Being Real with Students

In my last blog, I talked about MClass (which measures fluency, accuracy, and retell) and how hectic the week of assessments was.  At my school, we are very careful what to tell the students because we don’t want to hurt any feelings.  I decided to try a new approach this year.

Instead of walking on eggshells about how the students did on their assessments, I thought I would individually discuss the scores with each student.  I called them up one at a time, explained what each section meant and told them the 4th grade goal and where they were at the beginning of the year.  To my surprise, a few of them already knew.

The week before this was progress report day.  In the envelope with progress reports, I sent home a detailed page explaining what each of the assessments were, how the child was doing compared to grade level, and activities that could be done at home to help with their deficits.  This was another attempt of mine to get parents more involved in their child’s education, and it seemed to have an effect!

One child sat down with me and I started reading her each of her scores.  I began by asking her if she knew what fluency meant and she said, “yes, it is how fast and smooth you read.  I know that I got a 72 in that and the I should be at a 90.  My mom told me.”

Wow.  I could’ve jumped for joy at that very moment.  Not only did her mom read the scores, but she understood what they meant AND talked to her child about them!  I asked the child if they have been working on the strategies at home at all.  She replied by telling me they haven’t yet, but her mom makes her read more at home now to get that score up.  It’s a starting point.

One by one I called students up.  They were more inquisitive than I could’ve imagined.  I got comments like, “wow I can do better than that,” or “I need to bring that score up.”  Twenty-four students and not one student began to cry or even remotely got upset about their scores.  In fact, each child made their own goal of one area they wanted to improve.  They wrote in on a post-it note and placed it on our “Reader’s Goal” chart.  I told students that as soon as they reached that goal, we were calling their parents together and telling them about their accomplishment, and then making a new goal.


They were so excited and that day during stamina reading, I saw students using different strategies that we talked about.

One of my favorite conferences occurred when I met with a student significantly above grade level in each category.  I told her this and asked her if she still thought she needed a goal.  I knew what her answer should be, but I was curious if she would reach the same conclusion.  She looked at me like I was crazy and said, “of course I need a goal Miss Haley.  I got where I am by wanting to get better.  I can always get better.”

Now I can’t say I have seen huge results since I just started this idea of talking to students about their assessments, but I am optimistic about it.  We are strong advocates of a growth mindset in our school and classroom, and it showed going over this data.  No one had a meltdown or acted ashamed of their scores.  They all genuinely were interested and loved setting goals and the idea of calling parents during school to tell them when they reach theirs.

I am hoping this adds motivation for the students to want to get better and continues helping to reach my goal of having more parent interaction.


5 thoughts on “Being Real with Students

  1. ThomasUNC October 9, 2016 / 8:31 pm

    Awesome! Kids know their strengths and weaknesses. What a great idea to share their scores individually and then to set goals.

    I read about a follow up step. Cut paper into bookmarks. Have the kids write their goal on the bookmark. The idea comes from DYI Literacy by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts.


    • rachelhaley36 October 11, 2016 / 11:39 am

      I love that idea! Thanks!


  2. Anna Doyle October 10, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    I’ve always felt that most children are far more aware of what is going on around them than adults like to believe. Getting them involved early in things like setting goals, recognizing their own growth, and knowing what is expected of them can help them get there. They aren’t doing work with no idea why they’re doing it, so they’re generally going to be more motivated and stay on task better. Obviously some students may still feel like they won’t be able to meet the goal anyway and be discouraged, but when they are guided by a good teacher, they will learn to set smaller, more attainable goals to build up to something that would otherwise seem completely out of reach. This is very cool and very exciting stuff!


  3. goodm1bd October 12, 2016 / 6:10 pm

    I love this so much! Goal setting is incredibly important for students. Standardized assessments can be incredibly frustrating for students, especially because many don’t know what they mean. I appreciate that you worked with them individually to set goals based on the scores. I think it’s a much more useful way to use these sorts of assessments. And the way you went, it wasn’t “here is what you are bad at” it was “here is what you can get better on, so let’s set a goal”. I think this is a really fantastic thing, much better than handing students the assessment results and forgetting about it.


  4. emilyraehoward October 20, 2016 / 12:47 am

    I loved reading this post! It is so important for students to set goals for themselves and work towards those goals everyday. I love the aspect of parent involvement and how they can help their child improve on their reading strategies. Working with the students individually and discussing a goal for them is very essential for their development as a reader. Thanks for sharing!


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