P3: Practice standards-based assessment. This standard means not only aligning assessments to standards, but also using a variety of informal as well as formal assessments to elicit student voice and measure student progress toward learning targets and standards. During my internship, I frequently used both “Exit Tickets” as a way of encouraging students to self-asses their participation and personal progress toward the learning objective, but also to elicit student voice and receive feedback regarding what students learned during the lesson as well as where students feel they still need support or clarification. After reading through each “Exit Ticket,” I had a better understanding of where students were in relation to the learning objective and how I might tweak my lesson or activity for the following day in order to fill in gaps in academic knowledge or provide additional support or practice for the development of particular skills. When used effectively, student voice and feedback should inform teaching practices to improve student understanding.
The example above is an “Exit Ticket” written by a junior student during our study of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. During the “Entrance Ticket” from the beginning of the lesson, students expressed confusion over the differences between themes and subjects, so I gave a mini-lesson on theme before we analyzed the first short story in the novel for potential themes. This student believes she successfully met the learning objective, evaluates her participation in the practice activity, and then explains how her understanding of truth was expanded, challenged, or changed as a result of the lesson activities and discussion. Moving forward, I will continue to use a variety of informal and formal assessments in order to monitor student progress toward standards and goals. It was encouraging to me watching students come to the realization that I was reading their “Entrance Tickets” and “Exit Tickets,” listening to what they needed and providing specific support. These informal pre and post assessments employ student voice in order to inform my teaching, but also teach students how to self-asses, giving them a stake in their own learning and achievement.