Soooooo I HATED the idea of testing and tracking elementary students’ work my first few years in teaching. I refused. I was told I had to. I whined about it. (500 students, how am I supposed to track 500 students?!?!? And a diagnostic in art? Please, I see them once a week. I am not wasting my time giving a test.) I was a pain. But, I’m going to tell you a secret. This year, I did it voluntarily. Whaaaaat? I know.
If we go back on over to my Things to Consider Fixing list, you will notice that I wanted to be better at returning work and having the kiddos more aware of their progress. Which means…I need to be aware of their progress. Like, solidly. So, I buckled down and created a skills-based diagnostic and stole some individual trackers from the great Jacob Carroll, that I altered to meet my needs, and voila, a system is underway. I figured I would share a few of my new documents and systems with you in case you too have been a skeptic and need a little boost to get started.
So first, the diagnostic(s)
For my first day, I gave these to the kids after I went over expectations. But then I realized that did not work and they left a ton blank (which you can see in the tracker later). So, I switched up my game plan and decided to give it to them as Do Nows over the course of the first month. I had the third graders do the drawings on their own and then read through the bottom 3 questions. For the 4th-6th graders I had them do page 1 on week 1, page 2, week 2 and will continue on with that next week. I was hoping to have them out of the way sooner but this seems to be a more effective way to get actual answers so I’ll go with it…
Once they have all of the questions done, I will go through and grade them, recording each skill in my classroom tracker. I use a pretty basic one that I just manually do all kinds of stuff to because that is what works for me (see below) but there is also one found at http://tfahumanities.wordpress.com/art/ that is really wonderful if you like the visuals.
After that, I am having the kids record their diagnostic score (3rd is only recording their drawing level which is based on this cognitive growth rubric 2011.ECEArt.CognitiveGrowthRubric and 4th-6th will be the actual number of points they got correct on the test) on the top section of their personal growth tracker which is stapled into their portfolio.
Stuff is given back to them through this little system that I developed (student helpers pass out the papers in their teacher’s clip) and progress is recorded once a month as a Do Now.
Finally, they will also use these personal trackers to keep tabs on their project scores once we get started with TAB stuff and will take the same test I gave at the beginning of the year as a summative so they can see how (hopefully) awesome they are growth wise!
Phew. That was a lot. But hopefully a good look at how I am tackling a widely misunderstood but helpful-once-you-use-it classroom strategy.