Assessments, Reflections, and Student Thinking
Aristotle Ou (@Camboyano) shared his end of chapter reflection practice on twitter, which requires students to revisit topics through summarizing prompts in College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) known as Learning Logs.
This post kicked off numerous conversations for me in the last few weeks about how we make time for and respond to students communicating their own thinking and how this practice promotes learning for other students.
First, the math coach at my school site shared a guiding document that was adapted from The Education Trust (@EdTrust), Equity In Motion, Checking In: Are Math Assignments Measuring Up (April 2018). Since using this guiding document, our math department has created more opportunities for student communication on our assessments, which The Education Trust notes are underrepresented in math assignments in the graphic below.
At the most recent Math for America Los Angeles Professional Development, Master Teacher Fellows presented on how to support re-engagement with returned assessments.
One fellow begins re-engagement by contrasting a correct response next to an incorrect response, which allows students to see possible misconceptions. Following this exercise, students look at incorrect sample work, discuss errors and misconceptions, and write reflections and advice for the student in the sample work. The fellow also provided data from before and after this exercise which showed an increase in scores for most students. While the fellow noted that there is not a one-size-fits all solution, the practices of analyzing, discussing, and writing about common misconceptions in their classroom are what have moved students toward stronger understanding.
Another fellow presented on Two Structures for Looking at Student Work by Annie Fetter (@MFAnnie) at CMC-North 2019, where participants were asked to #NoticeWonder about student work, and generate questions for these students to which participants did not already know the answer. Among other benefits, these prompts honor student mathematical thinking, and challenge teachers to question their own assumptions about student thinking.
These discussions and resources are shifting my mindset around assessments from “What are students able to do, and what can I do to move them to where I want them to be?” to “What are my students communicating? Does the task allow me to understand what students are communicating? Am I prepared to understand? What is my responsibility when I understand student thinking?”
By Christelle Rocha (@Maestra_Rocha)