The power of curriculum-based assessments comes from reviewing students’ assessment tasks to understand their strengths and needs—and then offering support as needed during instruction. In this month’s blog post, implementation leader Jaclyn Neises shares how to use the Analyze box at each lesson’s end to effectively analyze students’ assessments, including Checks for Understanding, Focusing Question Tasks, and End-of-Module Tasks.
Each Wit & Wisdom® lesson centers on a Learn section, where the primary learning unfolds for students. When preparing a lesson, teachers spend most of their time building an understanding of the Learn section. After completing a lesson, it’s tempting to dive into the next one and go straight to Learn. But moving from one Learn section to another skips some valuable tools, including the Analyze box, that can help teachers prepare and deliver effective instruction.
Understanding the Analyze Box
Every Wit & Wisdom lesson includes an assessment called a Check for Understanding (CFU), a daily assessment of the lesson’s Learning Goals. Often an informal, formative assessment of students’ learning, CFUs can also incorporate more formal, summative assessments such as completing a Focusing Question Task or participating in a Socratic Seminar. A CFU can take place at any point in Learn or Land and is always denoted by a green check mark, as in this example from Grade 5, Module 4, Lesson 2:
Each lesson concludes with an Analyze box, which explains how to review student assessments—whether a daily formative assessment or a summative assessment—and suggests next steps teachers can take to respond to evidence of student learning.
In this Analyze box from Grade 5, Module 4, Lesson 4, students complete a Focusing Question Task:
The Analyze box helps teachers answer three key questions:
- What evidence of student learning should be analyzed after the lesson?
A lesson’s assessments provide evidence of student learning. In most lessons, teachers evaluate a Check for Understanding, but guidance for evaluating other major assessments also appears here.
- How should the evidence of student learning be evaluated?
The Analyze box identifies the resources for analyzing student work. Sometimes teachers can find reflection questions in the box. Teachers may also be referred to tools such as the criteria for success, a rubric, or an exemplar response in Appendix C.
- How can teachers respond to this evidence of student learning?
The Analyze box suggests how to support students at the point of instruction in the current lesson or future lessons. Teachers can prepare the next lesson by combining their knowledge of their students with this guidance.
Using the Analyze Box to Inform Instruction
Carefully considering the Analyze box can guide the amount and quality of feedback, help identify trends in students’ work, and determine how to respond when students do not succeed with the Learning Goals.
Teachers can strengthen their use of the Analyze box in a few key ways:
- When preparing lessons, read the Analyze box carefully. The guidance in the Analyze box helps teachers connect lesson and module learning goals. It also supports teachers when they observe students unproductively struggling with the learning in a lesson. When teachers know what to search for as students embark on the lesson’s work, they can more effectively provide real-time feedback to improve students’ learning.
- After the lesson, use the guidance in the Analyze box to identify student trends. It’s important to understand what students learned in each lesson and who did or did not succeed. This information can help teachers determine whether to offer supports in future lessons. For example, using the Analyze box above, if all but three students successfully write an effective conclusion sentence, a teacher can thoughtfully determine the appropriate supports for those three students when writing conclusion sentences in future learning tasks.
- Regularly schedule time to work with a colleague or coach to apply the information from the Analyze box. This might be impossible for some lessons, but teachers benefit from regularly collaborating on student work analysis for the more formal, summative assessments such as Focusing Question Tasks. In these conversations, aim to build a common understanding of students’ strengths and needs, and discuss how to instruct students who need additional support or opportunities to extend their learning.
Using the Analyze box to review and analyze student work constitutes a critical component of effective Wit & Wisdom instruction. No matter how big or small the assessment, it’s worth the time to review evidence of student learning and determine the next steps to help students grow.
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Jaclyn Neises currently serves as an implementation leader for Great Minds®. While attending college in Chicago, Jaclyn found her passion for, and dedication to, education advocacy when she joined an art education partnership organization. Since then, she has worked and learned alongside educators through curriculum, instruction, and professional development efforts while serving as a teacher, specialist, mentor, and administrator in various elementary, middle, and high school settings.