Qualities of Effective Teachers

By James H. Stronge | Go to book overview

6

Monitoring Student Progress
and Potential

Ella is truly a data diva. She teaches 8th grade English and continually keeps
her finger on the pulse of her students' progress. At the beginning of the year
she collects an initial writing sample that serves as a baseline for targeted
improvements for each student. She gives the Degrees of Reading Power
(DRP) test to students to get another baseline. Throughout the year, she is con-
stantly reading, analyzing, and critiquing her students' work, as well as pro-
viding specific and timely feedback Additionally, Ella empowers her students
to be their own best critics as she shares with them how to assess the quality
of their own work and provide constructive criticism to their peers. She regu-
larly reviews, grades, and assesses her students' progress. Ella updates their
writing portfolios and uses predictor tests to help her better prepare her stu-
dents for the state tests. If success is measured by standardized tests, then Ella
is successful, but as Ella says, the proof is in what students can do, not just in
their test scores. Ella's students exit her classroom on the last day of school
better writers and more observant readers who are able to clearly articulate
their thoughts through writing and discussion
.

Monitoring and assessing student development and work is a complex task. With an increasing number of states linking high-stakes testing to graduation requirements and implementing statewide testing programs in the lower grades, teachers feel pressure to prepare students to be successful on the tests by aligning their instruction with the state's standards. Even as teachers provide experiences for students to learn material, they must still check for individual student learning. There are a variety of means to teach content and just as many ways to monitor and assess understanding. Effective teachers employ all the tools at their disposal to make a positive impact on students, including the use of homework and feedback. Figure 6.1, at the end

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