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Establishing Productive Record Keeping Practices James Dallas

Record keeping is directly related to assessment and goal setting. Consistent, ongoing documentation of student work and progress ensures that teachers will have evidence of year-long student growth. This evidence becomes vitally important in your communications with students, parents and administrators as the year goes on. Additionally, student work can and should be used when teachers have questions about specific programs that might be needed when referring students for special services. It is important to begin the year with ideas for a record keeping system that will be manageable for you and your students. Below are some methods of record keeping that will help you get started:

Notebooks: Many teachers use notebooks to store and collect student data. Simply tabbing a section for each student proves to be an easy way to record data. Choose the assessment measures to keep for each student and store in the tabbed sections.

Index cards on a ring: When you use file cards, punch a hole in the top left corner of the card and put it on a ring. Write the name of each student on a file card in alphabetical order. When the student's card is filled with the assessment data you choose, you can remove it from the stack, store it in a designated place and add a new card.

Individual student folders: Some teachers prefer to keep all of the information they have gathered about students in individual student folders. Folders can contain multiple assessments and can be used particularly when conferencing with parents. Be sure to have a place in the classroom to store student folders when they are not being used. Plastic crates or storage bins work well. Folders contain any type of assessment data either in the pocket or attached in the center. Some teachers like to write anecdotes directly in the folder, while others write on sticky labels and then transfer them to a folder.

Clipboard: Sometimes keeping a clipboard is the most convenient way to collect assessment data for your students. Teachers keep anecdotal record forms and other types of forms, along with labels, in the clipboard. Be sure to write the names of all your students either on the forms or labels, depending on what type of data collection method you choose. This will help ensure that you collect weekly data for each of your students. You may want to place the forms or labels alphabetically by student last name so when you need to retrieve data, it is easy to locate a particular student. Later on, place all of your documented information in the student file or folder.

Class Record Chart: Sometimes you need to collect similar information for all of your students. A class record chart helps you organize this type of record keeping. The chart can be used to list the different genre students are reading, a writing piece each student has chosen to revise or edit, or student responses to a whole or small group lesson.

Checklists: Checklists are effective record keeping tools that can be used to identify certain observable behaviors. Teachers generally create their own checklists to reflect what kind of learning is going on in the class and what individual students are actually learning. After identifying specific behaviors to document, teachers look specifically at those items and then check them off as they are observed.

The primary purpose of classroom assessment is to inform teaching and improve student learning. By using multiple assessments and record keeping tools, teachers can make better evaluations of individual student progress. More importantly, teachers are able to clearly articulate to parents the progress their children are making and show authentic evidence of student work to justify their claims. Additionally, these data are valuable sources of information for teachers to use when working with students throughout the year and helping them achieve their own goals.


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