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There is a growing need to measure students' growth and success in the classroom, especially with all the talk in the media about teacher evaluations. It's standard to measure student growth at the beginning and the end of the school year with standardized testing. But, can these test scores give teachers and parents a good understanding of the students' growth? What are some other ways educators can measure students' learning throughout the year? Here we will examine a few ways that teachers can promote student understanding and performance.
Ways to Promote Student Development
According to Wong and Wong, there are some ways professional educators can promote student growth in their classroom:
- Set high expectations for student achievement
- Make sure that students perform at or above expectations
- Solve problems so students will receive services
- Use up to date research and technology
- Plan instructional strategies
- Apply higher-order learning skills
- Apply information-processing strategies
- Apply complex learning tasks
- Use cooperative learning in the classroom
- Use invitational learning in the classroom
- Articulate information clearly
- Apply classroom management
These suggestions that the Wong's gave will indeed help students to achieve and demonstrate their abilities. Promoting this kind of learning can help students prepare for the standardized testing that measures their growth throughout the year. By using the suggestions from the Wong's, teachers will be preparing their students to be successful on these tests while promoting and developing important skills.
A Variety of Ways to Measure Student Performance
Measuring student growth solely on standardized tests have always been the easiest way for teachers to determine that the students are grasping the information taught. According to an article in the Washington Post, the problem with standardized tests is that they mainly focus on math and reading and do not take into account other subjects and skills students should be developing. These tests can be one part of measuring academic achievement, not the whole part. Students can be evaluated on multiple measures such as:
- Growth throughout several years
- Portfolio of students' work in all subjects
- Critical thinking skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Group Projects
- Written and oral presentations
- Class projects and experiments
Including these measures along with standardized testing would not only encourage teachers to teach a wide range of subjects well but would also accomplish Presidents Obama's goal to make all children college ready. Even the poorest of students would have the opportunity to demonstrate these critical skills.
Achieving Student Success
To achieve students academic success, it is paramount that teachers and parents work together to help develop and build skills throughout the school year. A combination of motivation, organization, time management, and concentration will help students stay on track and be able to achieve successful test scores. Use the following tips to help students achieve success:
- To help motivate students to find out what they are passionate about and use their interests to connect with their school work.
- For many students, something as simple as staying organized is the key to academic success. To help students stay organized, organize and label all materials and notebooks and keep a checklist of essential tasks.
- Learning to prioritize and manage time can be difficult for students. To help them manage their time keep track of assignments and tasks by creating a school calendar.
- Students get distracted very easily, to keep their minds on the task at hand enlist parents to designate a "quiet zone" for homework where there are NO interruptions.
Sources: Wong K.H. & Wong R.T (2004).How To Be An Effective Teacher The First Days Of School. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc. TheWashingtonpost.com