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Do You Know What Your Students Know Examining Student Work to Inform Instruction


Know where their students are performing on the indicators ... Diagnose what students know and still need to learn in relation to those ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Do You Know What Your Students Know Examining Student Work to Inform Instruction

Do You Know What Your Students Know?Examining
Student Work to Inform Instruction
  • Lani Seikaly, partner
  • Hillcrest and Main, Inc.
  • and project director of MDK12
  • http//

What do principals need to put in place to
improve their student achievement?How do
teachers and schools identify what students know
and still need to learn in relation to state
State assessments only inform schools where their
students are performing at the time of testing.
  • Teachers must know where their students are at
    any point in the school year.

AYP provides us a clear target.
  • However, to meet AYP, we need to monitor
    student level data at the classroom level on an
    ongoing basis.

  • How do state standards and NCLB change
    expectations for what happens in our schools?

Standards-based education changes everything.
  • Defines what we expect all students to know and
    be able to do.
  • Expects educators to take all students to
    proficiency on those standards.

  • Before Standards
  • Teachers taught what they thought was important.
  • After Standards
  • Teachers are expected to teach the content

  • Before Standards
  • Teachers had different expectations for
    different groups of students.
  • After
  • Standards
  • Teachers are expected to take all students to

  • Before Standards
  • The focus was on how well teachers taught.
  • After Standards
  • The focus is on how well students learn.

  • Before Standards
  • Only selected students had access to higher
    level instruction.
  • After Standards
  • All students are expected to have equity of
    opportunity for higher level instruction.

What activities do teachers need to engage in
today that they might not have needed to do 15
years ago?
  • Align instruction and assessment with state
    content standard indicators
  • Know where their students are performing on the
  • Work toward a common understanding of content
    standards and proficient work
  • Diagnose what students know and still need to
    learn in relation to those indicators and the
    criteria for proficient work
  • Engage in grade level team examinations of
    student work

How do we get answers to these questions
  • Where are each of our students in relation to the
    content standards they must attain?
  • What do they know and are able to do?
  • What do they still need to learn?

We have a good deal of research to draw on in
identifying what effective schools and leaders do
to improve student achieve-ment.

Black and Wiliam in their 1998 Phi Delta Kappan
article, In the Black Box Raising Standards
through Classroom Assessment, assert,
  • There is a body of firm evidence that formative
    assessment is an essential component of classroom
    work and that its development can raise standards
    of achievement. We know of no other way of
    raising standards for which such a strong prima
    facie case can be made.

If formative assessments are so critical, then
how do we create good assessments?
We examined the National Research Council book,
Knowing What Students Know, which identified the
key concepts on which good assessments are
built.From Knowing What Students Know by James
W. Pellegrino, Naomi Chudowsky, and Robert
Every assessment, regardless of purpose, rests
on three pillars
  • Cognition, a model of how students represent
    knowledge and develop competence in the subject
  • Observation, tasks or situations that allow one
    to observe students performance
  • Interpretation, an interpretation method for
    drawing inferences from the performance evidence
    thus obtained.
  • James W. Pellegrino, Naomi Chudowsky, and Robert

To understand what students know, staff need to
  • the knowledge and cognitive domains of the
    content standard indicators
  • how students learn
  • how to provide students opportunity to
    demonstrate what they know
  • how to interpret student responses

Knowing What Students Know also suggests that
Student work should focus adult-student and
adult-adult conversations to discuss standards.

We have also read about the importance of
collaborative examinations of student work.
Joan Richardson, editor of the National Staff
Development Council newsletter, believes
thatThe practice of having teachers work
together to study student work is one of the most
promising professional development strategies in
recent years. Examining student work helps
teachers intimately understand how state and
local standards apply to their teaching practice
and to student work.
As they see what students produce in response to
their assignments, they can see the successes as
well as the situations where there are gaps. In
exploring those gaps, they can improve their
practice in order to reach all students.
The Aspen Workshop on High Schools recommended in
its summary report for the Transforming High
Schools Task Force that the continuous and
collaborative examination of student work along
with the personalization of schooling are the two
critical strategies for transforming high schools
at the local level.
At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, the
use of student work as the unrelenting focus of
adult conversations can be the catalyst of
fundamental changes in the educational experience
of adolescents, and the transformation of
teaching and learning at the high school level.
Kate Nolan, Director of Re-Thinking
Accountability for the Annenberg Institute of
School Reform, believes
  • Rich, complex work samples show us how students
    are thinking, the fullness of their factual
    knowledge, the connections they are making.
    Talking about them together in an accountable way
    helps us to learn how to adjust instruction to
    meet the needs of our students.

So we understand
  • that to know where each of our students is in
    relation to content standards, we need to
    regularly examine student performance to inform
    our instruction and to monitor student progress.
    What would that look like? How would we
    operationalize that?

What does a team examination of student work
look like?
  • How do teachers define proficiency?
  • How do teachers diagnose strengths and needs?
  • How do they record the diagnostic information?
  • Who leads the discussion?
  • What questions need to be asked?

Examining Student Work
  • Though teachers have always examined student
    work as part of their grading process, the new
    focus on accountability and standards has driven
    a more structured and collaborative examination
    of student work.

Examining Student Work
  • The focus of the examination has shifted from a
    summative evaluation of student performance to a
    diagnostic evaluation of student performance,
    teacher assignment, and implications for

The Examining Student Work Protocol asks teachers
  • Reach consensus about what makes a student
    response proficient on an assignment or
  • Diagnose student strengths and needs on the
  • Determine next instructional steps based on the

In the first part of the protocol,
  • a team of teachers work through the process of
    reaching consensus on what the team believes
    constitutes a proficient response on a selected
    text and question.

Stiggins argues that we really cant assess
accurately if we dont understand the target
  • To assess student achievement accurately,
    teachers and administrators must understand the
    achievement targets their students are to master.
    They cannot assess (let alone teach) achievement
    that has not been defined. Stiggins, Richard
    J. 2001. The Principals Leadership Role in
    Assessment. NASSP Bulletin (January 2001) 1326.

Part 1 Reaching Consensus about Proficiency
  • What did you ask the students to do?
  • Which content standard indicator were you
  • What did you consider proficient performance on
    this assignment?
  • Exactly what did students need to say or write
    for you to consider their work proficient?

It is not enough that an individual teacher
defines proficiency.
  • It is critical that at least a grade level
    team has reached consensus on the definition of
    proficiency to ensure that all students are held
    to the same performance expectations.

Teachers were surprised at how off the page
their teammates were.
  • Think of all the mixed messages our students
    are receiving when we havent defined proficiency
    on a standard / indicator in the same way.

Lets take a look at a team of 3rd grade teachers
trying to get on the same page about what a
proficient answer would need to include for a
reading comprehension assessment.
Only after the team has agreed on what
constitutes a proficient response are they able
to diagnose student strengths and needs.
In the second part of the protocol,
  • the team examines three student papers to
    determine if the response is proficient and to
    identify strengths, needs and instructional next

Each teacher is asked to bring three samples of
student work from the same assignment or
assessment a response at the top of the class, a
response at the bottom of the class and a
response in the middle of the class.
Part 2 Diagnosing Student Strengths and Needs
  • What did the student demonstrate that he/she
  • What misconceptions or wrong information did the
    student have?
  • What did the student not demonstrate?
  • How would you find out if he/she knew it?

Teachers must shift their mindset from scoring (a
summative examination) to diagnosing (a formative
examination) student performance.
In many cases teachers have spent a great deal of
time sorting student responses (either by letter
grades or by rubric scores) and virtually no time
diagnosing what students know and still need to
Lets take a look at our team of 3rd grade
teachers diagnosing their student responses.
Part 3 Identifying Instructional Next Steps
  • Based on the team's diagnosis of the student
    performance, what would you do next with that
  • What questions might you ask the student?
  • What feedback would you give?
  • Do you need to re-teach anything to the class or
    a subset of the class?

How have teams captured the data?
(No Transcript)
What can you learn from examining student work?
  • What do teachers learn about students?
  • What do teachers learn about their instruction?
  • What do school teams learn about their teams
    understanding of content standards?

Teachers came out of this examining student work
process with
  • Grade level consensus of what constitutes
    proficient work on the assignment
  • Formative assessment data
  • Specific information to inform their instruction
  • Strategies for re-teaching
  • Deeper understanding of the intent of the
    standard / indicator they were assessing.
  • Probing questions to ask students to better
    understand where they were

Andrew Nelson, teacher at Harmony Hills E.S.
  • I wish I had caught onto this earlier but at
    one of the meetings, it became apparent that kids
    werent reading the question. That was a big
    awakening to me because I was so focused on how
    to write the answer, we hadnt spent time
    unpacking the question.

Glenn Messier, teacher at Harmony Hills E.S.
  • My teammates proficient responses were a
    little bit more advanced than what I was
    expecting and looking for. They were looking for
    a lot more in-depth answers. To get on the same
    page, I needed to raise the bar for my students.

Ilise Wolf, teacher at Harmony Hills E.S.
  • When youre working on a team, I really find
    I get a lot of ideas from my teammates and
    support and feedback. What I might consider a
    good assignment for a child, another 2nd grade
    teacher might have a few extra words to add that
    would really make a difference to my students.

Lets hear what our 3rd grade team learned from
their experience in participating in this
examining student work protocol.
Principals and facilitators learned
  • When teachers collaborate with other teachers
    on examining their own students performance on
    classroom assignments and assessments, teachers
    are more engaged in the process and take more
    ownership for making changes to their practice.

Principals and facilitators learned that
  • Teachers began to have the discussion and reach
    consensus on what they were looking for on an
    assignment or assessment before they gave it to
    the students. Therefore, their teaching was also
    more aligned with the proficient criteria they
    had identified.

Principals and facilitators learned that
  • Principals needed to set clear expectations for
    their teams, monitor whether they were met,
    identify useful end products, and engage in an
    ongoing discussion of the data and what students
    knew and still needed to learn.

How do we build teacher capacity to do this?
  • Shouldnt we do that before we start the

This is on the job training.
  • The focus on interpreting student performance
    and determining what teachers need to do to
    support student performance allows teachers to
    examine their own practice through the lens of
    student needs rather than the lens of good versus
    mediocre teaching.

The fact that the process is ongoing allows
teachers to build capacity over time rather than
try to absorb everything in an upfront training.

Bottom line ..
  • It is only when teachers and schools start to
    collect the data and diagnose the performance
    that provides them the necessary information
    about where a student is in relationship to the
    indicators they must master that effective
    data-driven decision making to improve student
    achievement can happen.

You can find more information on the School
Improvement in Maryland Web
  • Examining Student Work
  • http//
  • Monitoring Student Progress
  • http//
  • An online course, Using Data to Improve Student
  • http//

Lani Hall Seikaly Contact Information
  • Email
  • Phone 703 867-3921
  • Web site http//
  • Web site http//
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