24. Revision and Feedback

It is day 2 of summer vacation and I am ready to dig back in.  I know I am crazy.  I know this about myself though.

I have taken myself to my favorite coffee shop around the corner from my house, I have a brand new pad of paper, a fresh charge on my laptop and a large iced coffee.

At the end of the school year I did an Exit Survey with AP Lang to get some much needed feedback on how they felt things went this year.  Most of the questions were on a 1 to 5 scale with just a few open ended.  They pushed students metacognitively, challenging them to think about their thinking.

Here are a few examples: 

As well as three open ended questions: 
(Starred questions are required.)

In the end, I got 26 of 31 students to submit feedback.  I was able to share the feedback with my Admins and it proved to be a great place to open a dialogue for end of the year evaluation/conferences.

I have always done some level of student self-assessment, but this was by far the most effective feedback I have received.

A few snip-its from the first open ended question included:

"Ms. Towne should dive into the most difficult aspects of the AP exam first, and in depth. By this I mean that sections that students struggled with the most this year, should be taught at the beginning of the course and the sections they were the most confident with, at the end."

"I feel that Ms. Towne should possibly make more use of turnitin.com, as it was very convenient to use just in case people couldn't print at home or at school..."

"Ms. Towne should spend more time having writing workshops where we could go over on creating really strong and structured essays. Even though it would seem a bit formulaic if we were to implement it in our writing, I think that if we were to go ahead and examine very strong essays and craft them at near the abilities then it would help us get in a habit of flushing out our ideas persuasively and clearly."

It was interesting to see what kids took in and what skirted over their heads.  Many of them expressed wanting more "test prep" which for me, I struggle with at the AP/College Level.  Everything I planned and ask them to do is preparing them to take the test. In college, test prep is done is study groups with peers, not during class time (at least it was for me) and I worry about the president that is set by always providing this support to students. Have we created a generation of students that is so unable to learn on their own that they need explicit test prep in order to prepare for an exam?

I do have some ideas about what I will do differently, structurally and when I will introduce certain aspects of writing to students.  On to revision and to a new year.


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