Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tracking student progress in a mastery-based system

"She won't be happy until her progress report is 100% green." That's what one of our teachers told me about one particularly driven student. She was talking about our new Google Drive-based progress report system.

One of the challenges of mastery-based learning is tracking and reporting student progress. Our new system allows students, parents, and teachers to see it all at a glance, so students can get the support they need, see their growth over time, and get quick feedback.

At The Depot, we measure student progress toward mastery of six competencies: Communication, Information, Media, and Technology, Career Skills, Life Skills, Critical Thinking, and Creativity and Innovation.

They work on these skills in various blocks during the school day: Pick-me-up, Advisory, Math Block, Book Teams, Project Block, and Fitness, and at their internships.

Teachers rate student performance on the six competencies using our Competency Rubric, and then enter the data in a spreadsheet like this:

A separate "progress report" spreadsheet for each student reports the data out to students, teachers, and parents, like this:

They see a graph of their progress toward each competency, plus a color-coded matrix that indicates their progress by subject area and block. It also reports attendance, credit issues and their accumulated "chips" (a new incentive system we are using this year). Red and orange squares indicate areas of concern. Yellow shows emerging growth, and green indicates competency.

The system also shows progress on a standard sequence of required tasks (the "non-negotiables"), their current credit status, and a worksheet that shows where their subject area credit is coming from this year. 

The system allows us to better identify students who need specific supports, and we are seeing increased use of the progress reports by parents and students. Our hope is that they will find it not only useful, but also motivating, as they see their growth over time. Our end goal, after all, is not only competency, but self-confidence.

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