Throughout the year, my students have been working on understanding how to set goals and track progress toward these goals. In fact, under the teaching standards for Ohio educators, this is an encouraged part of every classroom. Recently, my students began to really focus on writing in complete sentences, understanding what the question is asking, understanding how many parts should be included in the answer, and then checking their writing. In my second grade classroom, this is a skill that requires prior knowledge and abilities, therefore, it wasn’t as large of a focus at the beginning of the year. This strategy focus came from analyzing my students’ data on recent assessments where only partial credit was earned for partial answers. I began to wonder if my students understood how to answer extended response questions.
This concept has been a focus in both reading workshop and math workshop. Students will encounter questions that require them to provide two parts of an answer, thus equalling two points. Or, students will encounter questions that require them to provide four parts of an answer, thus equalling four points. The first part of this concept is to understand exactly what the question is asking, and how many parts are required in the answer. For this, instructing students to pay attention to the verbs, or doing words, in the question will help them to understand the total parts.
When going over these type of questions with the group, we always start by determining how many points the question will be worth. Then, we discuss what the answer should look like if all parts are present. From this, we determine how many points each student will receive by analyzing their individual answers. Did you receive all 4 points by having all 4 parts in your answer? Will you receive partial credit? How many parts did you include in your answer?
Graphing this type of data will let the students keep track of their progress toward earning full points for each question. I include a four point graph and a 2 point graph each week for student to keep in their reading and math folders. Since we work on this daily, students can track their progress over the week to help visually represent their understanding of the concepts.
My students have really taken to this idea of self-monitoring progress over time. They enjoy coloring in the graphs, and feel validated with the immediate feedback they receive when analyzing their answers. Encouraging students to graph their progress over time is a great way to form habits of strong effort, participation and mastery.