Academic journal article Science Scope

Monitoring and Assessing Student Learning

Academic journal article Science Scope

Monitoring and Assessing Student Learning

Article excerpt

Monitoring student engagement and behavior should be the easy part of teaching--one that is done constantly during each lesson and often without thinking. Whether you are giving directions, lecturing, or leading a classroom discussion, a quick sweep around the room will immediately tell you who is (and is not) paying attention. By moving around the room, you can also determine who is actively engaged in a lab activity and who is just socializing.

On the other hand, monitoring and assessing student understanding takes deliberate and frequent action on the part of the teacher. Many monitoring techniques are planned ahead of time, while others develop spontaneously as a lesson progresses. For example, effective monitoring strategies may include asking probing questions at key points in a lesson, listening to student responses and conversations, giving quick quizzes, and assigning short journal entries. Assessment should be used before, during, and after concept instruction, not just at the end of a chapter or a unit of study.

Knowing what to do with the feedback you get from monitoring and assessing is one of the most difficult things to deal with in teaching. Even when students seem bored or are having trouble understanding concepts, many teachers find it hard to deviate from their lesson plans, and few feel comfortable stopping a lesson to reteach a concept even when it is clear that students are not "getting it. …

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