Home      Organizing Induction      Improving Practice   

Tool: Analyzing samples of student work

This tool is designed to help mentor and beginning teachers to analyze examples of student work together. As new teachers begin to focus more on the students and less on their own teaching, this tool provides an opportunity to think about teaching in relation to student learning:

Step 1. Select and analyze the assignment.

Briefly describe the assignment:

Explain the goals/purposes/objectives of the lesson:

Describe what you were looking for in the assignment:

Step 2. Sort the papers into three categories
--those that meet expectations, those that do not and those that exceed them. Then analyze each pile and compile your results below:


Meets expectations

Does not meet expectations

Exceeds expectations

Describe the distinctions


Explain the differences


Are there any surprises? Describe them.

What do the students appear to know or not know about what they are studying?

Step 3. Choose one paper to analyze in depth.

What does the paper reveal about what the student does or does not understand about the concept/topic?

What does the student understand?




What is the student trying to learn?




What is this student struggling with?




Discuss why you think this student is struggling or doing well.

What does this student need to learn next?

What steps will you take to help the student progress?

Versions in RTF for editing, PDF for printing