Tool: General guidelines
for analyzing student work together
Purpose of this tool:
This tool provides some general guidelines to help you and your colleagues
make the most of working together to analyze student work.
How to use this tool:
You can use this tool at the beginning of every protocol to remind participants
of purposes, procedures and norms. You can also use it to help you Set norms of interaction for your learning community.
Getting ready to present
- Select a project, task or assessment
that addresses a school-wide goal for student performance. What is selected
should call for significant student work products or performances.
- Gather relevant documents that
will help participants understand the project or task, i.e., assignment
sheets, scoring/grading criteria or rubrics, models, timelines, etc.
Think about what other key information participants need to understand
the task and how you can present that information succinctly.
- Select samples of student work
that demonstrate authentic student responses to the project or task.
- Frame a focusing question for
participants that addresses a real interest or concern of yours.
Possible samples of student
- written work (or artwork) from
several students that typifies the range of responses to the same assignment
- several pieces of work from one
student in response to different assignments
- one piece of work from a student
who completed the assignment successfully and one piece from a student
who did not
- work done by student groups (include work of at least two groups that were given the same
- video- or audiotapes of students
working, performing or presenting their work (this might be particularly
useful for very young children). Have tapes cued up and ready to present.
The clips you present should not be longer than 5–7 minutes.
- Remove or obscure student names
- Make enough copies for everyone.
- Be prepared to briefly describe
the context for the student work, including objectives, assignment
and information about the social context of the classroom and students’
Participating in the analysis.
When looking at student work and teaching materials...
- Stay focused on evidence present
in the work.
- Suspend judgment.
- Look for patterns in the work
that provide clues to how and what the student was thinking.
When listening and responding
to colleagues' thinking...
- Listen without judging.
- Listen for differences in perspectives
and use disagreement as an opportunity to reflect upon your own thinking.
- Make your own thinking clear
- Be patient.
When you reflect on the
process of looking at student work...
- What did you see in the student
work that was interesting or surprising?
- What did you learn about how
the student(s) thinks and learns?
- What about the process helped
you see and learn these things?
- What did you learn from listening
to your colleagues that was interesting or surprising?
- Compare what you see and what
you think about the student work with what you and your students do
in the classroom.
- What new perspectives did your
- How can you make use of these
- Identify questions that the student
work and your colleagues' comments raise for you. How can you pursue
these questions further?
- What would you like to try in
your classroom as a result of the analysis?
Adapted from Looking at Student Work. Guidelines
from learning from student work.