Saturday, January 19, 2013

12-13 1st semester student feedback: "Overall Student Feedback"

Response totals from my 159 students this year.  This includes BOTH Math Analysis Honors (11th-12th graders) as well as Algebra 1 CP (9th-10th graders).  I did not separate the results.  (Updated on February 16th, 2013)

To see the links to all survey question responses, please go here.

The percentage of students in "Always" and "Most of the Time" increased from my mid-survey (70 students) check (57% to 65%).  Some changes I have implemented this semester with the discussions:
  • Writing "new" discussion questions based on WSQ responses from previous night.  Students didn't like having to re-discuss the same questions they already went over.  So, if there was one question that most people were confused on, that goes back on the list to discuss in class, but otherwise I try to come up with some HOTter (Higher-Order Thinking) questions for them to discuss with my assistance as needed.
  • Re-instating "time limits" for discussions.  This next week I will start using the visible timer on screen as well (have to figure out logistics as I have the questions on the screen and can't project the time as well...)
  • For my Algebra 1 students, I am holding them accountable to actually taking notes from the discussion on lined paper.  I'm hoping this re-engages some of the students to participating since I will be checking.
The percentage of "Always" decreased from 61% to 48%... and it makes sense, since the students who generally do what they are supposed to on time (hence they always watch the videos on time) also did the survey on time :)
The percentage of students in the top two categories decreased from 94% of responses to 89%.  Still, these are tremendous responses.  Only 12 students who are "not really trying" and 6 in the other category, which basically means they wrote me a narrative reason instead of selecting the choices.  Here are some of the "other" comments:
  • Depends on how much homework I have in each class. If I have little, I focus my attention to Chem and Math
  • I put in a huge effort to catch up, thank you!
  • I'm not really trying but I promise 2nd semester will be good :)
  • Senioritis 
  • Some days i try and others I'm to tired.

While a student's self-evaluation is important, there's also a lot of learning and training that needs to happen for my students to reach their potential.  I still have not figured out how to truly hold them accountable for quality responses on their WSQs, something I didn't encounter as much last year because they were handwritten and I didn't really read them closely every day.  Since they are in the Google Form now, I can read them as much or as little as I want.  

One thing that has helped my Algebra 1 students is providing them with sentence frames to start their responses with.  However, a lot of the responses are rushed, don't really answer the guided summary questions, and miss the point.  
It makes me wonder sometimes when I ask a question that was basically the main point of the video and they didn't get it right - did they really not get it, was it not taught clearly, or were they just not paying attention?

These percentages have stayed about the same, and this is where I want them to be.  I'm going to have those students who don't really need my help.  26% is pretty high, it would be nice to break it down by class, but that will take a little time I don't have nice for in this post tonight :).  
I did break the "I'm not really trying" down by class and it was even - 8 MA and 9 Alg1 (although I do have 30 more MA students than Alg1).

I'm still not that satisfied with class time in Algebra 1 right now.  Math Analysis - for the most part I love it.  My kids are having great discussions and I love the few different real-life and inquiry activities I have been able to incorporate in the last few units.  I'm looking forward to continuing to build more into the lessons as the years go on!  Math Analysis is not without it's trials, however.  I have found that students still need structure, guidance, and deadlines.  I have really had to figure out the balance between freedom and responsibility (hence my post titled that...).  But, all in all they are really coming along, adjusting, and working hard.
Algebra 1...another story.  At this point in the year, I feel like routines should be in place.  Well, they are... but I mean that students should have the routines figured out.  Many of them do, but enough of them still don't to drive me crazy.  Finally, with permission from my admin, I separated the kids out and the "distracting" students that never really work are off to the side and all the students in groups are ones that focus and do their best (still heterogenous grade-wise though).  If a student in a group is not working or following directions, they are moved to the side for the day.  The next day they get another try.  We are only 3 days in, but it's been going okay.  I've had a few students from the "side" tell me that they actually like working better by themselves - what a great discovery for them and me! :)  We will see how this continues to go...
Happy with these results, but my question still is... how can I make sure those students who need more help get the help they need?

I have noticed that students don't see the benefit to the writing part of the WSQ at this point.  However, I know they are developing their writing skills and communicating mathematically.  In addition, the written WSQ is really three things:

1) an accountability tool for me to see who has really watched it;

2) a tool that guides the discussion and tells me what I want the students to talk about and lets me know if we need to go over something as a whole class;

3) a processing tool for the students to think about the material, even if sometimes they feel like they are "spitting it back out", they have to understand it a little in order to do that clearly and concisely. 

After seeing these results, I really thought through "What's the Point" of the assignments I give my students.  I realized that while the purpose was clear to me, it wasn't always clear to my students.  This really applies to the "student videos" part.  Some of those numbers are skewed because my Alg1 students only did 1 student video in the semester and it was a little messy because of the technology and then we didn't really talk about them.  So, about 15 of those 55 responses were from Alg1 students and I don't really feel like that accurately depicts the situation.  For Math Analysis, I really took their thoughts seriously and went over in class WHY we do certain things... What is the purpose of the videos? (not for "extra practice" for them, as they thought - but as a form of assessment.  Once they heard this, a lot of lightbulbs turned on).  What is the purpose of the quizzes?  What is the purpose of the WSQ at home and then in class?  It was really a great conversation and reminds me that I need to do that more at the beginning of the year and whenever I introduce something new. 

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