative and summative assessment switch with looking at my content and writing clear standards. I determined that I could not expect my students to learn and relearn information if it was not clearly defined what the learning expectation was. I tried to write each standard in student-friendly language and then group them in an ordered fashion so common standards went together. I then went through and made sure that I would be able to use multiple modes of assessment to make sure a student had attained understanding of that standard.
After re-writing the standards, I went through my current curriculum and decided on the activities and assignments I knew for sure I was going to give. I made what I call an “assignment and assessment plan” (Assignment & Assessment Plan Ch 8 Alg II.doc) and listed all of these items, noting whether its purpose was formative, summative, or just homework (practice), and what standards that particular assignment was going to cover.

I took the assignment and assessment plan and created a tracking sheet of the formative assessments I had listed (Algebra II Standards Tracking Sheet Chapter Eight.doc). The formative assessments were listed in the first column with the standards listed across the top. Each formative assessment (each question on each assessment) was connected to a specific standard. After I would give a formative assessment (such as a quiz) I would have them grade it in class, they would turn it in and I would give it a 0-4 score (3 = proficient, 4 = I can teach others, 2 = still learning, 1 = little understanding, 0 = no learning). When the students would get their assessment back, they would go to the tracking sheet and fill out their scores. The goal in using the sheet is that we would hit every standard at least three times during a unit and if a student did not see an improvement in their formative assessment score they knew that standard is one they would have to study more before the summative assessment. This helped students narrow in on the things they did not know yet (the summative assessments were closely aligned to the formative assessments).

The other form of tracking student’s progress that I used was self-assessment (Self Assessment Ch 8.doc). A student would have a self assessment sheet that they would fill out 4-5 times during a unit. They would take out their list of standards and give themselves a 0-4 score on each standard. They would then add up all the scores, divide by # of standards times 4, and graph the resulting percentage. I did not use the graph at first, but noticed that students’ self-confidence increased when they started to use it because they could see the visual increase in their own learning throughout a unit. The very interesting thing was that overall, their test scores were within 10 percentage points to the percentage scores they gave themselves on the self-assessment sheet.

These are the ways that I physically track students’ progress through the standards. There are definitely ways to improve and I am always looking for better, more efficient methods to make the information more palpable for all the stakeholders. The great thing about this assessment process is that if you try it, you and your students will see improvements and benefits. And you will get better at applying it and coming up with assessment products that work for you and your classroom.

Take this assessment process to heart with yourself too – let yourself try it, and if you fail, go back and try it again! The results will be worth the effort.

Task: Take a unit of study that you currently teach and list all of the information, skills and applications that you want your students to be able to do at the end of the unit. Group similar items together and rewrite them into student-friendly standards. Create a document that can be used by yourself and the students to track their progress of learning in the standards (see Amber's documents linked above). Use this document while you teach the unit. Then either write a reflection in the discussion tab about how well this worked for you and your students, or submit a video interview with a student (email it to the course facilitator) about how this approach to tracking progress was helpful for the student.

Alternative task: Read Chapter Three ("Assess What? Clear Targets") in the book Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing it Right – Using it Well by Rick Stiggins, Judith Arter, Jan Chappuis and Steve Chappuis (available from Amazon.com) and write a summary of the chapter, including your reactions to it, how you might implement their suggestions in your school, and what effects this approach might have with students.