Mention the word ‘data’ in a staff meeting and you’ll see teachers stifle eye rolls and sighs. Because we know what’s coming next…graphs and charts depicting test scores from the prior school year or quarter showing us all the ways in which our students didn’t meet the districts’ lofty goals. This isn’t the kind of data I want to talk about today. I want to talk about data that is meaningful and student-driven.
Data collection and analysis is part of the ISTE Coaching Standard 2h, “…model effective use of technology tools and resources to systematically collect and analyze student achievement data.” Being a self-professed Google junkie, I knew I wanted to cover Google Forms for this post. Then, after researching the many ways Google Forms can be used for data collection, I discovered a post on the blog Lindsay Ann Learning which suggested using Forms for student self-assessment. I’ve used Forms to gather and analyze multiple choice data, but this post opened my eyes to new ways to use Forms for data. It also challenged me to consider how I define “quality” data. Is it the percentage of students who chose the correct letter answer, or is it growth over time as defined by a much broader set of standards and demonstrated through reflection?
What is meaningful self-assessment?
- A process in which students “1) monitor and evaluate the quality of their thinking and behavior when learning and 2) identify strategies that improve their understanding and skills. That is, self-assessment occurs when students judge their own work to improve performance as they identify discrepancies between current and desired performance.” (McMillan & Hearn, 2008)
Why student-driven data?
- Students regularly provided with the opportunity to self-assess and reflect on their own learning are more likely to recognize the elements that led to success: hard work, effort, and studying. (Fernandes & Fontana, 1996)
New Data Idea 1: Collect data in the form of student reflection
To test out this new way of collecting data, I made a sample Research Project Self-Assessment in Google Forms. I incorporated the advice shared on Lindsay Ann Learning including using linear scales with an odd number of choices (to ensure no middle-line stances), incorporating open and close-ended questions, and writing questions designed to measure self-perception of learning. Here’s what data from that self-assessment might look like:
Class-wide data as seen from Google Form Responses tab
Sample student report with change over time (click to enlarge)
New Data Idea 2: Give the power of the rubric to students
Rubrics. I have a love-hate relationship with them. Why? They’re so helpful in understanding where a student is at and why, yet almost no student actually reads through them! That’s why I appreciated Jennifer Roberts’ idea. As part of her Memoir Self-Reflection (which you can make a copy of here), students must read through her rubric and rate themselves on each element.
Photo credit: Google Form ‘Memoir Self Evaluation’ made by Jennifer Roberts
Research supports the value of rubrics in helping students meet learning goals. As stated by McMillan and Hearn: “[P]roviding evaluation criteria through rubrics…helps students concretely understand outcomes and expectations. They then begin to understand and internalize the steps necessary to meet the goals.” (2008)
New Data Idea 3: Exit tickets for quick reflection
Exit tickets as formative assessment are nothing new in education. However, using Google Forms to streamline this process can help you easily gauge how students feel about their own learning after a lesson. Here’s a sample Exit Ticket I made. Taking a minute at the end of class to allow students to self-assess can inform instruction before you dive into assessments and projects with a large portion of your class potentially in the dark.
Self-assessment data should drive instruction in your class in the same way that traditional high-stakes testing instruction should. Below are some next-steps you might consider when using self-assessment data to drive instruction.
Fernandes, M., & Fontana, D. (1996). Changes in control beliefs in Portuguese primary school pupils as a consequence of the employment of self-assessment strategies. British Journal Of Educational Psychology, 66(3), 301-313. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8279.1996.tb01199.x
Google Forms for Data Collection. (2016). Retrieved from https://lindsayannlearning.com/student-data-google-forms/
McMillan, J., & Hearn, J. (2008). Student Self-Assessment: The Key to Stronger Student Motivation and Higher Achievement. Educational Horizons, 40. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ815370.pdf
Roberts, J. (2017). Self-Evaluation Google Form for Students. Retrieved from http://www.litandtech.com/2017/09/self-evaluation-google-form-for-students.html