Use Your Data

In a stack of papers called Grading.

  • Oct
  • 06
  • 2006

Just a quick note before I head off for the weekend. First of all, I have a stack of 20 essays I simply must finish by Sunday night. Add that to the fact that I and about 6 other teachers will be back in my classroom tomorrow morning at 9:00 (that’s right, 9:00 on a Saturday) to grade some schoolwide writing prompts, I’ll be grading a lot of writing this weekend. That usually means that I’ll be writing many of the same comments and making the same observations and marking very similar scores on student papers. And there’s another writing piece from my seniors that I need to grade soon because it’s part one of a two part essay. The second part is to be written once we’re done reading Oedipus the King. We’re almost finished. Yikes!

Share Data

The other note is about data. I have a chart on the board right now that I’ve shown all students. It shows the average score and percentage of our vocabulary tests. All of my English classes are there; sixth period is kicking everyone’s butt, by the way, and my seniors perform better than my juniors. I also have on that chart, in smaller lettering, the results from last year’s students. I use the same list and same tests for my vocabulary, meaning that the comparison is legit.

I talked with all classes about this today, even going so far as to show how last year performed on the next test they will take, letting them know that a bar has been set. It’s my second period that worries me the most since that class has an average score of 62%. All other classes have an average score of 72% or higher (sixth period’s coming in at 86% and I think they are taking mental steroids).

Anyhow, this is just to say that my students seemed genuinely interested in this. Second period made quite a few excuses for themselves, but I’m hoping it’ll make them see that they need to study a bit more.

So maybe you should share some data with your students, too. If nothing else, it’ll cause you to look at what you’re doing in a slightly different way. I’ve never looked at scores like this before. I have a plan to write about my final grades using this kind of analysis to make a case for removing D grades from our grade scale, but I’ll save that for later. Thanks to my Excel gradebook, I’m sitting on lots of data that I can use to determine how effective I am and what needs to change. Maybe you are, too.

1 comment

1. Ben says:

[10/6/2006 - 6:30 pm]

An interesting thought Todd. Rather than just have the typical assessment data published in a local newspaper for the public, or shared among the staff, actually share the data with the students. It’s like the “gold star” chart, only with a much more fine-tuned and logical system.

I was thinking of posting how well each of my classes is doing with their typing practice (words per minute, that sort of thing), but I wasn’t sure how many would take to the “competition” like atmosphere. Perhaps I’ll just start with one grade, and see how they do.