Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Math Benchmark Tracking

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Hello Teacher Friends,
I have been obsessed with tracking data with my students. This is just one of many posts about our charts and graphs. Today my class took the student report generated by Achievement Series and converted it to a scatterplot. Achievement Series is the web-based computer program our district uses to administer benchmark tests. The data was from each student's math benchmark test for the beginning of the year.

I don't have my Marzano information handy, but I am pretty sure that students charting their own data can really improve student achievement. I should look up the actual percent that he sites. Here is a link to his book, The Art and Science of Teaching (affiliate). This was the first Marzano book I ever liked. It is easy to understand and a great basic explanation of the concepts in his framework.

Here is what our charts look like:
Look at 5.1! Converting measurements is always a standard we do extra work on.

I was surprised at our data for using a formula for perimeter and area. I know we did lots of work on this last year. (FYI: I looped with most of this class from 4th to 5th this year)

Yay! We rocked integers, polygons, and division!
I listed the 19 standards on the test. The sections are divided into percentages. 0-59% is red, but we used pink post-it's since I didn't have red. 60-79% is yellow. 80-100% is green. We cut regular small post-its into three smaller strips so we would be able to fit all post-its in each section. If I were going to do this again, I would use Super Sticky Post It Notes (affiliate). The regular Post It Notes seemed to fall off of the chart paper A LOT. 

Things we talked about as we prepared to plot our data:
  • knowing what we did good at and not so good at will help Mrs. Caldwell plan lessons and know what to teach us
  • knowing what we did good at and not so good will help us know when we learned something after we plot our mid-year test.
  • We are not plotting to make anyone feel bad. We are only plotting to help us know how we did
  • Sometimes people got a better score because they are better at guessing and eliminating answers. We can also practice this
  • Some of the questions on the test were about math we haven't learned yet
  • We will take the exact same test in the middle of the year and at the end as we did at the beginning
  • If you got a 30% on the assessment at the beginning of the year, it means you already knew 30% of the math we are supposed to learn in 5th grade..BEFORE we even had most of our lessons
How we got the graph done without making me pull my hair out:
Each kid was in charge of using their own report. Each report was structured from highest to lowest percentage on each standard. They looked at each standard and used the percentage of questions correct for that standard to decide what color post-it to use. They then placed the post-it on the correct color for that standard. They did this for all 19 standards.

Something I really wanted to be able to do was use this data to drive instruction. I wanted to be able to use it  to design whole group, small group, and individual lessons. What I didn't want was for the students to be able to look at the post-its and know whose data they were looking at. These charts will remain posted in the classroom.

What I ended up doing was asking all the kids to assign themselves a random four digit number. They wrote that number on each post-it they used. They also wrote their names and their 4-digit number on a post-it that I placed in a manila folder to use as a reference. If you look closely, you can see their numbers on the scatterplots. This way, I can pull individual kids if I need to!

I haven't had much time to analyze this data. I think that since we had such success tracking the data as a class, we should analyze it together too! What do you think?

What do you do to track data and drive instruction?


  1. I love this idea! We are using Marzao scales at our school this year and I think this will help me present it. I am your newest follower!

  2. This is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! I teach 6th grade math and always use data to drive my instruction, however, I LOVE how your chart is kid-friendly and still practical to use.

    I Mustache the Teacher

  3. We are going to move our post-its based on the new benchmark tomorrow! I am kind of nervous. I'll let you know how it goes. I am looking for a way to get the post-its to stick better. We are all washing our hands first this time and focusing on not touching the sticky part. Thanks for the comment. I am heading to check you out now:)

  4. I did something similar using a bullseye white on the outside, and yellow then blue and then red in the center and allowed the students to place their arrow on the part where their scores were... with a secret code so others wouldn't know which was their arrow. They liked being able to see where they were in relation to the rest of the class. I have a private conference with each student and allow them to move their arrows three times a year after each test. They really liked being able to see how they were doing and knowing they had the power to move their arrow. I like how you are doing this for each standard, I was just doing it with the general categories of math and reading. I made the arrows out of cut rhombuses from our diecutter, red for math and blue for reading and we stuck them to the chart using a little bit of blue poster goo and each trimester they could move their arrow if their scores improved.

  5. Were any students embarrassed about having their scores posted? I can't see that their exact scores were posted but since I will be student teaching and am looking for a way to track students work I wondered if posting in front of the class upset anyone.

    1. Yes, I wonder this also. I have found that many times it is the same child that is the lowest in all standards. I really like it but what I usually do is have students track their own data privately and take a percent of the whole class for public display.

  6. I'm looping up with my fourth graders to fifth grade next year. I AM SOOOOO EXCITED TO USE THIS STRATEGY!
    I absolutely love this idea and am so appreciative for teachers (like you) that are willing to share ideas!! :)

  7. I'm a huge believe in data collection and often do my own personal look at how each student stacks up per question... but students track their own, it's separated from each other and private. This is interesting. I'm going to have to let this one soak in my brain and figure out how I'm going to tackle this one for the coming year. It's wonderful... I've just gotta figure out how to compile the assessment without screwing with my district assessments too.

  8. I really like your photo for the benchmark goals. I'd like your permission to use the photo in a workbook I'm writing for Learning Sciences. Please let me know if you are ok with me using this picture. Thanks! Kelly Harmon

    1. Hi Kelly! I attempted to reply to you via email. I would consider giving permission, depending on the context in which the photo would be used.

  9. This is so AWESOME!!! I've wanted a "data center" in my room, but I wanted a way to make it anonymous and this is a great idea!

  10. Hi Brandi,

    I am trying to complete this awesome idea digitally through google spreadsheets...any suggestions or have you seen this done before?


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