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A Model for Urban Student Engagement and Achievement
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Strategy #4:

ASSESS AND MASTER IN CLASS

  The fourth aspect is a very significant part of C.R.E.A.T.E. that is sorely missing from many urban classrooms. Assessing or checking for understanding is critical to students’ success.  It is important to assess step by step and teach based on prior skills.  I check for understanding step A before I go to step B.  I never teach more than a step before checking for understanding.  I never say more than few words before I ask a question. The most powerful method of assessing students is asking students to “teach back.”
Why Check for Understanding?

So that by the time the target population gets the assignment, or moves to the next concept, you can be absolutely sure that they UNDERSTAND what you just taught.

How to ASSESS AND ENSURE
MASTERY IN CLASS:
A) Scaffolding the Lesson
  • Assess what Skills Students bring
  • Break the Concept into “Baby Steps” and Critical Foundational Skills
  • Build Mastery for each Step and Skill, starting from Where They are at
“Scaffolding = A Bridge used to build upon
what students already know to arrive at
something they do not know  . . .”
- Benson, 1997


Scaffolding the Quadratic Formula

Assume that this lesson, the Quadratic Formula, was like building the Eiffel Tower.  You cannot expect your class to reach that goal in one step.  This is especially true is your population is below grade level.  You must start your lesson from where students are at, and then break down the lesson into the foundational skills, and “Baby steps,” that they can digest, working their way “up.”  In this example, the quadratic formula has been broken down in a way that is less intimidating, demystified, and leads to mastery of each step.





“If Scaffolding is properly administered
it will act as an enabler”
- Benson, 1997

 

How to ASSESS AND ENSURE
MASTERY IN CLASS:
B)Scaffolded Objective

1.  Possible for your students to Master in one class period

Ex. 1)  Students will be able to explain the 3
major causes of WWI in 10 sentences
Ex. 2)  Students will be able to solve at least
20/25 problems involving a fraction

2. Measurable

Ex. 1)  Students will be able to conjugate at least
20 of 25 verbs into the I form in Spanish
Ex. 2)  Students will be able to write at least
4 of 5 strong thesis statements that state
the writer’s position and 3 supporting
arguments

 
How to ASSESS AND ENSURE
MASTERY IN CLASS:
C)  Guided Mastery Through Interactive
Teach-Back

Guided Mastery refers to the “lecture” part where a concept is interactively taught.  It is critical to assess students throughout the “lecture” and have them “teach-back” the concepts until they show mastery with minimal guidance. “Teach Back” means the teacher teaches a step in a problem or concept.  Then immediately, the students have to teach this concept back to the class.  That is how you tell if a student understands.  I ask questions and more questions.  My questions are not “yes” or “no” questions. They ask the students to explain the rationale for the next part of the Kreb cycle or for graphing a line in slope intercept form.  Ask questions and ask them to teach back the concept step by step. 

“I Do, You Watch”
“I Do, Now You Teach Me”
- The Teacher to the Student


 
i.  Step-by-Step Interactive Teach-Back
1. CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING
STEP BY STEP
THROUGH
“TEACH-BACK”
EVERY FEW SECONDS,
MAKE STUDENTS
TEACH YOU
WHAT THEY
“SHOULD KNOW”
ii.  Personal Interactive Teach-Back with Target Population

   2. PERSONALLY GET
TARGET POPULATION
TO “TEACH-BACK”

KEEP THEM IN THE HOT SEAT! 
DON’T LET THEM ESCAPE.
DON’T WAIT FOR KIDS TO RAISE THEIR HANDS - PICK ON NON-VOLUNTEERS

Who do I assess in the class?  I assess everyone but I especially focus on the target population personally during my lecture.  Remember, the target population may not understand right away. I personally call on them and make them teach back the concept. 

The effective teachers ask three times as many personal questions as the less effective teachers.
- (Brophy and Good, 1986).

ASK LOTS AND LOTS OF PERSONAL STEP-BY-STEP QUESTIONS

EXAMPLE:

“JOSE, WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?
MIKE, YOU TAKE OVER! 
LAURA, NOW WHAT DO I DO?”

Questions = Feedback for Teachers

Take Home Point:
By the time Guided mastery Through Interactive Teach-back is over, you should be sure at least 80% of your students are ready to show mastery on the independent exit price alone while still in class.  If they cannot show mastery on the exit price by themselves then you must rethink how to improve your guided mastery.
 
Formula:
The SUCCESS of
Guided Mastery
=
SUCCESS on Exit Price

 
How to ASSESS AND ENSURE
MASTERY IN CLASS:
D)  Independent Mastery Through Exit Price

“You Do, I Help... You Do, I Watch”
- The Teacher to the Student

A key element of assessment that comes after the students show mastery with guidance is the independent exit price (an assignment that forces students to show they understood the objective by independently doing a certain number of problems by the end of the period).  This allows the teacher and student to see if the student can demonstrate mastery of the objective without much help.  If you teach someone to drive a car, you can’t accurately tell if that person knows how to drive simply by asking questions or by watching them nod their head when you ask questions. They need to have the time and opportunity to show you if they can drive themselves from point A to point B.  During class, the students must show the teacher that they can do the exit price (ex. 24 out of 30 problems) by themselves before you assign homework or class ends.

You must define what mastery looks like depending on the day’s objective and type of assignment.  Grade the exit price during class and tell the students what grade they earned before class is over. It is crucial to keep the kids accountable and make them prove they can do the objective on the independent exit price.

EXAMPLE:

“Jim was able to complete 20 out of 25 Spanish Conjugations before the end of class.  He mastered the objective”

“Mike could not write 10 strong similes.  He did not learn the objective.”

“They have shown independent mastery
in class.  Now they can do homework or test.”
- The Teacher

 
Dale’s Cone of Learning: 
What do Students Remember?

Tiberius and Tipping, 1990

It is also important to make sure that we give the students the time to do the exit price.  We can’t lecture for 45 minutes and then give 5 minutes for the exit price.  The exit price has to be rigorous and the students need time to practice themselves.  Do not use homework as the primary assessment tool.  The most effective time and place to tell if students can do the problem is in the class during class time.

TIME FOR INDEPENDENT MASTERY:

20 min (“Lecture”)

Guided Mastery Through
Interactive Teach Back

“Show Me You Can do the
Problem if I Guide You”

20 min

Independent Mastery

“Prove You Can Do It Alone Correctly
Before You Leave”

 
i.  Tenaciously Monitor and Help Students
Finish Exit Price with High Mastery
DON’T LET THEM FAIL
THE EXIT PRICE

CIRCULATE
HELP THEM IF THEY ARE STRUGGLING - FIGHT THEM UNTIL THEY MASTER OBJECTIVE ON EXIT PRICE
 
“Keep them Accountable”

“You need to correctly write 10 thesis statements
for 50pts before class is over
OR you have to miss basketball practice.”

“You need to write your own paragraph explaining the 3 causes of WWI
for 50 pts before you leave,
OR I have to call coach.”

Make it Worth 50 pts to their Grade!!!
 
 
ii.  Grade Exit Price in Class

 

GIVE GRADE BASED ON % MASTERY OF OBJECTIVE ON EXIT PRICE

80-100% MASTERY = A GRADE
70-80% MASTERY = B GRADE
BELOW 70% CORRECT = FAILING

CONSEQUENCE FOR FAILING
EXIT PRICE

1.  FAILING GRADE FOR THE DAY
2.  STUDENTS MUST STAY AFTER SCHOOL OR LUNCH
3. REPEAT EXIT PRICE WITH MY HELP UNTIL MASTERY

 
GRADE EXIT PAPERS IN CLASS !
SECRET
USE CLASSTIME TO ASSESS AND GIVE STUDENTS A GRADE BASED ON
SUCCESS ON EXIT PRICE
**DON’T TAKE 150 ASSIGNMENTS HOME! 
iii. Communicate their Grades on the Exit Price
to the Students BEFORE the Class Ends

“Tanisha, you could do 17 out of 20
Solving Problems correctly.  GRADE A”

“John, you could write 6 out 10 thesis
statements correctly.  GRADE B”  

“Steve, you could only explain 1 of the 5 major
differences between prokaryote and eukaryote.  GRADE F, Steve, see you after school.”

DON’T FALL FOR THE “I’LL DO IT FOR HOMEWORK LIE”
THE TRUTH BEHIND HOMEWORK:

“I did my homework but I didn’t learn anything!”

“I did my homework but I copied my friend's”

“I did my homework but they are all wrong”

“I didn’t do my homework”

 
Take Home Point:
THE BEST PLACE TO MAKE SURE
STUDENTS MASTER THE OBJECTIVE
IS IN CLASS, DURING CLASS!

 
iv.  Give Test/Project only AFTER students
have shown High Mastery on the
Independent Exit Price papers

YOUR GOAL IS THAT AT LEAST
70% GET AN “A” ON THE TEST!

 

GUIDED MASTERY
INTERACTIVE TEACHBACK:
I Do, You Watch
I Do, You Teach

INDEPENDENT MASTERY
INDEPENDENT EXIT PRICE:
You Do, I Help
You Do, I Watch

 
The Road to Independent Mastery
1.  Guided mastery Through PERSONAL INTERACTIVE TEACH-BACK
2.  Independent Mastery Through INDEPENDENT EXIT PRICE
3. After they have shown Independent Mastery, you can give homework and test because YOU KNOW THEY CAN SUCCEED DOING IT!! 
**The Best TIME and PLACE to Measure mastery IS IN CLASS!
 

WARNING:  DON’T  LOOK AT 150 ASSIGNMENTS EVERY DAY!

SECRET:  Look at only a few Exit Price Papers from high level and Target Population Students.  Assess those exit price papers as you circulate the room.  I grade students’ daily exit price during class, not at home, and know who didn’t learn the objective by the end of class and what to re-teach

How to ASSESS AND ENSURE
MASTERY IN CLASS:
E) What if they didn’t get it, or failed the
exit price or an exam?
1. Spiral missed concepts into the
next assignment after re-teaching missed concepts.
 
2.  Make sure every Student
retakes any failed exit price or failed Exam and gets an “A” or  “B.”
Re-Teach Re-Test
Formula for Spiraling
Essentials on the Exit Price

60 % of Questions
on the exit price are
New Essentials
Recently Taught

40 % of Questions
on the exit price are
Old Essentials
they can’t forget

 

Example Lesson Plan

Date:

Objectives:

Standards:

Time: 5-7 min

1. Warm Up
(Preview Today’s Objective)

Preview Problems:

 

Time: 15-20 min

2. Teach-Back
(Interactive Lecture)
 “I do it, we do it”

Lecture Notes:

 

 

 

Time: 15-20 min

3. Independent Exit Price
(50 Points to Students’ Grade)
You do it”

Exit Price Problems:

 

 

 

 

Time: 5 min

4. Spiral/Re-teach Any Key Missed Concepts(Either Re-teach Key Missed Areas or Plan to Spiral Them Into Tomorrow’s Lesson)

What key concepts will you re-teach/spiral tomorrow?

 

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