Open Response Questions

I recently submitted my SMART goals to my evaluator using TeachPoint. Last year I wrote about my student learning goal, and thought I would share this year’s as well.

Our school is in the process of implementing the “Using Data Process” from Research for Better Teaching. We’ve spent some PD time diving into our MCAS results (the MA Standardized test) and trying to identify student learning problems. One that my colleagues and I recognize, is the gap between average open response question scores between our students who pass with proficiency, and those who do not. The average open response score was a 1.7 for my students who scored failure/needs improvement, while the average score was 3.1 for my students who scored proficient and advanced. There are six open response questions on the test, which makes for a pretty big gap when you multiply it out. Therefore, my SMART goal for the year:

I will incorporate MCAS open response questions on in-class assignments, homework, and assessments so that 80% of my Honors Algebra 1 students will score a 3 or 4 (using the DESE rubric) on at least two MCAS Open Response questions by the end of the 2013-2014 academic year.

I am going to record students’ scores using an Excel document, provide written feedback to students, and have students peer/self assess on some of the questions. I’m also going to try to figure out why the scores are so much lower. Do students not understand the questions or not know how to do it? Are they simply leaving the open response questions blank? Are they only answering part of the questions? I’m not sure that I’ll be able to answer all of these, but I’m hoping to find some insight over the course of the year.

One of my predictions is that students are not fully answering the questions and explaining all of their work. Since I don’t want students to feel like they are doing MCAS questions all the time, we can practice this skill when doing any of our other activities. We’ll focus on explaining what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and probing students to dig deeper. And that’s on me to ask the right questions.

Achievement Tracking

The process of creating SMART goals for the new teacher evaluation system has been challenging and frustrating for the teachers at my school, and I’m sure many others, over the past few weeks. It surprises me that with all the amazing, shared content in the teacher blogosphere, and just Google in general, that there is such a lack of SMART math teacher goal examples. One of my administrators suggested that educators may be hesitant to share their goals since the evaluation tool is so new and no one wants to be criticized. However, I’d love feedback, any feedback, on my student learning SMART goal:

  • During the 2012-2013 school year, I will implement appropriate differentiated interventions so that each term 80% of students with a grade lower than 70 on the progress report will raise their grade by at least 10% on the following report card.

My goal corresponds with the rubric indicator, Adjustment to Practice. The idea for this goal stemmed from an achievement tracking form that my team and I began filling out after the midterm progress reports were distributed each term. See below.

I identify the students who received a D or F on the progress report and make a list of each student’s identified learning needs. Then, I decide which interventions I think would work best to help the student bring up his/her grade. My team made a list of the needs and interventions so that we would be consistent using the same terminology.

Identified Learning Needs: Homework Completion, Assessment Preparation, Project Completion, Classwork Completion, Class Participation, Cooperative Learning, Attendance

Interventions: Student/Teacher Meeting, Daily Agenda Use, Contact Parent, Weekly Progress Reports, Contact Administration, Teacher Check In, Extra Help Sessions

Making this document really helps me to focus on the students and what I can do to help each one succeed. At the end of the term I fill in their final grade and whether or not I actually used the intervention. In the notes section I keep track of individuals (parents, guidance, administration) that I contact for additional support. I decided to turn this into my SMART goal because I feel it has so much potential. I was using it before, but not to the best of my ability. Now I’m going to add a column titled “Goal” next to the progress report grade. It will give the student and myself a target. I’m hoping that a student with a 60, who sees a new goal of 66, says, “That’s still too low. I can beat that.” Ideally I would love for students to improve a whole letter grade by the end of the term.