NCOSP Tools

Protocols for Looking At Student Work

Looking At Student Work (LASW) Protocols provide a vehicle for building the skills and culture necessary for collaborative work focused on student preconceptions and content knowledge. The goal of these structured discussions is to promote a collaborative approach to monitoring student thinking and informing classroom instruction by examining the evidence presented in student work.

There are several protocols included below, which differ based upon the intended purpose. For example, the first protocol, High-Medium-Low, is basic; it is intended to introduce participants to working with a protocol, while establishing common criteria for rating student work. Each protocol includes a “Facilitator’s Guide” to assist in planning and implementation.

Each protocol’s generalized purpose is:

High-Medium-Low Protocol – For beginning groups learning about protocol use in LASW.

Standards in Practice Protocol – Assess whether a learning activity prompts students to meet a particular standard, then modify that activity accordingly.

Understand and Respond Protocol – Determine whether or not students have reached a learning target and what actions should be taken next to assist them.

Examine Student Thinking Protocol – A rich protocol designed to help groups explore student thinking regarding a particular concept and differentiate instruction based on the patterns in student work.

A group that wants to collaboratively Look At Student Work may bring in work from their own practice, or use the student work samples provided below.

High-Medium-Low Protocol

Purpose:
To introduce the use of a protocol to collaboratively examine student work, and to develop shared expectations of student learning and performance.

Description:
This protocol uses a probe and student responses to explore and develop shared expectations for student learning.

Time:

Preparation Time: 2 hrs
Slide Show: 10 min
Protocol: 90 min

Standards in Practice Protocol

Purpose:
This protocol allows for a close examination of students’ work in direct relationship to the standards. Teachers or teams would select this protocol if they wonder if this assignment assists students in meeting standard OR if this assessment adequately measures students’ achievement of the standard.

Description:
Participants identify the standard implicit in the assignment, generate a scoring guide, determine whether students have met the standard, and plan for needed change. This protocol uses resource materials that reference standards. (e.g. SCTS, Benchmarks, State Standards, etc.)

Time:

Preparation Time: 2 hrs
Slide Show: 10 min
Protocol: 80 min

Understand and Respond Protocol

Purpose:
This protocol is designed to help educators collaboratively examine student work in order to: 1) identify whether students or an individual student met a specific learning target, and 2) determine appropriate instructional responses.

Description:
Teachers collaboratively examine student work in order to determine the evidence of understanding students exhibit about a particular concept. The various interpretations of student understanding of the concept by the group members are then used to formulate appropriate classroom responses.

Note: Included is an "Artifact Description Worksheet" participants may find useful. The 'Presenting Teacher' may complete the worksheet before the session and use it in Step 2.

Time:

Preparation Time: 2 hrs
Slide Show: 10 min
Protocol: 90 min

Examine Student Thinking Protocol

Purpose:
To collaboratively explore student thinking about a scientific concept:

  • Investigate research into learning a specific concept,

  • Examine your students thinking or misconceptions,

  • Differentiate instructional actions for different levels of understanding.

Description:
A sophisticated protocol for experienced groups that includes a number of lenses for looking at student work. Participants using this protocol will complete a probe into student thinking, look at the big ideas and misconceptions identified by literature, predict how students will answer the probe, construct a rubric for sorting student work, sort student work by High-Medium-Low conceptual understanding, and develop specific instructional strategies to address all three groups.

Time:

Preparation: 2 hrs
Protocol: 2 hrs

Other Recommended Resources and Student Work Samples

Description: The resourses listed here have informed our thinking about collaborative examination of student work. Keeley's four volumes of Uncovering Student Ideas in Science contain numerous assessment probes useful in surfacing student ideas about many scientific topics. The 'samples' are authentic reproductions of student work.

Resources:
  • David Allen and Tina Blythe, The Facilitator’s Book of Questions, Tools for Looking Together at Student and Teacher Work. Oxford, OH: National Staff Development Council, 2004.

  • Joseph P. McDonald, Nancy Mohr, Alan Dichter, Elizabeth C. McDonald, The Power of Protocols, An Educator’s Guide to Better Practice. NY: Teachers College Press, 2003.

  • David Allen, Tina Blythe and Barbara S. Powell, A Guide to Looking Collaboratively at Student Work. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Project Zero, 1996.

  • David Allen, The Tuning Protocol: A Process for Reflection. Providence: Coalition of Essential Schools, 1995.

  • Keeley et. al., Uncovering Student Ideas in Science, Vols. 1-4, NSTA Press 2005-2009.