What influenced your selection of data instruments?
After consultation with my mentor, it was determined that I would be teaching a numeracy unit on measurement. After analysing the summative assessment task in detail with my mentor, I designed an initial test to ascertain the students level of knowledge and understanding on the informal units of measurement taught in year 2. Their results were collated into a dashboard in Excel® for further analysis. I allocated two marks for each category if they fully understood the concept and 1 mark if they showed a partial understanding. Once this information was entered, a class graph was generated to show the test results for each concept. These results then indicated the percentage of the class that had a good foundational understanding on certain measurement concepts and indicated areas of weakness or concern. From this, I could then target my teaching instruction and planning based on this data, hopefully correcting any misconceptions or gaps in the students learning. This proved to be a highly successful method of obtaining data, as it indicated I needed to target capacity and mass, as they were the two areas of most concern from their initial tests. (Refer to the artefacts below)
What did the data tell you about your students? Whole class, small group and individual?
After completing the initial test on measurement, a student profile was constructed on each student, detailing crucial information such as their academic strengths and weaknesses as well as their physical and emotional capabilities. This proved to be an effective method of collecting data as it revealed accurate and reliable information about each student, that could be used when planning a learning sequence. This data, which reflected ability level grouping coupled with explicit teaching instruction, was going to be the most effective pedagogical framework to use to ensure all students had the chance of success. Furthermore, the diversity of students within the classroom (with many coming from Indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds) meant that learning process needed to be more hands-on and inquiry based. Interpreting this data laid the foundation for planning the learning sequence.
What assumptions about the students were challenged when you collected and interpreted the data?
During the data-collection process, I found myself quickly ascribing identities to students based on general background and academic achievement. Because Goodna is in a low socio-economic area, I automatically thought the students would be challenging in terms of behaviour and attendance. Many students were Indigenous or EAL/D, hence I automatically assumed they would have low literacy and numeracy. As I continued to gather more data, I then began to reflect more deeply about my thoughts and preconceptions. Many of them were false. Many of the students were at year level standard or above, one student was being tested to determine if they were gifted/talented. Reflecting on this, I have learnt never to ascribe characteristics to a student, based on my cultural preconceptions and unconscious prejudices.
How did your selection of data instruments impact what you now know about the students? How would you change the data collection process you used in the future and why?
The data selection instruments used to gather information on each student was the class profile, an Excel spreadsheet detailing Initial-test results, a whole class report containing overall class performance in each learning domain and a results graph. These types of instruments were informative, easy to use and generated results that were easily interpreted. I chose these instruments to track each individual student’s progress from initial tests right through to post-tests, to verify my pedagogical instruction and to look at results from a whole class perspective. I also felt that these types of data instruments allow for effective dialogue between teachers and parents. I feel the methods I used to gather data were successful and gave me the information I require to design a learning sequence that is going to improve student outcomes, generate accurate reports, and plan further learning/teaching strategies.
What new learnings emerged for you about the data process?
Previously, I interpreted data as if it was just the results achieved on summative assessments and the comments within report cards. However, after this placement at Goodna State School, I have now learnt that data collection is much broader. Data collection involves the tracking of all aspects of a student’s school life as well any outside circumstances/occurrences that may affect the education of a child such as; family trauma, drugs and alcohol abuse in the home. It is this type of data, drawing upon all the elements of a student’s life, that allows teachers to plan effectively, ensuring diversity and maximum inclusivity, and inform the need for support and early intervention strategies. The more informed and organised a teacher is, the better the relationships and learning outcomes will be.
How did the baseline data inform the unit of work and the targeted learning outcomes?
Firstly, it indicated what percentage of children had prior knowledge and demonstrated an understanding on the informal units of measurement and what children demonstrated limited understanding. This was crucial data to identify what concepts needed to be revisited before moving onto the formal metric units of measurement. Secondly, the data collected on each student’s profile allowed for a more robust understanding of each student’s strengths and weaknesses and how to best target the learning goals for this unit of work. For example; Lincoln demonstrated he had limited understanding on metres and mass. However, thrives in group work activities. Hence, by targeting learning outcomes that involve group work on these concepts may see his results increase. Therefore, analysing formative assessments and conducting observations of students within and outside the classroom may lead to better results with the learning outcomes when you know your students more and how they learn best.
How did the data inform your summative task development?
The data gained was instrumental in targeting the summative task towards a validation of the effectiveness of the pedagogy. Unfortunately, I was not able to create my own summative task and rubric as the school followed the C2C curriculum. The reason being for this is Moderation. My mentor felt, if I had created my own assessment piece it would be a lot more difficult to moderate with the other year 3 classes. Hence, it could lose its validity and reliability. However, taking this into consideration when planning my maths sequence, I used the process of backward design where I examined the assessment piece and learning intentions in detail and planned accordingly, keeping in mind the results from their initial tests and class profiles.
How did the planned unit respond to learning theory and high impact pedagogy?
Behaviourism- In terms of Behaviourism, over 2 days I observed many of the students within and outside the classroom exhibiting their behavioural tendencies with regards to different stimulus or environments. For example; I learnt not to group certain students together during group work as it can exacerbate their learning disabilities. This was evidenced in “my get to know me activity” where two students started punching and calling each other names. Therefore, the learning theory of Behaviourism certainly has played a role in the types of learning activities I have planned for my maths sequence and how best to structure them taking on board the diversity with this class.
Social Constructivism– Many of the learning activities within the maths sequence have elements of Social Constructivism theory. For example, in lesson one (meters) students are divided into pairs, where they must work collaboratively during a measurement activity, constructing new knowledge along the way and justifying it.
Constructivism- My most favourite learning theory of them all. Constructivism is a learning theory found in psychology which explains how people might acquire knowledge and learn. It therefore has direct application to education. The theory suggests that humans construct knowledge and meaning from their experiences. All lessons follow a Constructivist approach where a variety of activities are used to construct knowledge ensuring all intelligences are catered for in the class.
Humanism- In Humanism, learning is student-centred and personalized, and the educator’s role is that of a facilitator. Affective and cognitive needs are key, and the goal is to develop self-actualized people in a cooperative, supportive learning environment. Looking closely at my learning sequence, many of the learning activities I have created are student centred and the learning personalised through differentiation for certain students and ability level grouping. Groups are given their tasks to do and the teacher acts as a facilitator.
How was inclusivity addressed in your planning?
Inclusivity was addressed thoughtfully throughout each learning experience using differentiation. This meant certain students received individual curriculum plans and others received adjustments to the content, process and product. Ability level grouping seemed the most effective method to use, to achieve the best possible learning outcomes. Therefore, I worked out with my mentor, three ability level groups (Below Standard, At Standard, and Above Standard). This way I could work with the lower level students, my mentor with the students at year level Standard and the high flyers work independently. By doing this, we were ensuring all students would receive the appropriate scaffolding and guidance on achieving each lesson’s learning goal. The school follows Edward Grooves explicit teaching framework of I DO, WE DO, YOU DO hence ensuring students receive the appropriate guidance and support during the YOU DO stage is paramount.
How was alignment between curriculum, assessment and teaching and learning achieved?
The Australian Curriculums achievement standards for year 3 maths were consulted when constructing this unit of work, ensuring they were explicitly addressed. By following the C2C documents closely with my mentor, I could design learning experiences where students could show their knowledge and understanding on key measurement concepts in various ways across the unit, leading to an assessment piece demonstrating transformed practice.
What changes did you make to your planning during implementation, and why?
Once ability level groups were set up, it then came to planning my lessons. After planning my first two lessons, I emailed my mentor for her to review my planning. Upon review, she informed me that although my planning was excellent, I was expecting far too much of the students in 30 min lessons. She told me to go back over my planning and to keep it simple. She commented “It’s an excellent idea having lots of different activities demonstrating the concept, however try to just pick one or two and focus on those” By focusing on just one or two, it allows for easier integration of Edward Groves explicit teaching framework. Her feedback was taken on board and onto the remainder of my planning.
How do these reflections challenge your prior thinking about planning?
Reflecting on the process of data collection now, and how it informs planning, I can confidently say that I feel a lot more comfortable with the entire process. In previous placements, I never thought of conducting pre-tests and filling out student profiles about each student to inform my planning. On most practicums, we are just told what content to teach and then are given feedback on how we went. Therefore, comparing the preplanning stages of this practicum placement to previous placements. I can now say, that I have a far more better understanding of the entire planning process rather than such as fragmented or disjointed view on it like I previously had.
How will these reflections influence your future planning practices?
Moving forward into my next practicum placement, the importance of data driven pedagogy will play a crucial role. I feel the more data you collect and analyse, the better you can plan to the individual learning needs of each student. Hence, I will ensure, my planning is organised and the tools that I use to collect the data are tools that show a child’s growth. After all, I want to be a teacher, to make a difference to a child’s life and master pedagogical approaches that work, I guess the role of being a reflective practitioner is key.