Thursday, January 8, 2015

Getting out my Microscope...

“We must begin where we are and move forward immediately by starting small and capitalizing on what's at hand.” 
― Mike SchmokerResults

When studying assessment results, where does your energy and focus lean?

When I look at assessment results, I tend to go small. Maybe because I am a detailed-oriented person, but I like to break them apart into their many small components. Starting small and seeing smaller trends is an approach that I may have developed through the years from what I teach: languages. 

Learning any language is composed of 4 skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Language teachers can look at assessment data to analyze/get feedback on how students are performing in all of those areas. Those assessment results can tell us a lot about where students are needing extra support. That data is also great to share with students because they can see where they are strong and where they may need to also focus more attention. The results always helps student and teacher set new goals for moving forward.

Focusing on those smaller pieces of skill areas is also how our department sets up and enters our assessments and calculates grades for students. So in reflecting on those assessments, I can easily see where more classroom guidance/instruction is needed or if I need to plan more activities built around a certain skill area. Ideally, a language classroom is buzzing with students using all four of these skills daily, but sometimes language teachers can focus a little too much in one area and not include others. This could be a result of the theme or activity being done in class that day or week or even our own personal preferences as teachers. I know that I like to keep my classes very active, so I tend to plan lots of speaking activities, so I need to make sure that my lesson plans are well balanced and have a little bit of each four skills for the students every day!


  1. Nice Schmoker reference. He does an excellent job of being blunt and simple. Hooray that your see the power of speaking. Sometimes second language teachers rely so much on the written patterns. Excellent blog.

  2. I favor short checks for understanding too!