Marzano Best Practices: Tip #7

Friday, June 27, 2014 -- Mandy Groen

The 13 tips for online learning identified in a study conducted by the Marzano Research Laboratory (MRL) are grouped into three categories: strategies involving routine events, strategies enacted on the spot, and strategies addressing content. Today’s tip, Tip #7, kicks off the set of tips in the strategies enacted on the spot category. 

The study, A Study of Best Practices in Edmentum Online Solutions, evaluated the relationship between student learning and effective teacher pedagogical practices in online learning. The study specifically looked at Edmentum’s online solutions in three instructional settings—pure virtual, blended, and classroom/lab—across four purposes: original credit, credit recovery, intervention, and Advanced Placement®.

Tip #7: Monitoring student work

Without an accurate view of student progress, classroom decision making is nearly impossible. Are the learners ready to move to the next unit? Who needs some remediation? Assessments are a good way of monitoring student work. Both formative and summative assessments can be used.

The goal of monitoring student work is to find out how much progress the students have made in relation to the initial goals you set. Organizing that progress into a four- or five-point scale can help you and the students see that progress.

What are the best practices when monitoring your learners’ work?

There are many ways to assess learning without adding to the grading pile. Informal assessment needs to occur regularly during every lesson. Although this form of monitoring usually comes in the form of discussion and circulating the room while the students are working, there are plenty of other informal strategies available. Familiarize yourself with these strategies, and watch the status of the class become increasingly clear.

What tools are available to help monitor student work?

Empowering your learners to keep their own portfolios of completed work and projects helps engage them in their own progress. Giving the students a broad overview of their progress throughout the year can serve as a powerful motivator. It also gives you evidence of learning during parent conferences and evaluations.

Most schools use some sort of online learning management system (LMS) to share grades with students and parents virtually. Try to keep your online gradebook updated as best as you can and leave enlightening comments when possible. Most online curricula, whether used for enrichment, remediation, or assessment, will have significant reporting capabilities as well.

Are there any major roadblocks to look out for when monitoring your learners’ work?

Teachers put a lot of pressure on themselves when it comes to grading, thinking that’s the only way to get an accurate assessment of student progress. If the grading pile is too high, some teachers forego opportunities that could be helpful in informing instruction. Monitoring progress need not involve much grading—or any at all.

Want to see more of the instructional strategies the Marzano Research Laboratory determined in the study? See all 13 Marzano best practices in online learning here.

See the full blog post on tip #1: Communicating course/assignment rules and procedures

See the full blog post on tip #2: Providing students with all materials needed to complete an assignment

See the full blog post on tip #3: Clearly presenting the goal/objective for each assignment

See the full blog post on tip #4: Offering encouragement and positive feedback to students

See the full blog post on tip #5: Allowing students to keep track of their learning progress

See the full blog post on tip #6: Accessibility to students via electronic communication as well as face-to-face

 

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