This past semester I had the opportunity to adapt the 3D Mental Fitness and Athlete Psychology Diagnostic and apply it to an academic environment, my Chemistry classroom. At my school, we write student progress reports for each student in our classes twice a year at the midpoint of the semester. This comment serves as communication between the teachers and parents and allows the student to get some feedback on their progress.
Our student progress reports focus on the following areas.
Creativity | Collaboration | Perseverance | Work Ethic | Attitude/Motivation | Critical Thinking
I was initially interested in what my students thought that these categories looked like in my Chemistry classroom. Allowing them to self-reflect on their progress in these areas was essential to their experience. So I asked the students what they thought. As a result, I devised six questions that would help them evaluate how they were performing in each area.
I used code that I had written for the Athlete Psychology Diagnostic and the 3D Mental Fitness Diagnostic and re-engineered to allow my Chemistry students to reflect on the six categories mentioned above. Each student read a series of statements and choose responses (based on a Likert scale) that they thought represented their level of achievement in a particular area. I also removed the actual score from their scoring diagram (see example below) because I didn’t want the student to think about the level of current accomplishment as having a limit.
For example, if a student scored 100 on a particular section, then there could be a risk of the student thinking, “OK, that’s it, I made it, and I don’t need to improve in that area.” I want my students to have a growth mindset so putting a score on something seemed counterproductive to my classroom culture. Also, in our grades-driven school culture, I didn’t want something that would be anxiety provoking, not to mention how difficult it is to put a number on a students creative aptitude, for example.
After the responses are complete, the program performs an analysis of their answers and produces a report based on their responses. The report identifies the areas that they feel they are the strongest or need the most development and provides feedback on that.
First, I think that this was a good exercise in getting my students to think about what skills such as creativity or collaboration look like in my Chemistry classroom. I believe there is value in a student asking themselves – “Do I do this on a regular basis?”.
Secondly, because of the nature of the analysis, I was able to sort the questions into each of the six categories. This categorization provided me better structure than usual when writing a comment for this student. I was able to comment on a student’s perceived self-reflection and give specific examples where they had demonstrated work ethic or perseverance.
Third, when I analyzed their responses I could see patterns emerging that gave me a better sense of how they think about their academic approach. For example, I could tell which students tend to handle the ups and downs of taking tests and quizzes. I found that I was able to understand the student on a more emotional level than I had previously been able to report.
Finally, my student progress reports were much more informative than I had written before. I had a better understanding of where the student is regarding both knowledge of the subject and in a metacognitive sense.
I am working on worksheet activities for students to accomplish once they get their analysis. It’s useful for a student to have a personal assessment of the progress. However, the question “Now What?” seems like an important one to address.
For example, if work ethic is an area that needs some development for a student, I could provide a goal setting activity that walks them through how to understand what motivates them and then helps them set up a plan. It’s helpful to a student to be able to balance a chemical equation. However, if they could be provided with the skills to complete a goal setting activity successfully, that process would be more helpful as they move forward with their life strategy and deciding what to do with their time.
I enjoyed sharing my creation with my students, and for the most part, they agreed with the results of their analysis reports. There is undoubtedly more work to be done.
I am excited to investigate this further and allow for other teachers to use the system to create their diagnostics for student reflection. I’m sure that creativity would look differently in an English or Social Studies classroom.
If you have any feedback on my student diagnostic or would like more information, let me know in the comments or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.