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School Goals 2

GOAL #2: 100% of teachers show evidence of utilizing data analysis tools in order to improve student achievement.

When I was in graduate school working on my Masters of Science, I learned to become quite proficient at statistics.  I took a wide variety of these courses because they were interesting and I loved "diving into the data".

I take this same approach with my classroom.  Although I am still learning all of the ways Brightspace collects data for my perusal, I have grown quite accustomed to viewing specific data sets for my students.  I have no doubt that as my time with Georgia Virtual increases, so will my utilization of the wide variety of data provided in TheSIS and Brightspace.  

For a more in-depth look at how I've used data to inform my instruction this semester, please view the Data Analysis page on my ePortfolio.  Below are a few examples that are most applicable to Goal #2:

Tracking Weekly Progress
I created this document to track my at-risk students' progress.  Once a student has a failing grade, they make it onto this list and I continue to track them for the rest of the semester.  If their square is grey, that means they were transferred to a different session and the new session hasn't started yet.  If their square is red, that means they are failing that week.  If the square is green or yellow, they have a grade in the 80s or 70s, respectively.

Some students are "in the red" for a short time, others spend the bulk or all of the semester in red, and some fall in and out of the red all semester.  This is a way I can keep track of my at-risk students, their contact, their weekly grade, and whether they turned in all of their assignments that week.  Some students spend many weeks working their way "out of the red".  With this spreadsheet, I can see their progress at a glance.

I also make a note of whether they are served by the Special Needs Department and their assigned Special Needs teacher.

Assignment Spreadsheet
I got the idea for this spreadsheet from one of our Just in Time sessions this semester.  I have all my students in here and their assignments and due dates organized by color.  I also have the type of assignment and the module each assignment belong to in this spreadsheet.  

Once a student turns in an assignment, they get an "X" for that assignment.  On Thursday, if they haven't turned it in, they get a "0" for that assignment.  If they turn in the assignment late, I put an "L1" (one day late), "L2" (two days late), or "L3" (three days late) in for that assignment.  If a student has a Thursday extension and turns in the assignment on Thursday, I still mark an "L1" in that space because that lets me know that they are utilizing that extension.

This helps me see at a glance which students are turning in their work on time, which turn it in late, and which don't turn in their work at all.  That way, if a parent or facilitator asks me about a students' progress, I can look at this spreadsheet and easily see if they are turning in their work on time.  If they are turning in their work on time, I can look deeper to see if they are failing tests or if they are having trouble following directions, or what exactly is causing their grade to be lower than it should be.  If they have lots of "0s/L1/L2/L3", I know that the FIRST thing we need to do to improve their grade is getting them to hand in their assignments ON TIME.  Once they are turning in assignments, it will be easier to see if their low grade is due to something else.  Most of the time, from my experience, low grades, especially failing grades, are due to not turning in assignments on time (number 1 cause of low grades) AND/OR not taking their time on their assignments, especially tests and quizzes (number 2 cause of low grades).

Within this same spreadsheet, to the far right, I track some additional information:
This lets me see how they are doing on their bi-weekly progress reports.  For example, you can see that the student on the top row has had a failing grade at every progress report, but overall, is making progress in the positive direction.  This is what I want to see.  Sometimes, when a student has a failing grade, it takes quite a few weeks to bring that grade above 70 again.  But I like to see that they are at least making progress in a positive direction.  This particular student started the semester only turning in about half of her assignments, then she started turning in all of them, but late.  Just recently she started turning in her assignments on time.  She's cutting it to the wire, but if she does well on the remaining assignments for the semester and the final exam, she will probably be able to bring her grade above passing by the end of the semester.

I also track the non-failing students this way, but only by color, not by number grade.  If a student has a grade in the 70s, they are yellow; if their grade is green, its in the 80s; and if their grade is in the 90s, they are blue.  This lets me see if my not necessarily at-risk students are improving, slipping, etc.

For example, the student 8 rows down, had a failing grade for 2 progress reports (4 weeks), then a passing grade in the 70s for two progress reports (4 weeks), and this last progress report had a grade in the 80s.  She started out rough, but has shown consistent progress in the positive direction, so I'm proud of her for that.

Assignment Heat Map
These images are the far left side of the heat map I was able to generate in Brightspace of my students' grades.  The far right assignments aren't shown, but it gives a general idea of what the assignments look like.  The darker red a grade, the higher it is.  The more blue/purple a grade, the lower it is.  So the assignments on the far left were the worst, grade-wise for my students.

Interestingly, the assignment that I thought would be the worst was only the second worst assignment.  This assignment was known as the "Investigating Charges Virtual Lab".  The instructions for this lab were terrible and it was one of the first assignments this semester.  I re-wrote them and posted a News announcement about it, posted the revised document in the dropbox folder, and in the User Links section.  In addition, I actually walked the students through the lab during one of the synchronous Adobe sessions.  However, despite all that, many students refused to look at the revised document, didn't watch the synchronous session recording, or simply didn't ask for help when they didn't understand the assignment.  As a result, the grades for this assignment were pretty terrible.  I'd already been thinking about dropping the assignment because of all of this.

Three of the top 4 worst assignments, grade-wise were hands on labs.  These are labs where the students actually have to step away from their computers and collect data or build something or do some sort of investigation.  It usually involves materials they can collect from around their homes.  If this wasn't bad enough (from a student's point of view), they also have to write a lab report about the lab and answer questions.  The lab report must have the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Data, Results, Conclusion, Questions.  There is a sample lab report with the format laid out in the course and I've attached this sample to each dropbox folder.  I've also created a rubric for each one and attached the rubric to the dropbox folder as a PDF.  Yet, still, the students still refuse to follow the formatting guidelines, draw pictures when requested, take a picture of themselves doing the lab (10% of their grade), or simply turn them in.  From this, I can see that I should probably devote a synchronous session at the beginning of the semester entirely to Hands on Labs.  They probably wouldn't watch the recording (see the Investigating Charge Lab above), but at least I would have another resource available for them.

At the end of the semester, I also used this heat map to decide which 3 assignments I was going to drop for the students.  The three worst assignments, grade-wise, were the Investigating Charge Lab (mentioned above), the Waves Hands on Lab, and the Electromagnet Hands on Lab.  If/When I decide to drop assignments, these will be the three I will drop.