Sunday, May 6, 2012

Study Hall...Why didn't I think of this before?

I've written in the past about my frustrations of retesting.  My frustration lies in the fact that the kids who need to retest (mostly) are the ones who didn't complete the videos before coming to class.  They are also the same students (mostly) who don't study for the regular test or retest.  For the past couple of units I no longer required students to retest, instead they had to earn the privilege to retest by putting in time during lunch to study.

It is appalling to me how many students were "fine" with a failing grade...ugh.  When I was a kid if I didn't do my homework, or failed a test, my parents would have been irate!  I was telling my students last week about this blog (which they already knew about), and how sometimes I use it to voice my frustrations and they seemed shocked that they frustrate me...yes, I rolled my eyes quite visibly when they said that...  I tried to explain why the whole doing your homework & studying for tests was so confusing to me & they were blown away.  I actually had a kid say, "Huh, your parents really got mad at you if you didn't do well...weird" At that point I began banging my head on the wall.  However, I digress, I shall now remove myself from my soapbox & talk about what happened this week that I thought was pretty cool.

My "study hall" wall.
After I put the "study at lunchtime" into effect, I realized that I was missing A LOT of my lunches.  Not a huge deal, but there just weren't enough of me to go around, so I decided to try something different.  I put a sign up sheet on my classroom wall with different dates and times for studying (either before school/2nd recess or lunch recess).  Then the students who didn't pass were required to sign up for a time slot.  I then opened up the "tutoring" job to the rest of the class.  If a student got 90% or better on their test, they had the opportunity to tutor a classmate.  It was absolutely NOT required, as they had clearly earned their recess by being responsible, studying, yada yada yada.

This is one of the sign up sheets for study hall.

I was very pleased that I ended up only having to help maybe 1 student each session.  I saw some pretty remarkable things happening.  First, the students responded very well to their peers, especially since they got to ask people they were comfortable with.  Second, the students who were tutoring almost visibly inflated with pride.  They weren't cocky or rude about it, they were just proud of the fact that they had something to offer.  (I'm totally patting myself on the back right now).  While not everyone passed the retest (in fact many still didn't), I looked at how much improvement they made from test to retest and the average growth was just over 10% (I had one student double his previous score).

Looking back, I know something I would change.  On our next unit I intend to continue the same method, only after a student is ready to retest, I'll retest them right away.  This time they had Monday-Thursday for "study hall" and then retest was Friday.  What I found was that the kids who studied on Monday & Tuesday didn't do as well as the students who studied on Wednesday & Thursday.

1 comment:

  1. Yes,you are right that retesting is a very boring work and those students who are retested,generally are not good in studies or they don't study.But it is our duty and we can't run away from it.I have seen that students are mostly retested in mathematics .