Thursday, February 16, 2017

Following Students

Our system has some procedures in place that give us a chance to follow our students. We can use those procedures to assess some of our efforts and decisions with regard to students' future success.

I've also had the opportunity to follow many students since my own children are in the system, so I've been able to see how students have progressed over the years.

In general, I notice the following:

  • When teachers, parents, and others stand behind a student and support a student through highs and lows, those students tend to achieve well.
  • When students find areas of interest and passion, those students tend to carry that forward and succeed.
  • Students who receive substantial support or have incredible drive seem to outperform our expectations. High expectations appears to play a role in this as it seems that when parents and others have high expectations for students, those students often reach those expectations.
  • Students have to make choices--some who excel in one area will not do quite as well in other areas. Yet, there are students who excel in all areas--they tend to be extraordinary students.
  • Students who have little at-home academic support and other challenging factors tend to struggle, yet some of those students achieve despite those struggles and it would be interesting to dig deeper in that regard. 
Now that my children have almost all graduated from the system, I won't have as much information about the long-term progress of students. I think this information is valuable and I wonder how we might keep track of students in ways that impact our teaching/learning decisions at grade five. 

The most recent data made me realize that the following efforts help a lot:
  • home study support
  • helping students with executive function skills such as completing work, asking questions, being on time, and more
  • regular assessment and response
  • an engaging, standards-based, student-centered program
I'll continue to think on this subject.