Kenan Fellow Partners with Colleague to Develop Tools for Monitoring Student Academic Skills and Practices

CHAPEL HILL — Kelly Sears, a 2014-15 Kenan Fellow, who teaches eighth-grade science at Smith Middle School in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools system collaborated with a colleague, Beth Kinney, an Exceptional Children Resource Teacher, to create assessment tools for standard base grading.

The educators developed the tools after realizing that their current system of monitoring student progress did not take into consideration the diversity of students in a class. For example, often in an eighth-grade class, some students will perform on a second-grade level while others will perform on a ninth-grade level. As students make strides in their learning, their grades do not always reflect their actual learning or provide next steps for continued growth.

In searching for ways to showcase the students’ work and better indicate their accomplishments, Sears and Kinney designed a set of tools that have a common language so that students, parents, and teachers can use them to develop a next-step approach for learning. As a result, they created a standards-based grading system that combines using character education traits and AVID strategies.

The tool is expected to be a predictor of student achievement on the End of Grade (EOG) test and is designed to help the teacher, student and parent work together to select areas of improvement while acknowledging the student’s growth.

After testing the tool in their classrooms and receiving positive feedback from students and parents, Sears and Kinney are providing other educators with access to the tools in hopes that they can adapt the tools to their needs.

Follow the links below to view the Tools for Monitoring Student Academic Skills and Practices and possibly incorporate them in your classroom.

Math Cognitive Skills  Grades 6-8

Language Arts Skills Grades 8

Academic Habits Grades 6-8

Science Cognitive Skills for Middle School