High school English students who have not yet passed the English II State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) will be able to correctly identify and construct all four types of sentences (simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex) without the use of instructional aides. Learners will be able to answer STAAR-style revising and editing multiple choice questions and reach a score point 4 on the sentence variety section of the STAAR essay rubric. Learners will be able to apply their learning in all types of writing beyond STAAR in high school, college, and their careers.
Description of Learner Interview
I am the assistant coach for Academic Decathlon at my school. Our season is over, but I still have the class for the remainder of the school year. I decided to use this group of students for this assignment. I know from their Academic Decathlon essays that their writing needs improvement and they have all either not taken or not passed the English II STAAR. There are 7 students who are a mix of sophomores and juniors.
The student I chose to interview is a sophomore who is currently in a preAP English II class. I chose her because she is one of the few that I did not have in my English class last year, so I’m not as familiar with her in an English class setting.
Much of the interview focused on her current English teacher because she, as well as the other students who have the same teacher, have expressed throughout the year that she does not feel she is learning in that class. I felt it would greatly help my own instruction to know why.
- Do you enjoy writing?
- Do you like your school?
- Do you like your English classes?
- Do you think you learn a lot in your English classes? Why, why not?
- Why would you want to learn to write better?
- Why do you think it might be important to understand sentence structure?
- What is your favorite part of school?
- What do you like to do outside of school?
- What career path do you want to follow? Why?
- Describe your ideal classroom when you’re learning to write (class size, grouping or individual, silent writing, collaborating, sitting still, moving around, direct instruction, view examples, etc)
From this interview, I learned that follow-through and time-efficiency are important to this student. She has the motivation to learn and to do well in her classes. She has a career goal to pursue criminal justice. She intends to go to college and wants to be prepared. When teachers don’t use her time effectively, she becomes frustrated. She also becomes frustrated when the teacher moves on from a topic or novel without closure. She is a motivated student who enjoys reading and wanted to finish the assigned reading, but her teacher moved on without finishing the novel. She also expressed multiple times that she does not like working with people who are not as smart and motivated as she is. She feels that they slow her down.
This will greatly inform my own instruction. I know that I need to be sure to give the students a sense of closure at the end of the lesson and be careful not to “leave them hanging.” I also know that she prefers to work on her own instead of with a group or partners. While collaboration is often an integral part of education, I can at least be cognizant of her wishes and be careful in my choice of pairings, if the instruction warrants it.
She told me that she does like to write, but that she prefers when she’s writing about something she knows well. As the purpose and focus of the lesson will be the structure of sentences and not the content, I will be sure to allow the students the ability to choose their writing topics. She, and the other students, will be able to choose a topic that they know well and can write about easily. This will allow them to focus more on how they are writing and less on what they are writing.
One other thing that struck me after the interview was that this student reminds me a lot of myself at her age. I was highly critical of my own English teachers and felt that other students slowed me down instead of helping me complete my work. I think this will help me a great deal in designing the instruction. Now I know to continuously ask myself how I would have responded to the instruction when I was in high school and be sure that I’m staying true to the students.
|Information Categories||Data Source(s)||Learner Characteristics||Implication(s) for Instruction|
|1. Entry behaviors||Survey and interview||Students have basic English skills. About half of them have passed their English I STAAR, and the other half have not passed, despite multiple attempts.
Additionally, two students are English Language Learners and four are preAP students.
|Students’ levels are varied. Instruction will require differentiation to meet each student at what they know. They have the necessary background skills, but some will require more scaffolding to reach the desired target.|
|2. Prior knowledge of topic area||Prequiz||Students, even those taking preAP English, failed the prequiz. They could not identify types of sentences and did not know what independent or dependent clauses are.||This information verifies the need for this instruction. Instruction will break down sentences into clauses and teach students how to combine them into a variety of sentences.|
|3. Attitudes toward content||Survey and interview||Students want to write better, but don’t feel they have been adequately taught in the past.||Getting students to “buy in” to the instruction will be easy. They are motivated to become better writers, so they will be successful in future classes (especially AP English) and in college.|
|4. Attitudes toward content and potential delivery system||Survey||Students reported that they like using their technology (this school is 1-to-1 with tablets) and writing on paper.||Instruction will include either a mixture of technology (Schoology or otherwise) and pen/paper or give students the option of completing and turning work in on Schoology or paper.|
|5. Academic motivation (ARCS)||Survey and interview||Goal is relevant to students and they believe they can learn it. Students believe the goal is important to their own individual educational goals.||Students already understand that this skill will benefit them in the long run. I know that they are not currently confident in their abilities, but they would like to be.|
|6. Education and ability levels||Survey and interview||Students range from A-students to failing students, though the majority have B’s in their English I and II classes||Students have the necessary academic ability and motivation for instruction|
|7. General learning preferences||Survey||Students identified themselves as visual and auditory.
Students were across the board in kinesthetic and verbal.
|Giving instructions and examples both in writing and out loud will help students understand and engage with the material.|
|8. Attitudes toward training organization||Interview and survey||Students like their school, and prefer to be there versus at home due to boredom||As long as the instruction is not “boring,” motivation should not be an issue.|
|9. Group characteristics
c. Overall impressions
|Interview and survey||a. 6 girls to 1 boy, all Hispanic
b. 7 total students
c. students know each other well and work well together, they have been working together for Academic Decathlon all year
|Because this group is already so familiar with each other, partner/group work will be easy. The small group size will make any kind of jigsaw style activity difficult. Any grouping will stick to partners over larger groups.|
Learning Context Analysis
|Information Categories||Data Sources||Learning Site Characteristics||Implication(s) for Instruction|
|1. Compatibility of site with instructional requirements||observation||Each student has their own school tablet.||Technology can be utilized in the lesson without the need for a laptop cart.|
|2. Adaptability of site to simulate workplace||Observation
|Regular classroom||The setting is the same as the performance setting, though it does not need to have the same test-experience feel.|
|3. Adaptability for delivery approaches||Observation
|Room is adaptable to individual work, pairings, or groupings. Extension power strips allow students to plug in their tablets from anywhere in the room.||Varying types of delivery, individual or group, can keep instruction engaging. Technology is able to move around with the students, and uncharged tablets will not restrict learning.|
|4. Learning site constraints affecting design and delivery|| Observation
|None||All required materials for instruction are readily available.|
Performance Context Analysis
|Information Categories||Data Sources||Performance Site Characteristics||Implication(s) for Instruction|
|1. Managerial support||Experience||There are no supports on the STAAR test.||Students need to be able to work completely independently by the end of the instruction.|
|2. Physical aspects of site||Experience||The STAAR test is administered in a classroom setting. All desks face the same way. The room is silent.||This is not always the best environment for creative thinking, though it can be good for students trying to focus. I do not want my instruction to feel like a testing environment, but it needs to prepare them for it.|
|3. Social aspects of site||Experience||Students will work independently without help or discussion.||Students need to be independent.|
|4. Relevance of skills to workplace||Experience
Previously released tests
|Writing is a huge part of the STAAR test. These skills are a part of both the multiple choice section and the essay-writing section of the assessment||Students need to be able to both construct and use their own sentences as well as identify and fix already written sentences.|