Experiencing success and creating a sense of hope

If you want to lose weight monitor your calorie intake and the amount of daily excerise. If you want to achieve monitor your learning and the amount of effort you exert. It’s early in the year and we may still be in the honeymoon phase, but student goal setting and progress monitoring are working.

The students just finished their second formative assessment on decimals and nearly every student is at at a 3 or better. They’re keeping track of their progress by shading in a bar chart and comparing the results to the previous formative. Charting has turned out to be a powerful tool because the kids create a visual representation of their progress. As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” The students literally see they are learning and improving. I may be over extrapolating, but I’ll take a cognitive leap to suggest that the less confident student, over time, will become more confident in math.

The students however are still hooked on grades. They asked, “Is this for a grade?”

All I could say was, “If I had to report a grade today, it would be what you see on this knowledge check.” I said, “We are officially done working on decimals but chances are you’ll get another assessment to see how much you remember.” I do have a few students who haven’t reached the level 3 target, but they can arrange for an out of class assessment. They just have to schedule a date and time and come to the session with evidence that they’ve practiced.

I wonder if there is evidence that SBG provides additional student motivation. It seems that a delay in reporting of a grade gives students a sense of hope and as a result they continue to strive to meet the learning target.


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