Friday, March 20, 2015

Student Progress Monitoring With Google Doc Portfolios

Through my research and classroom experience, I've realized how critical progress monitoring is for students, particularly when they are engaged in mastery learning.  When I first attempted to tackle progress monitoring, it was focused more on the daily routine and classroom management.  This year I have realized that students need a more robust and consistent form of progress monitoring if they are to effectively gauge their skill level and track their progression through the course.

I have actually chosen a rather simple way to have students do this: a Google doc.

Yes, there are digital portfolio platforms and standards-based grading software, but for our purposes, a simple Google Doc helps students set goals, organize their evidence, track progress and reflect upon their learning experiences.

Here is the format for the students' portfolios:
Standard # __ :   [Insert standard description here...]

Evidence:  [Link / describe evidence of proficiency here...]

Reflection:  [What was difficult?  What was easy?  What learning strategies did you use?  What goals will you set moving forward? What feedback do you have for Mr. Driscoll?] 

Below you can see a screenshot from one student's portfolio: 

Another advantage of this is that I can easily access each student's portfolio document through a spreadsheet (via form submission - see screenshot to the right) and provide them with commentary and feedback throughout the semester. This has particularly helped when students start to fall behind.  For example, we just had parent-teacher conferences and I was able to go through each student's portfolio with parents to discuss progress (or lack thereof) and discuss strategies to help get them back on track.

Although this has been a very helpful way for students to organize their evidence and track their progress, I need to rethink how we should approach each unit reflection.  Results on this front have been less than stellar,  more on that next week...