How Do You Define Academic Success For Your Students?

Guest Author
Jun 8, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Sometime this summer, schools will receive their M-Step results. Teachers will get a glimpse into the achievement level of their students as determined by Michigan’s standardized assessment.  There may be a few surprises, but most teachers already have a pulse on their students.  They know what academic success looks like and that a one-time state assessment only provides a small part of a larger, more complex picture.

In fact, despite state assessments bearing substantial weight for accountability purposes, results are rarely used to determine student success in the classroom? And how could they? Students are long gone to their next teacher by the time teachers receive their results.

 So how else can teachers measure student success?  What are some non-traditional ways that teachers can assess the growth of a student over time?

  1. Interim assessments – Most charter schools are required to implement some kind of interim assessment with their students.  A majority of schools implement these in the fall and spring.  Teachers have the option to implement the assessments mid-year to determine whether or not a student is on track to meeting their goals.
  2. Changes in behavioral incidences – It takes a few weeks for a classroom to settle into a culture and routine.  Even so, some kids continue to struggle.  Tracking and monitoring student behavior issues can be a good way to measure student engagement and connection with the classroom. 
  3. Unprompted participation in classroom activities – As a student becomes more confident in his/her environment and knowledge, they are more likely to contribute to discussions, engage in group projects and increase their overall participation.
  4. Student Learning Objectives – Many schools are moving towards SLO’s, but many still feel daunted by the creation and implementation.  Teachers can assess student growth over time by giving assessments based on SLOs.  More importantly, student responses on these assessments can be used to determine the speed at which a teacher moves on to next level course work, and can be a good tool for assessing the appropriateness of the pace of the classroom.

Using a portfolio of standardized, interim, behavioral, and teacher-developed assessments will provide teachers with a much clearer picture of student academic success.  In fact, some over looked success might be uncovered!  

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