This is an excerpt from Everyone Can! by Luke E. Kelly,Janet A. Wessel,Gail M. DummerT & homas Sampson.
Set Student Initial and Target Learning Expectations
The purpose of collecting initial assessment data is to provide teachers with information regarding the instructional needs of their students. This information is then used to make a variety of implementation planning decisions, such as setting student learning expectations, grouping students with common instructional needs, identifying instructional priorities, and selecting appropriate learning activities. The results of these decisions culminate in a plan called a teaching template. To begin this process, the first step is to review and interpret the student assessment data. Figure 3.1 shows a scoresheet for the catch that contains student initial entry assessment data. It can be initially overwhelming to see this array of Xs and Os, but interpretation is simplified by making a series of systematic decisions.
Initial Learning Expectations
The initial decision is to determine which focal point each student needs to work on first, which is done by reviewing each student’s initial assessment score and marking the focal point the student is closest to achieving next by shading in the box lightly with a colored pencil. Remember to consider your ACE ratings and to review any comments you made on the scoresheet during assessment. For example, a review of the scoresheet in figure 3.1 reveals that Andrew is trapping the ball between the palms of his hands and not fully using his fingers to control the ball (focal point c). He is also not bending his elbows to retract the arms and help absorb the force of the ball when catching (focal point d). The decision is that with a little instruction this student can learn to flex his fingers and use them when catching the ball. So instruction begins with a focus on catching with the fingers. Because this is the first focal point that Andrew needs to learn for this objective, this box on the scoresheet is shaded in with small dots. When this focal point is achieved, the scoresheet will be updated (i.e., an X placed over the initial O) and then work begun on retracting the arms to absorb force. Figure 3.2 shows a catch scoresheet with the initial learning expectations for each student indicated by a dotted pattern. Note we have used a dotted background pattern to represent shading in figure 3.2 because it is not in color.
Target Learning Expectations
The next decision to make is how much progress students are expected to make during the current instruction block. Although mastery of all focal points is the ultimate goal, many students require multiple blocks and in many cases multiple years of instruction to achieve some objectives. Target learning expectations are designed to indicate how much progress the teacher expects each student to make during the current theme block. Target learning expectations must be set individually for each student and depend on several considerations:
- How close the student is to achieving the focal points
- The amount of instruction time available
- Characteristics of the focal points (some focal points are learned more easily than others)
- ACE characteristics
- Size of area available and its characteristics
- Equipment suitability and availability
- Number of teachers and teacher aides available
- Ability of students to work in groups
- Level of assistance needed
Target learning expectancies are recorded using the same method used for the initial target expectations except that a different color is used to shade the focal points. Note we have used a different background pattern (i.e., thin lines) in figure 3.3 to represent a different color. Depending on the ability level of the students and the length of the instruction block, it might be common to mark two or more focal points as the target learning expectations for certain students. Review of figure 3.3 reveals that Ahmad, Megan, and Peter have each been targeted to achieve two focal points during this instruction block. Figure 3.3 shows a catch scoresheet with target learning expectations marked with thin vertical lines for each student.
Recording initial and target learning expectations for each student provides a baseline that is important for interpreting student progress and teacher effectiveness (discussed in chapter 5 on evaluation). The point to be stressed here is that if you do not record initial and target learning expectations you will have a tough time evaluating student progress and your teaching effectiveness at the conclusion of the instruction block.
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