You are either in the midst of administering year-end testing, are finished, or are going to begin this week. We make that massive effort to assess student performance and utilize that data to determine instructional strategies.
What will that data tell you? What other data might you need to most effectively support student growth?
We have an incredible data set just sitting in front of us, but we rarely collect it in a timely or significant manner to inform our planning.
NOW is the time to collect that data. It’s going to take some energy and time, but the dividends can be enormous.
The results of the state assessment will tell you some things about what individual students know; what if you could find out why?
Have you ever talked about needing students to take ownership of their learning? Of course you have. But, do they know how? What if you used a year-end assessment to help them reflect on the year, on what they’ve learned, on how they learn best, on the level of their effort, and on what we are doing at the school that works for them?
On the following page is a set of twenty questions that you might consider asking the students at your school. Some of them may need amending to meet age appropriateness, but most of them lend easily to that revision.
The data you collect can help you see themes and threads, but it also can give you individual insights to your students’ learning that can help you as you plan for next year.
Using these Questions
Obviously, there are many ways you can engage students in these questions, but here are some things to consider as you develop your plan:
- Conversations are often better than surveys. Small focus groups of around six students most typically provide the framework for gaining the most useful responses. These can be moderated by counselors, administrators, even retired teachers can help. A good moderator makes the students feel safe and comfortable, so that’s a key in selecting that person(s).
- If not small groups, then classrooms, perhaps? Students for the most part are interested in letting you know what they think as long as the environment permits. A teacher can as her classroom to respond to the questions, one at a time. A self-directed Google form or Survey Monkey are probably not going to give you the richest data.
- WHEN matters. Whenever gathering perception data, WHEN you collect is of great significance. Best times are in the mornings, and on these days: Tuesday, Wednesday, then Thursday.