Are you looking for a way to motivate your students, get them excited about learning, and support their progress? Then student-engaged assessment is for you! If you have never heard of this assessment strategy or don’t know how to make it happen in your classroom don’t worry, you’re not alone and I can help.
I first learned about student-engaged assessment when our school adopted the Expeditionary Learning model. Expeditionary Learning embraces this assessment practice in building student ownership of learning and driving achievement. Even after learning about what student-engaged assessment was, it took me awhile to really get it and begin to put it in place in my own classroom. When I did, my understandings clicked into place and I never looked at assessment the same way again.
Student-engaged assessment teaches students to continually track, reflect on, and share their progress towards learning targets or goals they have set for themselves. Using assessment in such a way is motivating and fun for students! Who’d have thought?
A key piece in the success of student-engaged assessment is maintaining the belief that everyone is capable of high achievement and that learning comes as a result of effort. This goes for both students and teachers!
I encourage you to give it a try. To get you started, I have included a few “Tracking Progress” printables below.
This first document can be used in any subject area. I used it frequently during our “expeditions” or long-term units of study. Fill in your long term learning targets or objectives at the bottom and provide a copy for each student. Then introduce your students to the different proficiency descriptors and teach them what they mean. One of the most important pieces in teaching students to track their progress is to stress the importance of honesty. Students are often hesitant to assess themselves as “Beginning”, but let them know that this is totally okay! When they’re clear about where they are, where they need to go, and how they’re going to get there they will build the confidence and motivation to work their way up to “Proficient” or “Advanced.”
You can ask students to track their progress against a target being worked on once or twice a week. Students can mark a dot to show where they think they are and record the date alongside it so that they can see their growth over time.
As you work through your unit, help students analyze their progress charts and why they are or are not making growth.
In addition to the individual tracking progress sheets, you can create a whole class tracking progress chart. These are really fun and supportive because you can see where everyone is in relation to the targets. Student’s competitive instinct tends to kick in and they enjoy putting forth a bit more effort to ensure they don’t fall behind their peers.
This second document was created specifically to help students track their progress as readers. Both a fourth and fifth grade teacher I have been working with are using this form with their students and tell me that their kids really dig it. They now clearly know where they stand, what level they’re working towards, and the specific goals to focus on to help them get there (you can record these goals with students in the section on the right of the document). This progress tracker can be adjusted to better reflect the reading levels appropriate for your grade level. Another idea is to leave it as is and include it in end of the year information to be passed up to the student’s next year teacher. Students can then continue tracking their progress as readers in their new grade level.
Developing the skills of data collection, inquiry, and analysis in achieving goals is a great skill to teach students in the elementary grades. It will surely set them up for success in the future.
Thanks for reading,