“The Student Didn’t Study”

Since my last blogpost, I handed back my assessments with no grades. Students tried to decode the wonderful stamps at the top with no luck. What happened? The world didn’t end and students read the feedback. They corrected their mistakes and I scored them. It was great.

In my quest for constant improvement, the goal is to give kids complete control of their learning.  Students should feel empowered to want to learn, taking on the responsibility for self guidance. I gave an assessment to my 7th graders this week and something happened. I put a question on the assessment in which students were asked to identify an outlier of a set of data (if there was one) and then answer this:

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 5.54.51 PM

If you don’t know much about statistics, an outlier is a number that is set apart from the rest. In this particular set of data, there were numerous assessment scores and one score was 43%, a very low score compared to the rest of the scores.

I looked over all my student’s responses and nothing stuck out. That is until a colleague pointed something out to me. I then realized what I was looking at. Every student had written a variation of a similar response to the statement. Not a few, not most but all.  Here are two such examples:

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 6.03.07 PM  Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 6.02.14 PM

Why are those important? If students viewed their teacher as the way they learned, they could easily have said, “the teacher didn’t explain the material well enough” or “the class didn’t understand it.” The student could have put the blame on someone else but every one of these students put the responsibility on the individual. Some students said, “The student wasn’t responsible” or “The student …”

I was thrilled. Was it really that mindshift I was hoping of? Was this an indication that students looked at themselves as the pivotal aspect of their education? I sure hope this was an indication. You see, the students feel it is their responsibility. They have the ownership over their education. Not me. Why should I get in the way? I present the material and let them have it.

The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without his teacher.

~Elbert Hubbard

Posted on February 28, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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