Analyzing student work is an essential part of teaching. Teachers assign, collect and examine student work all the time to assess student learning and to revise and improve teaching. Student work is the fundamental text that teachers use to understand their own work.
Recent studies have shown that teachers, working collaboratively, can alter and improve their practices in substantive ways through analyzing samples of student work. Collaborative analyses of student work can take several forms. We describe some of these approaches in the Analysis protocols section.
Regardless of the approach, analysis should focus on improving student learning by:
- Identifying the gaps between goals for student achievement and actual student performance;
- Providing information that teachers can use to modify their practices and measure their effects on student learning;
- Helping teachers to develop a new and deeper understanding of their students;
- Developing plans that (a) prioritize specific teaching and learning problems, (b) establish action goals to address each, (c) specify the resources (both external and internal to the school) that can be used to help meet these goals and (d) establish means for assessing whether and to what degree specific efforts have contributed to improving student learning.
Using analysis protocols
Sources for further learning
Analysis of student work samples