Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On student achievement

This week, the scores from the last benchmark assessments went out. My students did great! They showed tremendous improvement from their baseline scores. Students who scored proficient or advanced in the DC BAS in my school were given a ticket to dress down last Wednesday to reward them because they made a difference for working hard. In one of the general ed classes where I do inclusion (just started this January), only five students were dressed down that day, and three of them were students with special needs who come to my resource class for intervention. As a result, they started getting respect from other students who were calling them "special ed!" or other names to embarrass them. Teachers learned that everyone can learn, achieve and become successful with the right instruction, given appropriate resources and positive supports.

In my school, with our last benchmark assessments results, I have seen tremendous progress from those students who are being taught by excellent teachers; teachers who believe in their students, who have high expectations for them, who teach creatively implementing instructional best practices...their scores were so high!

Some students who scored below basic have the capability to achieve, but their self confidence was very low. I remember when I was still in school, I was an honor student but I performed poorly with teachers who did not challenge me and who were always embarrassing and putting my classmates down. I would never ever forget my math teacher, learning was horrible in his classroom. He was the reason why I still hate and I am still poor in math up to now.

I have some things to say about how excellent teachers, given the appropriate resources and right supports, can impact student achievement based from data, observation and experience. I want to let this out but I will have to stop right here.

Back to state assessments...a 10-year teaching veteran is offering tips on how to prepare students for standardized tests without sacrificing curriculum and teaching time. Heather Wolpert-Gawron suggests that students practice filling answer bubbles, learn common test terms, have goals and be confident. Edutopia.org

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