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Students Own Their Progress

Using Data

Sixth-grade students at Genesee Community Charter School in Rochester, NY, track their strengths and challenges through analysis of their own homework and test data. Students articulate how they use this data to focus their studies and improve their skills.

This video accompanies the book Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools through Student-Engaged Assessment.


- At Genesee we believe strongly that children should know where they are at any given point in time, and so we share with them where they are.

- For student-led conferences, we’re only asking you to choose two long-term targets that you’re going to talk and speak to. Today’s class was really getting ready for student-led conferences, which are coming up very shortly, and to look at multiple points across several domains of how they’re doing right now. So we paired that with the student trackers, we looked the MAP scores, we even pulled in some of our other classroom base assessments, and they’re going to look at that, and they’re going to look for patterns. Where their strengths are, and where are some challenges that they still need to address?

- We’re tracking our learning for what we’ve learned for the past six weeks over the year. We track all different subjects, ELA, Language Arts, Mathematics, and your social skills.

- In our folders is our important work that we felt met the targets.

- One of our littler line targets is I can define matter, and the vague, overall ending target was I can explain the interdependence of energy, matter and motion. One of the pieces of evidence I’m using is notes I took defining matter, and using details and examples of it. If you’re meeting and exceeding each of the littler targets, like, I can define matter, then you know you’re meeting and exceeding an overall ending target.

- And your Fall score was a 60. Nope, 69. We realized early on we needed really good data sets to work with the children, so they could see how they’re doing, and we weren’t getting it from the high-stakes standardized testing that New York State provided, so we adopted MAPs testing, Measure of Academic Performance. Last winter it hit 212... Then it was something we give twice a year, and it gives us real-world, real-time information.

- MAPs basically is a computer test that tracks our progress and...

- We can see where we’re like, strongest in like, different subjects, and where we could probably work on more.

- Once we give the students a MAP score, that’s not the only piece of data they’re going to use. Now they’re gonna go back to their Standards Target Assessment Tracker to look at what evidence they’ve already collected that’s showing that they’re moving towards a learning target.

- I got my MAP score back, and then I realized that my Rates and Ratios score wasn’t too good.

- Fractions last year I wasn’t good at at all. The test results that came back to me were not as great as I thought they’d be.

- So I went back and looked at some quizzes that we had, and I found out the ratios I was okay with, it’s just the rates that I wasn’t too good at.

- You might not know that when you pull one piece of homework out that you’re bad at something. But when we are tracking our homework and you look at all the homework that you’ve got back, you know that it’s an a-ha moment that you got this wrong.

- We’ve been really deliberate about making sure that a learnings target lives somewhere on an assignment that we give them, so they can always track it back.

- You see all the homework that you either exceeded on or not met at all, and when I did that, I pulled out decimals and percents, of course, and I got lots of wrongs, and I knew that that was something I was struggling in.

- Then I didn’t know that I was bad at rates, but now I plan on to do those rate sheets and then make myself better at rates.

- [Chris] And how’s that going? Are you getting better at rates?

- I am actually getting better at rates. I am better than I thought I was actually gonna be.

- We wanna make the whole thing about data transparent for kids so they understand that this isn’t just about pleasing a teacher, this is about investing in the work themselves.

- I was struggling with math, so I worked really hard on it, and now math comes easily to me.

- I know I can do better. I think of ways that can help me.

- And when I get a bad grade, it makes me feel, “Oh, I did bad.” But I can still make it better.

- This process allows kids to scaffold a lot of the practices that we’re trying to embody in our school. So starting with looking at their tracking of their own work, it allows them to set goals that they can share at a student-led conference. The student-led conference, in turn, prepares them for an audience, which, ultimately, in sixth grade, becomes a passage portfolio.

- So let’s examine your academic roles.

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