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Avoiding the Post-Assessment Coast

Avoiding the Post-Assessment Coast

You can forgive students for taking a huge sigh of relief once the last test booklet has been turned in at the end of assessment season. The majority of the time they spent in your class was focused on spring success. Now that they have (hopefully) achieved that goal, it seems like it’s all downhill until June.

While the stakes might not be as high, there is still valuable work to be done that can set your students up for success next year and beyond, as long as they can focus. Here are some things to consider for a productive post-assessment period.

Provide More Self-Directed Learning

When you have input into what’s going on, you are naturally more engaged with the process. That is true for students as well as anyone else.

Look for ways to offer your students more choice as they accomplish the remaining learning goals. If possible, allow them to even set some of those goals. At the minimum, investigate alternative assessment strategies, and give them choices in how they want to track their progress. If class time at the end of the school year can be used to better reflect student learning styles and interests, the more likely they stay engaged.

Practice Progress Monitoring 

The ability for students to monitor their own progress toward their learning goals is a skill that will pay off throughout their careers. If they are given more choice in assessment, it’s logical for them to be able to monitor their progress using those assessments.

Even if students have not been provided with many opportunities for progress monitoring over the course of the year, set aside some time for them to gather the evidence necessary to prove that they experienced the appropriate growth during the year, then let them lead a conference with you (and others, if possible) to present their findings.

Encourage More Individual Sharing

Your curriculum and pacing guide may not have left much room for students to express themselves. Providing such opportunities is a way to keep students interested.

The classic example of this is practicing communication skills by sharing a hobby or sport that students enjoy. For the more introverted students, the simple act of being able to show videos of choice from YouTube for a presentation or during class time can serve as a motivator and a way to provide choice.

Spend Some Time at the Next Level 

What if your students could see what the next school year will be like before September? Wouldn’t seeing what will be expected of them serve as motivation for students to catch up or keep up from the safety of your classroom (and gradebook)?

Although it will take some organization and logistical planning, try to arrange for your students to spend some time observing or even participating in a class or two at the next level. They will see what will be expected of them next year, get to meet their new teacher, and alleviate some of the anxiety that always comes with a new experience.

Interesting in finding out ways to keep students engaged throughout the summer? Check out these Best Practices in Assigning Summer Learning!