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Building student confidence and establishing checkpoints:

It is very important to make sure that kids are moving along and not feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or totally lost. Last year, one of my biology II students who was an exchange student from another country quickly let me know how she was doing by saying; "This is NOT science, in my country science is dogmatic!".

  1. I ask the students to report to the whole class on their findings thus far (mini-symposia)...often they will suggest options to each other and help clarify in "real student talk". The common brainstorming that occurs often initiates new ideas for others to follow or try.

  2. I also will give the students short articles to read (and we discuss them) that are germain to the investigations they are doing. The questions and comments from students often clue me in to who is having problems as well as how I might be able to assist them.

  3. Short term assignments such as labs., fieldwork presentations, field journal entries allow me an opportunity to both gage and guide a student along. To me, this is what the purpose of assessment is all about...giving students feedback to adjust their performance as they go versus a "final grade". This also allows for student growth and confidence in gaining knowledge and skills whereas the "final grade" tends to type cast a student as an A, B, C, or "F" person.

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