In my student teaching internship, I assessed students in a variety of ways. These included informal and low stakes assessments, formative and summative assessments. I did a unit on the American Revolution with my seventh grade social studies classes. The formal pre- and post-assessments align with the central focus and essential question of the whole lesson sequence (Students are identifying cause and effect relationships between the events leading to the American Revolution. Their essential question is “What caused each revolutionary moment, and what effect did that moment have on the road to revolution?”). It also aligns with two Washington state grade level expectations for social studies; GLE Social Studies 4.2.1 “Understands and analyzes how individuals and movements have shaped Washington State or world history” as well as GLE Social Studies 4.3.2 “Analyzes multiple causal factors that shape major events in Washington State or world history”. The assessment asks students to identify three causes and effects (of their choosing) that led to the American Revolution, and then asks them to identify the four key events that are the focus of the lesson sequence (Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, Lexington & Concord, and Sugar Act/Liberty Incident).
The following bar graph shows the pre-assessment scores (blue) and the post-assessment scores (orange) for each student. The pre-assessment was taken at the beginning of the lesson sequence (Lesson 1) and the same assessment was given as a post-assessment (end of lesson 5). I was very transparent with the students and told them the pre-assessment is identical to the post-assessment. I made it clear that I was not trying to trick or surprise them and instead wanted to set them up for success. This data shows that all students made significant gains.
The bar graph below shows the class average on the pre-assessment compared to the post-assessment. The class average on the pre-test was 17.69%. The class average on the post-test was 74.70%. This is class growth of 57.01% between the pre-assessment and the post-assessment.
All students scored highest on the Boston Massacre question and on their cause and effect question if they used the Boston Massacre as the event. I believe this is due to Lesson 3 in which we spent a lot of time discussing the event in detail and then students did a blame ranking activity individually and in small groups. This was followed up by a whole class discussion. This was clearly effective in helping students remember the four groups involved in the Boston Massacre and in identifying the cause and effect relationship between events connected to it. Students commonly confused the Sugar Act and the Boston Tea Party. Both events involved taxes which caused students to get them mixed up. I didn’t expect this because I thought the names made it obvious (Boston Tea Party involves a tax on Tea, Sugar Act was a tax on goods with sugar), but the data clearly shows that I did not effectively create a distinction between the two events in the minds of my students. The whole class scored highest on the parts of assessment that involved the Boston Massacre. This shows that the ranking activity in Lesson 3 was helpful to student understanding and knowledge of the event as well as the cause and effect within it. This unit came at the end of my student teaching. If I was there for longer, I would have used this data to inform future instruction. It is clear that I need to clarify some of the content before moving on.
In my future classroom, I plan to collect and use data in the same way I did during my student teaching to best meet the needs of my students.