Character - Claim 1:
HOW's: Definitions & Data
Our Habits of Work: HOW's
Responsibility. Participation. Determination. These are the three Habits of Work at REALMS, and they come to life in many different ways for students at our school. This page contains the "defining documents" we use and data we collect to help us ensure that these habits of effective learners remain an important goal in and of themselves for our students.
How Do We Assess HOW's?
Our faculty grading guide holds our commitments around Proficiency Based Assessment in general, including a section on HOW's.
Assessing students Habits of Work is tricky and has the potential to include plenty of subjectivity. The real purpose of assessing HOW's is to help students recognize when and how they are doing well with respect to these academic habits, and also what their "next steps" might be to ensure growth.
To help our staff AND our students with assessing HOW's, we have developed a generic rubric that teachers can modify and contextualize for their specific class/subject area. We have also drafted a set of "grading agreements" when it comes to HOW's so that everyone knows what to expect, and we can work towards a system that is reliable enough to be a foundation from which to grow.
click image to download HOW section of faculty grading guide
Contextualized HOW Targets on Report Cards
As described above, teachers contextualize these generic HOW Learning Targets to be specific to the task or the class. Here are examples of HOW "long term learning targets" that students strive for and are assessed on during a semester.
Tracking HOW Data Over Time - Pushing Our Practice...
We are engaged in several efforts to track growth in our students HOW's over time and to make sense of the data from a school improvement perspective. By gathering data and analyzing it for trends we hope to be able to make more informed decisions about how to best help students build lasting academic habits and mindsets.
As we collected and analyzed our HOW assessment data school wide between 2014 and 2016 we discovered that the data appears somewhat unremarkable. Few obvious trends appear and we realized that the mountain of data that we collated and analyzed brought up more questions than answers. We realized that one reason the scores don’t show remarkable change or trends is that the way our HOWs are defined and contextualized by individual teachers grows in complexity during the course of a single year, and from grade to grade. HOWs themselves may be contextualized for complexity or HOW complexity may increase based on the academic task/standard expectation increasing. In other words, as students engage in more complex work later in the school year (or in later grades), a student must demonstrate greater determination in order to earn a 4 (proficient) than she did earlier in the year, on a less complex task, or in an earlier grade. Similar dynamics are at play for other Habits of Work.
As our understanding of how to help students build effective and long lasting academic habits grows, our approach evolves. Currently we are working towards strengthening our school wide systems for student self assessment with respect to HOW's. We are realizing that our system emphasizes teacher HOW assessment and our belief is that encouraging more thoughtful, frequent and systematic student self assessment is more likely to drive change.
click image above to download full excel spreadsheet
Paying Special Attention to Determination and Growth Mindset
At REALMS we pay special attention to growth mindset because we feel that in many ways it connects closely with our Habit of Work - Determination. Teachers engage students in growth mindset activities during Crew and attempt to build a classroom culture where all students feel safe to take academic risks.
Twice per year we collect student input on school culture as a whole, and there are four questions dedicated specifically growth mindset. We review this data as a staff, and share pertinent pieces of the data with students as well. The data is used as a discussion point as we look for ways to build a culture of academic risk taking and determination across our school.
2015-16 School Culture Survey Results - Growth Mindset Questions:
Our Habit of Work Definitions
While these are our school's standard definitions for each of our Habits of Work, teachers carefully contextualize these Habits based on the kids of academic habits and mindsets required by the specific task, activity or unit of curriculum. Examples of contextualized HOW targets can be found on below, and on the HOW's In Action page.
click to download
Attendance: Indicator of Participation, Responsibility and Determination
One of the indicators that students are developing strong Habits of Work is attendance. At REALMS, attendance rates have consistently and significantly exceeded those of our community and state. The graphs below show attendance rates for "all students" and from a traditionally at-risk population that is well represented at REALMS: Special Education students. Further data is available in the REALMS Credentialing Data Profile.