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Marzano Best Practices: Tip #5

Marzano Best Practices: Tip #5

This series has been taking a deeper look at a study the Marzano Research Laboratory (MRL) conducted. So far, we have looked at tips #1 through #4 of the 13 total tips identified in the study. Today’s tip, Tip #5: Allowing students to keep track of their learning progress, feels especially relevant as we at Edmentum are introducing our new learner experience this summer (watch a sneak-peek video here).

About the study

This study 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 #5: Allowing students to keep track of their learning progress

Ownership is a major part of the education battle. Students need to feel invested in their progress in order to thrive academically. Hearing about that progress secondhand or thirdhand is not an effective way of generating buy-in.

All students should know where they stand in your class and the curriculum at all times. They should be able to see the scoreboard so they know when to feel proud about keeping up or know when to step it up to avoid falling behind.

When should you allow learners to have insight into their progress?

Remember the old days when the only way to know where you stood in your bank account was to actually reconcile the checkbook? If you weren’t diligent about balancing, you had no idea how much money you had. Now it’s as simple as logging in to your bank’s website.

Not allowing students constant access to their progress data has the same effect. They have no idea where they stand, so they can’t take the appropriate steps for the desired outcome. So when should they have insight into their progress?—24/7.

How can you give learners access to allow them to keep track of their own progress?

Thankfully, most schools and districts employ an online learning management system (LMS) where students can log in to keep track of their grades. If yours is not one of them, make it a point to update students by paper as often as possible.

Another option is regular, quick conferences about a student’s status. Not only does this practice keep them informed, but it also gives you an opportunity to accomplish some of your positive feedback from Marzano Tip #4: Offering encouragement and positive feedback to students.

What might be a stumbling block to success?

Accurate classroom data often comes down to one factor: the speed at which the teacher can grade the incoming work. If the teacher is falling behind, the students cannot be kept up to date on their progress.

Falling behind can happen to every teacher, but there are things you can do to help stem the tide. Use as much automation as possible, either online or through “clicker” programs. Employ lots of rubrics. They make grading easier and set clear goals for learner success.

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


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