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Helping Students Adjust Their Learning Tactics

Earlier in this unit you explored ways that assessment-literate educators use assessment to adjust instruction. As partners in the learning process, students can learn to adjust their learning tactics as well. In alignment with the CCR Anchor Standards, the CA CCSS, and 21st Century Skills, schools should ideally prepare students to be autonomous, self-correcting learners who continually monitor the effectiveness of their tactics. The reality is that students must be willing to do this. The challenge for educators is to set up the conditions that lead students to becoming active participants.

Actions that assessment-literate educators can take are:

  • Provide feedback explicitly on the need for adjusting a learning tactic
  • Expose students to a variety of learning tactics through “study buddy” programs and graphic organizers
  • Include learning tactics as part of student goal setting and action planning
    (Popham 2008)

At first, students who are not accustomed to reflection may give fuzzy or shallow responses. For example, they may state their feelings about the work or give overly general responses such as, “This was boring.” Or, “I need to work harder.”

Assessment-literate educators scaffold reflection and goal setting by asking probing questions such as:

  • What did you learn today?
  • What did you do well?
  • What are you confused about?
  • What do you need help with?
  • What do you want to know more about?
  • What are you going to work on next?
  • What are you going to do differently?

Assessment-literate educators help students recognize the connections between their work and the standards, identify strengths and weaknesses, brainstorm ideas for improvements, and acknowledge their progress over time.