Making Sense of Student Work

  • Title:Making Sense of Student Work: A Protocol for Teacher Collaboration
  • Author:Kirsten Daehler, Jennifer Folsom, Jennifer Mendenhall
  • Publication Date:August 2014
  • ISBN:9781938287121
  • Publisher:WestEd

When teachers closely examine words and drawings created during the learning process, they gain a valuable window into their students’ thinking. By examining student work, teachers can identify what students understand and where gaps in their understanding can be leveraged as opportunities for improvement.

Making Sense of Student Work is a self-facilitated protocol, ideal for collaborative groups of 3–24 teachers. It is divided into five 2-hour sessions, each with a specific focus—exploring mental models, investigating learning gaps, thinking through instructional next steps, analyzing tasks, and modifying tasks.

The Making Sense of Student Work protocol provides a framework to help teachers:

  • Have evidence-based discussions about students’ work and students’ thinking
  • Examine and come to understand students’ ideas and the logic behind these ideas
  • Strengthen their abilities to make instructional choices in response to the specific ways students are thinking
  • Analyze and improve the formative assessment tasks they use with students

Teachers in a variety of contexts, including formal professional learning communities, weekly grade-level team meetings, and informal teacher-to-teacher collaborations, have successfully used this protocol.

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