Thursday, April 19, 2012

Student Achievement through Checking for Understanding

A Post on Student Achievement Best Practices

 By Sara Campbell, Chemistry Teacher

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Student achievement best practices include drawing relationships to the world around us and letting students help each other.
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A lot of times it is easy to forget that achievement is more than a number.  It is students understanding of the concept and their explanation that truly determine achievement.  As a chemistry teacher I am lucky enough to have the same students the entire year.  Just like Amy I also have a questionnaire that I give my students.  I sue this questionnaire to see what their interests are.   This allows me to tie the chemistry aspect into a real life application in order to give them something they can understand. 

Whether they test good or bad, I always have my student’s "pair share" certain topics.  This allows me to see what they truly understand.  I also use whiteboard when we are working out problems or discussing new topics.  The whiteboards are a great way to check for understanding.  In my class, all whiteboards must have something written on them.  If they do not know the answer then they must write what part of the topic they are struggling with.  Not knowing is not an option in my classroom. 

Last Friday, I gave my students a 15 quiz questions.  The averages for all four of my classes ranged from a 55-65.  Knowing that this was not acceptable I decided to review the main objectives and my students go over each of the quiz questions.  They each had to defend why they choose that answer.  If it was not the correct answer then as a class we collectively decipher not only what the correct answer but why it is that answer. 

My name is Sara Campbell and I am a 2nd year chemistry teacher.  I am working on my pre-Ap and AP certifications this summer. I currently teach 11th graders and love every minute of it.  Teaching is a rewarding experience and I look forward to it every day.  My goals are to increase the rigor and grow as teacher in any way that I can.

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