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Cycle One Report

Cycle One Report: No D Policy, Multiple revision Policy, and Student Generated Rubric

RESEARCH QUESTION: My possible research question is “How do I motivate my students to become more successful learners?”

Description of Action:

MY ACTIONS (Cycle 1: Part 1): The research question is “If I remove the possibility of my students getting a D, will my students…

·         aim for the higher grade because failure isn’t an option

·         be more motivated to try harder

·         need more assistance from me to help when they aren’t understanding

·         be more engaged in their learning

·         seek out extra assistance when they aren’t understanding

MY ACTIONS (Cycle 1: Part 2) : The research question is “If I give my students no deadlines except for at the end each six week grading period, will the students…

·         redo the assignment over and over until they demonstrate their understanding

·         seek extra assistance to turn in their best work

·         start redoing assignments less because they do it correctly the first time

·         be more motivated to be successful

·         become better writers with multiple revisions of their work

 

MY ACTIONS (Cycle 1: Part 3): The research question is “If I have my students create their own rubric for assessing their work, will the students…

·         have a clear understanding of their grade

·         have a clear understanding of the assessment

·         redo assignments less because they know what is expected from them in order to achieve

·         be more motivated to be successful

 

To start this cycle, I discussed my plans for removing the possibility of a D grade in my class with my students to gauge their willingness to participate in my research with me.  I asked for their feedback and willingness to participate trying something new. All of my students agreed to participate. With their agreement, we decided that in order to be successful learners, the students would have multiple opportunities to revise their work in order to show their learning and understanding since we were taking away a barely passing grade.   The multiple revision policy would work in conjunction with the No D policy so that students would be able to learn from their mistakes. The students had as many times as necessary up to the six week grading periods (6 , 12, and 18 weeks) to revise their work using feedback that had been provided on each revision.  With a multiple revision policy, I would provide copious amounts of feedback to help my students become more successful as well as arrange times for students to come in for individualized instruction on their off hours or before or after school.

Additionally, I communicated with my principal my desire to change my grading policy by removing the possibility of a D. I also informed him of the students having multiple revisions in order to be the most successful learners.  He was very supportive of these changes and we both agreed that it would important to notify the parents of the changes I was making. To communicate with my parents, I sent a parent letter home explaining what I am hoping to accomplish in my classroom, and then further explained the project to parents at back to school night who had signed and returned the permission form.   I informed the parents about the No D policy as well as the multiple revision policy.  With my students, after initially presenting the idea at the beginning of the semester, the students all agreeing to participate, and implementing the multiple revision policy, we developed a common rubric for grading with the students. To summarize, the changes in my grading policy that I was instituting were a three part system:

  1. The No D policy
  2. Multiple revision policy until the end of each six week grading period
  3. Student create rubrics for A, B, C, and F quality work

Additionally, at the end of every  six week grading period (six, twelve, eighteen, and twenty-four), I asked my students to reflect on their learning, their grades as a reflection of their learning, the No D policy, and multiple revision policy, the student generated rubric as well as other learning factors.  At the beginning of second semester, the students asked for the multiple revision policy to continue in this class. Additionally, at end of 6 week period in second semester, the students completed a survey in class reflecting their overall feelings of the multiple revision policy.  The results of their survey were followed by interviews with students who wanted to further discuss their answers previously given.  Students were also reminded throughout the semester of the approaching due date indicating the end of six week periods.

 In summary, to build off of the No D policy helping my students become more successful learners, the students needed multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning and understanding so, in case they did not understand the assignment the first time, they would not be defeated or fail. Instead, in order to help the students become successful learners, the possibility of a D grade was eliminated and the students received multiple opportunities to redo their work in order to fully demonstrate their learning and understanding achieving an A, B, or C quality grade. 

 

ARTIFACTS COLLECTED: I collected the following:

  • Blog entries evaluating the use of a student created rubric
  • My own personal reflective blogs
  • Student evaluations at the end of the 6, 12, 18 week grading periods.
  • Student survey at end of first six weeks of second semester.
  • Personal interviews with students at the end of the 18 week period with students with the greatest challenges overcome and students who are still challenged.

Data Source:

Student Feedback:

I had the kids complete reality checks  also called “What’s Up” to help me understand what is going on in their lives, what challenges they are facing, and what good things they are encountering so that I can help if they desire. This has been an excellent communication tool for enhancing the teacher to student connection so that I am often aware of aspects of their lives other teachers might not see. 

With this first six week reflection, I also had the students respond to questions about our class’ first major assignment, to reflect on the No D policy, multiple revision policy, the class rubric, as well as other learning factors.  The students completed their answers to these questions in class and submitted their responses to me.  I find this direct communication from student to teacher builds a trust relationship where students are more connected with me because they know I am reading what they have to say and will respond in kind with what I am able to do in assisting them with their challenges. Adding the aspect of reflection on the No D and multiple revision policies as well as student generated rubric, established a basis for my research illustrating that they are part of the research as well. I let them know before they completed the survey how important it was for them to be honest and reflective so that we could make changes to what we were doing if necessary. 

After the 12 week grading period, I asked the class to reflect once again on what is going on in their lives as well as focusing on the No D policy, multiple revisions, and how they see their progress regarding their learning. I encouraged them again to complete the survey as honestly and openly as they could because their answers are driving this research project.  I also added a question to this survey focusing on their work ethic with the No D policy and an additional question addressing the multiple revision policy seeking out the impact of this policy upon their learning thus far in the semester. I wanted to see if the policy was beneficial or had become a crutch for them to rely upon.  Additionally, I also asked for them to look ahead and establish goals for the remainder of the semester. The students submitted their responses to me when they had finished completing their answers in class. 

At the end of the semester, the 18 week grading period, the students reflected one last time regarding the No D policy, the multiple revision work, and an overall reflection on their learning. There were also questions about technologies role in their learning since this class meets in a 1-1 learning environment where each student has his/her own computer to use.  I was interested to see if the use of the laptop and USB made revisions and feedback an easier process.  I also asked the kids to do some reflection on their grade as well as suggestions for improvement for me, for the No D policy, and for the class.  This time the reflection was to be posted on the class blog. Not all students completed the final semester reflection. Class time was given to complete the reflection and I emphasized again how important it was for students to give honest and reflective feedback.

At the end of the first six weeks of second semester, students completed an in-class, anonymous survey which was posted on our class blog.  The survey was an online survey using Google Spreadsheets which asked questions directly focused to the multiple revision policy and its connection to their learning.  Following the survey results, I asked if there were students who would like to elaborate on their answers in an afterschool interview. Those interviews were conducted with three sets of students (group 1, group 2, and group 3).  The students were asked to expand on the answers they had given in the online survey.  The interviews were recorded.

 

Data Revealed:

First Six Weeks:

Six week reflection questions: 6 weeks responses

  • How is it going?
  • What is one thing that is going well for you?
  • What is one thing that is challenging you?
  • How can I help? 
  • How is the no “D” working for you? 
  • Do you think your grade is an accurate reflection of your learning?
  • How is the opportunity to redo assignments working for you?
  • Any suggestions?

 

Part One: No D Policy

After reviewing the 27 total responses for the first six week period, and focusing solely on the No D policy aspect, 23 students commented on the positive change that the policy instituted and 1 student commented about a negative view of the change.  The students that did comment about the positive change linked their choice with the motivating factor of the policy and its ability to push them to try harder and do more.  The student who had negative comments about the No D policy reflected that it was a policy that did not affect them since “I haven’t even come close to a D.” The remaining three students did not answer the questions related to the No D policy.  Assertions could be made that the change in implementing the No D policy was very effective and instituted a positive change for the class in terms of their learning and success as students.

From the first six week reflection, the data indicates the students’ evaluation of the No D policy and their motivation and success as a learner.  Students reflected that the policy pushed them to achieve more because students would either do the work that was sufficient to achieve an A, B, or C or students failed.  Eliminating the middle ground of passing with a D was a motivational factor in many of the students’ minds.  The students had to remain focused because barely passing the class was not an option.  Some students even reflected that they wished more classes had a No D policy since it helps them demonstrate their learning and understanding if they happen to falter on one assignment.  Students could still be successful even if they didn’t “get-it” the first time around. 

Part Two: Multiple Revision Policy

From the first six week reflection, the students overwhelming approved the multiple revision policy.  Out of 27 responses, 19 indicated a positive response.  The students emphasized the connection between the No D Policy and multiple revision policy. They saw a growth within their learning and themselves as a result of the policy.  Many indicated the value in being able to learn from their mistakes, the ability to submit their best work over time, being able to reach a grade they desired.   One student who indicated a negative response indicated that he felt the multiple revision policy defeated the purpose of homework. However, this student also took advantage of the multiple redo policy throughout the first six weeks.  Seven respondents chose not to answer the reflection question. 

Giving students the opportunity to redo assignments supported the No D policy.   This change enabled students to turn in products of understanding that measured their learning over successive efforts to develop their learning.  Students commented about the effectiveness of being able to learn from their mistakes by turning in better quality work time and again.  The combination of the No D policy with the option to hand in revised copies of their work, seemed to affect the students’ personal beliefs about their learning and achievement.  Students commented on their desire to do more and redo assignments because they felt better about their learning. Additionally, it is important to emphasize that students also indicated a change in themselves personally feeling more successful as learners.  This is valuable to note that for some students the revision policy became more about improving themselves as learners rather than simply seeking a better grade.  Also, this was just a reflection of their growth within the first six week grading period.

Additionally, as previously stated in the first part of the cycle one report, students felt much more empowered in determining their grades because the emphasis was placed on them doing their best work for as many times as it was necessary.  The students’ grades seemed much more in their control versus the teacher control.  Students commented upon this factor saying that it really helped them feel much more successful about learning and in control of the learning.  The ownership over the grade and learning resided with the student.  Students reflected that this was a big change in their education.  Some students even commented on the change of the role of the teacher assisting them in the learning process but not being in charge of the learning process. 

Part Three: Student Generated Rubric

In the first grading period, although there was no direct question asking the students about the rubric, in the students’ reflections about the No D and multiple revision policies, eight students directly commented positively about it. These students elaborated saying that the rubric, being of their own creation, assisted them in their understanding of grades, created a strong expectation for achievements since they knew how to obtain the desired grade, and felt as though they had a say in their own grade. Students indicated that through their ideas being part of the rubric, they had a clear idea of what was expected out of each and every assignment. This once again parallels with students feeling more empowered with their learning and grades. Since students knew the expectations and they had determined the expectations, students felt like they were more successful in their learning or knew the steps they needed to take to improve upon their learning. No students commented negatively upon the rubric.

Second Six Weeks:

Twelve week reflection questions: 12 week responses

  • What do you think about their only be six weeks left of the semester and our No D policy?
  • Reflect on grade- is it an accurate measurement of your learning?
  • Are you doing everything possible to achieve the grade you want?
  • How is the No D policy working for you? Be specific with examples.
  • How is multiple redo policy working for you?  Are you having to redo assignment more often or less?  Is it helpful or a hindrance?  Do you procrastinate because of it? Or is it helpful because you can keep working until you do your best work?
  • Have you made progress since the first six week period?  If so, how? If not, why not?
  • What goals or strategies are you going to set up for yourself for the final six weeks? 

 

The second six weeks reflection validates the information from the first six weeks. The No D policy was still in effect as well as the multiple revision policy and the use of the student created  A, B, and C quality rubric.  Students continued to reflect on the effect of the No-D policy to motivate students to try their best and take advantage of increased feedback.  Many students commented that the No D policy had increased their motivation to do well because if they did not achieve their best, they would fail the class.  This sentiment was continued with students expressing their thoughts on the multiple revision policy.  Students appeared to see connections between the No D policy, reworking assignments multiple times, and their degree of increased control over their grades.  

Part One: No D Policy

In their reviews of the second six weeks, there were 29 responses turned in to the questions about the No D policies. 28 out of the 29 students again reasserted the positive effects of the No D policy and their desire to continue with the policy.  Students that felt positive about the policy added to their answers the connection with the policy to their motivation to learn and turn in quality work.  Five students responded with a negative view of the policy one explaining that it either did not affect them, that they wouldn’t do the work regardless, that he wanted an F, or attributed the negative feelings the student would have towards the teacher if the student received an F.  Three of these five students that had negative views about the policy also commented about the positive nature of the policy as well in their response.  One student did not answer the question about the No D policy. The assertion could still be made that the continuation of the No D policy and its effects on student learning is important. From the first six weeks, 23/ 27 students saw the policy as an important positive change, and during the second six weeks 28/29 students echoed that sentiment.

Furthermore, some students realized that they have to do all their work because failure is not an option so no matter if they procrastinate, do it correctly the first time, or need multiple redos, the assignments must be completed.  Students also commented on a change they witnessed in their grades indicating that the grades might not be an accurate measurement of their learning. Some students said their grade did not communicate all they had learned in this class.  Some even attributed the grade to more of a work ethic measurement versus learning.  Through their reflections, some students described seeing their teacher in a different role-- as one who will help them achieve their best work, not as one who just gives out grades. This is valuable feedback.  Students are differentiating roles of a teacher into a golden standard.  They see a teacher is more than an assessor; they see teachers as coaches encouraging them along the long race of learning.  The feedback students are receiving because of the No D policy is supporting this assertion because the kids are willing to do more to achieve rather than focusing on a grade. They want teacher as coach, not just teacher as assessor.  They are encouraged to do more than what has previously been expected of them.  They are building trust with the teacher and are understanding that the teacher has a greater interest in them succeeding other than just the focus on a grade.

Part Two: Multiple Revision Policy

Out of 29 respondents, 28 students responded positively regarding the multiple revision policy during the second six week grading period.  There were no negative responses although a couple of students indicated that the policy led to some procrastination on their part as learners. One student chose not to answer the question, but indicated that all the new policies (No D policy, multiple revision policy, student generated rubric) had “the class working as a whole, and working together to achieve greatness.”

As indicated previously on part one of the cycle report, students noticed they were not making the same mistakes they had previously because of the opportunity to redo assignments over and over again. Many students talked about the change and growth in their reading and writing abilities as a result of the multiple revision policy.  Some students said that that they needed less revisions because they were not making the same mistakes.  They consistently commented on the power of learning from their mistakes.  Many students acknowledged what a tremendous change the revisions allowed in them personally so that they recognized in themselves growth as learners, positive changes in their writing skills, and less procrastination on their work.  Interestingly, many students indicated such positive changes in their writing skills by being able to learn from their mistakes.  They indicated how important it was to redo their work right away so that they would not have multiple assignments to rework all at the same time.

Furthermore, some students realized that they have to do all their work because failure is not an option so no matter if they procrastinate, do it correctly the first time, or need multiple revisions, the assignments must be completed.  Throughout their responses to the revision policy, students seemed split on redoing work as a result of learning and as a result of wanting a better grade.  This is an interesting point because it could be showing a shift in the student’s thinking moving from initially wanting a better grade to wanting to learn.  14 respondents commented on the value of learning from their mistakes, and seven commented on the growth in their writing skills. The survey question did not specifically ask for either of these responses and so to see the students’ willingness to comment on the impact of the multiple revisions is noteworthy.  One important point to note was that in this 12 week reflection piece, students were aware that only 6 weeks remained in the semester to change their grade. 

Part Three: Student Generated Rubric

Two students commented directly about the student generated rubric in this reflection period although no question was directly asked.  The students indicated once again the preference for knowing the quality of work that was expected if them in order to achieve the desired grade.

Student Refection --18 weeks

18 week semester reflection questions: 18 week responses

  • What changes have you seen this semester in regards to your education?
  • What role did technology play in that change?
  • Are you more or less motivated to learn?
  • Do you feel that your grade is an accurate measurement of your learning?
  • What role did the constructivist philosophy play in that change? (constructivist-students becoming producers of information, students in charge of their own learning.
  • What suggestions for improvement do you have for me next year?
  • Do you want to continue with the No D policy?
  • What are some of the things you would suggest I do again?
  • Did you finish the semester where you wanted to in terms of your learning or grade?
  • For those of you that finished the semester with a D or F what are you going to do differently next semester?
  • Make sure to include specific examples and expand on each other's ideas. Your feedback- honest and reflective- is important!

 

The final semester reflection indicated a continuation of all the previously mentioned comments.  Students still wanted to continue the policies of No D, multiple revisions, and the A, B, C quality rubric.  Many students are seeing the connection now between the multiple redo policy and No D policy as something they are in charge of regarding their learning.  Many students commented that the grade is really up to them because they have multiple opportunities for success and learning. A number of students commented about the learning and grades existing for them and not for the teacher or parent. Students also commented on the importance of them creating the rubric for all their work.  Overall, most students felt their semester grade was an accurate measurement of their learning. Students commented that they wanted to continue all these policies into next year and felt successful about how their first semester finished.

Part One: No D Policy

In the final semester reflection on the No D policy, 23 responses were collected.  21 of the 23 responses indicated a desire for continuation of the policy and the positive change the policy made in their learning.  Three students had a negative view of the policy but did not provide an explanation for their reasoning. One of the three students who had a negative view also commented that she would like to continue with the policy as well.  1 student suggested that this policy be implemented in other classes as well.

Interestingly, of the negative responses that were tabulated at the beginning of the semester, the student who felt that the No D policy did not affect him changed his opinion at the end of the semester reflecting that it became a motivating factor, “…because I think that it drives people to strive for a better grade and in turn more learning.”  Two other students who thought negatively of the policy and did not want to see it continue had not responded this way to the question previously. One student reflected continuously throughout the semester his dislike of the policy. 

Part Two: Multiple Revision Policy

At the end of the semester survey, 23 students responded to the final survey. 13 students mentioned the impact of the multiple revision policy on their learning without a question specifically asking them about the policy.  Additionally, although nine students did not mention the policy in their reflection, they did mention the change in their writing they had seen over the course of the semester.  14 out of the 23 total respondents indicated a positive change in their writing. These students noticed significant changes in their writing being better, more understandable, clearer, and focused.  Students also commented that the understood the writing structure much better and could effectively write better paragraphs.  There was a connection noted between learning from the mistakes made in writing and the ability to learn from those mistakes. Mistakes and learning work together in creating a more motivated student and learner.  Students commented that they wanted to continue all these policies into next year and felt successful about how their first semester finished.

Reflecting on this survey, it would have been better to ask a specific question relating to the multiple revision policy, although, there was already a plan to have the students complete a survey during the first six weeks of their second semester. Having a specific question would have enabled the students to reflect specifically about the effect of the multiple revision policy. By not having a specific question, one is able to see the effect of the policy on the students if they commented about it or not.

Part Three: Student Generated Rubric

During the final semester reflection, five students commented about the rubric they had created although no direct question had been asked.  Students reflected on the power of creating their own rubric knowing that the excuses for not succeeding had been taken away because they knew what is expected of them to achieve. Ultimately, they felt they could choose the grade they wanted since they knew what would be required.

Student survey: Second Semester- First six weeks and results

1.       Has the ability to redo assignments multiple times been beneficial to you?

Not at all, Sometimes, Most of the time, Always

2.       Has the ability to redo assignments had a positive change to your thinking about learning and being a successful learner?

Not at all, Sometimes, Most of the time, Always

3.       On average, do you do an assignment correctly the first time the assignment is assigned?

Not at all, Sometimes, Most of the time, Always

4.       If you need to redo assignments, how many times does it take you to redo the assignment in order to get the grade you desire?

1, 2, 3, 4+

5.       At your best guess, how many assignments have you redone in order to improve your grade?

None- , 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10+

6.       Thinking about the feedback you receive on assignments, did it help you succeed as a learner?

Not at all, Sometimes, Most of the time, Always

  1. Do you take the multiple redo policy for granted? 

Not at all, Sometimes, Most of the time, Always

  1. If I required homework to be turned in immediately, how often would you have turned it in on time?

Not at all, Sometimes, Most of the time, Always

  1. Knowing that you have multiple opportunities to redo your work, has your effort declined on those assignments?

Not at all, Sometimes, Most of the time, Always

  1. Throughout the semester, do you try to perform harder at first so not to have to redo it?

Not at all, Sometimes, Most of the time, Always

  1. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the greatest improvement, how have you improved as a student as a result of the multiple redo policy?

1-2: little to no change, 3-4, 5-6: good improvement, 7-8, 9-10: greatest improvement

  1. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the greatest improvement, how have you improved as a student as a result of the No D policy?

1-2: little to no change, 3-4: some improvement, 5-6: good improvement, 7-8: good but not great improvement, 9-10: greatest improvement

  1. Should I continue offering our redo policy next year to freshmen when you become sophomores?

Yes or No

  1.  On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being greatest improvement, how would you rank the redo policy vs. a non-redo policy in terms of it actually improving writing?

1-2: little to no change, 3-4: some improvement, 5-6: good improvement, 7-8: good but not great improvement, 9-10: greatest improvement

  1.  In the future would you hold yourself to a self imposed redo policy even if your teacher at that time did not require it?

Yes or No

 

Thinking back over this entire second cycle as well as its connection within cycle one- part one’s No D Policy and their connection to my overall goal of having my students be more successful with learning, the two have worked in unison and completely supportive of one another. 

Part Two: Multiple Revision Policy

The second semester began with a student teacher assuming the role of teacher in the ninth grade class. Also, the class dropped from 30 students in first semester to 23 in second semester. The ratio of boys to girls in this class is 13 males and 10 females.  The class did not receive any new students. Because of the work and attitudes that resulted from the No D and the multiple revision policies, the students indicated a great desire to maintain these two policies in place throughout second semester. The student teacher, Randon Ruggles, reviewed these policies with the students to ensure the students all understood the continuation of their work into second semester. The students indicated to him their need to continue with this work. 

During the first six weeks, the students were completing an extensive writing assignment called “Project: Change the World.” The multiple revision policy was instrumental in their success in this large writing endeavor.  The students were to select a topic that they were passionate about, research the topic, and write a persuasive paper including research to support their stance, about changing the world through their topic. For example, a student selected the topic of child soldiers in Sudan and Darfur. The student wanted the use of child soldiers to stop, found research to support his stance, and wrote a five paragraph, thesis driven paper including documentation of research indicating the change he wanted to see in the world as a result of his stance. Finally, he also ended his paper with an action plan as to what he was going to do to stop of the use of child soldiers. 

The reason the multiple revision policy was instrumental in student’s success with this paper assignment is that throughout the paper, the students were receiving feedback from both the student teacher and teacher in order to improve their writing on each draft and section of the writing process.  The survey that the student’s completed about the multiple revision policy was completed during their writing of the paper.

20 students completed the survey that was given in class and submitted anonymously.  The students who did not complete the survey were not in class on the day the rest of the students completed it.  Out of the 20 students, 16 indicated that the policy was beneficial to them and 16 additionally indicated an overall positive change to their thinking about learning.  One aspect that was interesting to examine more closely was how the policy has effected how many times they needed to revise their work and their effort exhibited towards each assignment.  19 of the students indicted that it took them 1-2 times to revise their work in order to achieve the grade they desired.  18 indicated that they either do not take the policy for granted or that they only sometimes take it for granted.  In connection with the effort put forth towards assignment completion, 18 indicated that it does not decline at all or only sometimes. 

The students were also asked about the change they see in themselves as students and as writers as a result of the policy.  Out of a scale of one through ten with ten being the greatest improvement in themselves as students, 16 ranked themselves a six or better. Specifically, six out of the 20 students ranked themselves as a nine.  Looking at the change they saw in themselves as writers, a resounding 18 indicated a seven or better in terms of the greatest improvement in themselves as writers with 13 out of the 18 indicating a ten on the scale of one through ten with ten being the greatest improvement. Finally, 14 out of 20 students said that they would hold themselves accountable to revise their work even if a teacher did not require it.

Reflection:

Thinking back over this entire first cycle (No D Policy, Multiple Revision Policy, and Student Generated Rubric) and the role it had leading to the overall goal my students being more successful learners, I am very excited regarding their comments/ feedback and am eager to go forward.  I think one of the things I took away the most from their comments is how important it is for students to feel in control over their learning and empowered by education. By having them be a part of this whole action research process, I have turned over much of the control of the classroom to my students.  The students from day one determined if they wanted to be part of this research project, we discussed together what it would be like to not have a D (what are the consequences, possible successes, issues with a policy like this), and then generated a class rubric to assess the learning and understanding.  They drove this research process.  And thinking ahead, I think they will continue to drive the research.

When students feel in control and empowered, as we all want to feel in our lives, change is possible.  Students realized that by determining the rubric, there were going to be no surprises in the grade.  And, if students did not achieve to the best of their ability in round one of an assignment, they had the opportunity to keep revising it as many times as necessary up till the six week period in order to truly demonstrate their learning and understanding.  They seemed to really embrace the idea as a class that failure was not an option.  With the support of Dr. Riel, my principal, and the parents, I think this aspect was really hit home for them.  The periodic reflection kept reminding them of the policy so that the focus was on learning and achieving.  I wanted the students to walk away from this semester successful in their learning through their growth in writing, reading, comprehension, and hopefully, achieve more in this class than they had previously; I think their reflections are a testament to that. 

I also think their reflections are a testament to the power of students having a say in their education.  By students being in charge of their grade through the multiple redo policy, the students generating the rubric to assess their learning, and failure not being an option, students achieved more in this class than in many of my previous years teaching this same class.  I feel that through their comments, this was the best many of the kids had ever achieved in a Language Arts class.  In fact, out of 30 kids in this class, only two failed where my previous years had up to 9-10 in a class with D’s or F’s. Students really took advantage of all the opportunities before them to succeed.  This success would have been possible without the mutual pairing of the No D policy with the multiple redos. I think the class would not have been as successful if only one element would have been implemented at a time. 

One thing that really surprised me was how encouraging all their feedback was towards me as their teacher and the changes I was trying to make in the classroom. Some students now see their learning and grade in their hands and not so much in the teachers. I think this is a dramatic shift for such young kids to experience. I also was impressed by the reflections of students who really see my role as a teacher as more of an encourager, not wanting them to fail, but instead giving them multiple opportunities to be successful. It makes me wonder what teachers have done in the past to them that teachers haven’t created this feeling within them before. This echoes the difference between teachers as coaches and teachers as assessors.  Teachers who are coaches see learning as a continuum where the success of the students is a measurement not only of what the students understand, but is also a personal measurement of teaching. If my students are successful learners, than I am also successful in teaching, mentoring and coaching them along.  Teachers who see their role in teaching as an assessor are only concerned with the end result or with a number.  I hope I can continue their interpretation of teachers as a coach, mentor, and learner rather than a teacher who is just concerned with their grade. 

Focusing more specifically on the multiple revision policy, I think one of the things I garnered from their comments is how critical it is for students to be able to redo/ revise/ rework their work in order to learn. From the first time I discussed this policy with my principal, my learning circle, Dr. Riel, and my students, they all commented about what a change it has been for my students in their view towards their learning, and the change in me as a teacher who has never allowed redos before in her class.

My students overwhelming value the chance to redo their work, and see it not as an expectation placed by me, but an expectation they place on themselves. They value the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and to grow as learners.  Whether it is through feedback I have given them as their teacher, the peer feedback or student teacher feedback, they have taken all of this in mind to change their work. Resoundingly, I think the final survey indicates what a dramatic change this has been in my classroom. Many of the students see themselves as better writers and learners. They see a connection between learning from their mistakes, and applying that learning to new situations and assignments hopefully carrying forth into their other classes. This shows clear transference of information which is when learning occurs; there are not experiencing mere regurgitation.

The students see now writing as a process not a one time only turn it in piece of work. They see the value in continuing to work on an assignment until it is their best work.  Many of the students indicated the challenge in assignments in other classes being a one time only piece of work, and struggle to learn if there is no opportunity to revise and grow.  This indicates a meta-cognitive approach to their learning where they are becoming reflective about the learning process understanding what methodologies and practices are instrumental to them.

With the interviews conducted at the end of this cycle, I was greatly interested in hearing the students elaborate on their answers to the survey questions. One aspect all indicated was that the feedback from the teacher was instrumental in their ability to redo their work. With feedback, the students saw what they needed to work on and change.  Thinking ahead to the next cycle, and focusing specifically on feedback, this is good information and valuable. It makes me think about training the student teacher and students as becoming reflective practitioners of their own work so that they learn from their mistakes and I do not have to give as much feedback in the end is as needed in the beginning.

The amount of grading and feedback undertook was overwhelming at times. I am not sure I would be capable of giving the quantity of feedback in all of my classes that was necessary to assist these students. Therefore, I can see a real need to train the students to become self reflective and adept at giving feedback to other’s work.  This would make them become more reflective on their own pieces as well as assist others in the class with their learning. 

The feedback from the students on the multiple revision policy has definitely changed me as a teacher. Before this policy and this year at Pepperdine in the OMET program, I never considered giving kids chances to redo their work- I had the no redo policy in place for 10 years. My belief was that the students needed to do their best work the first time and that if I gave them multiple chances to redo their work, they would not learn to be responsible, put forth their best work, and achieve. Instead, by giving myself the permission to try something new, I realized how valuable redoing your work is. The students learned over time and did not take advantage of the policy because they simply realized that having too many assignments to redo is incredibly stressful. Also, they learned that they could grow from their mistakes and would make far less errors because they applied their learning to each new assignment. 

I learned that it is more important to learn from my students. If they need me to work harder by providing them with more feedback so that they can be successful learners than that is my job.  If only given one chance to succeed on an assignment, they do not learn, they simply feel defeated and give up. Giving multiple opportunities improves their writing, their work ethic, and their personal feeling about themselves as learners.  It also improves the student teacher dynamic because they see all of us working together to achieve the same thing: success as learners. I am learning from them, they are learning from me, and they are learning from one another.

Looking forward, I think there are some things I need to spend some time contemplating.  How are these policies going to work moving forward seeing as how the students are already used to them?  Will this lead to complacency and procrastination knowing that they can wait till the six week period to turn work in? Or, will it work more effectively because students will turn in their best work initially knowing that they would rather do it correctly the first time and not wait till the last minute?  Will having a student teacher who is implementing these policies with the students shift the power of these policies in a different direction?  Will they be as successful?  Maybe my role can change to more of a mentorship role with the really struggling students enabling a 1-1 learning environment for them.  Could I work one on one with students (possibly just D and F students) while the other students work with the student teacher?  Will my students benefit from having two sources of feedback?  How can I help my students give each other feedback and train them as “experts” in this area? I also really want to work with the students creating suggestions for where they would like the class to go in terms of answering my research problem.  I feel like I am asking them for suggestions but not really getting anything from them. Maybe I need to work on the kinds of questions I am asking or to work directly with students who are not meeting their learning expectations in order to more individually meet their needs.

Overall, I see a dramatic connection in students feeling successful in their learning by taking ownership over their grades, redoing their work, setting high expectations for themselves, their teacher, and their class. Through the No D policy, and the ability to redo multiple assignments, and the creation of the A, B, C quality rubric, the role of the teacher and student changed; the teacher shifted to more of a facilitator towards student learning, and the students embraced their own learning and understanding which was ultimately reflected in their grade and success as a student.

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