Do you follow the 80/20 rule in which you expect 80% of your students to achieve mastery of a standard, skill or unit? I do...mostly.
When starting a unit, I pre-assess my students to find out their understanding of the topic. After the unit, again I assess and measure growth. We began two-digit addition with regrouping 5 weeks ago and the results are in folks...only 37% mastery. Honestly I feel like a failure. You have had those moments too....right?
So I can't sit back and allow that to be good enough. I started reflecting on my craft right away and trying to figure out what I could have done and what my next steps are going to be. I didn't get too far. New solutions weren't calling out to me.
Fast forward to this evening when I called my dad and after a bit I started talking about my problem. Now my dad isn't an educator and sometimes I wonder if I bug him when I talk school but he had a brilliant solution. He broke it down and said,
"How many did you want to pass?" At least 80%.
"How many did you expect to pass?" 70% (that was a hopeful on my part)
"How many did you expect to do better than they did?" Four or five.
His advice after listening was that I need to focus on the students that I expected to do better than they did. Seems simple, right? I had a why didn't I think of that kind of moment.
Sometimes I get so caught up in supporting the lowest quartile that I let moments with the majority of my class pass by. I don't think I will fix this problem overnight. I want everyone to succeed and I feel like there isn't enough of me to go around.
What I can do is work with those students who I expected to do better. The students that are so close to mastery but didn't reach it this time. I can help them strengthen their skills quickly.
And I'll do what I always do when I don't know...get advice from an expert by reading. So here's what I'll be reading tonight (it's a wonderful book).