Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cycle 2 Interview 2/17

I completed the first set of interviews with two students who volunteered to expand on the survey results from cycle 2’s focus of the multiple revision policy. I have a group of boys I will be interviewing on Thursday as well. I told the girls that I wanted to use the questions from the survey as a basis for our discussion but I wanted to expand on their answers asking “why” they answered as they did. The interview took place after school on February 17, 2009.

For question one “Has the ability to redo assignments multiple times been beneficial to you?” , the students responded that it was beneficial because they were able to redo mistakes they had made. One student also responded that it made her want to improve as a writer.

For question two, “Has the ability to redo assignments had a positive change to your thinking about learning and being a successful learner?” one student reacted that it made her look at assignments not as a have to as she had previously in classes, but she now looked at the assignments as a want to. She saw that she could do better each time she worked on an assignment. The other student commented that she was not as stressed about homework because she could redo the work and that she could learn about what to do and not do going forward on other assignments.

Question three, “On average, do you do an assignment correctly the first time the assignment is assigned?”. The students both commented that they try to do the assignment correctly the first time, but that they needed further direction or corrections and thus redid the work. Additionally, one student commented that there were times when she turned in the work just to get feedback to do better work the next time. She saw it as a chance to improve and that when she was stressed about homework, it gave her a break being able to redo an assignment. So sometimes she would not turn in the best work the first time in because of how stressed she was.
Question six, "Thinking about the feedback you receive on assignments, did it help you succeed as a learner?”. I added an additional question onto this question asking about the dual feedback they are receiving from Mr. Ruggles, the student teacher, and myself. One student remarked that the dual feedback was overwhelming. She felt like she was trying to please two teachers and do what two teachers wanted. With one set of feedback, it would be much easier. The other student responded that she did not mind the dual sets of feedback. She said she honestly liked all the feedback because she did not feel lost in her writing. The feedback gave her simple changes to improver her grade and the positive feedback was encouraging.

Question seven “Do you take the multiple redo policy for granted?" . One student reacted that she did take the policy for granted. Stress played a big role in this. She knew that she did not have to get the assignment done on time and that she would still receive credit. But then she would get stressed by the redos because it eventually had to be done. She commented that the multiple revision is a privilege and she took it for granted. It is a good as a back up or safety net when she can’t get the work done but you end up cheating yourself when you rely on it all the time. The other student agreed that it could be used as a backup and that sometimes she takes it for granted. If she is busy and has a lot of homework, then she uses it.

Question nine “Knowing that you have multiple opportunities to redo your work, has your effort declined on those assignments?”. Both students commented that their effort did not decline because they realized that the work just leads to more work when assignments are not done correctly. All of it just builds on another. And their answers for question 10, “Throughout the semester, do you try to perform harder at first so not to have to redo it” supported that with their responses echoing the same idea that if they didn’t do their best work the first time around, the work would compound with new assignments and then redos all at once.

Question eleven, “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?”. At first one of the students wanted me to define what a student was to them. I put the question back on her asking her to tell me what a student was. Although she didn’t define what a student was, she did answer the question saying that she improved as a student by learning more from her mistakes. When she would mess up, she would learn not to repeat that mistake a second time. The other student commented that she improved as a writer with the feedback she was receiving. She learned techniques of getting work done. She learned a lot about the process of redoing work. She commented about how stressful it can be when there is so much to redo, but she learned skills that will help her throughout life. She even remarked that this privilege is not ever given to students. I asked her if she would want other teachers to give multiple redos and she said it should be a piece of advice given to all teachers at AHS. The other student then commented that some students would take the policy for granted, but a majority would use it. One solution is that it could be given to only some students especially students with ADD or that need more understanding.

From this question, they traversed into talking about grades and learning. One student commented that this class wasn’t as strict as others. The students in this class are not as stressed and they feel lucky to be in here. One of the students went on to talk about how this class focused not on a grade, but on writing. She continued that she felt she was benefitting more in this class and benefiting from learning from one another. She had trouble expressing exactly where she was going with this comment, and I did not want to lead her on, but I think the sentiment is there that she is feeling a change and inspired by that change.

Question fourteen, “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”. One of the students reacted that her writing has improved a lot. That things that were once weaknesses (spelling, punctuation, grammar) now those are things she has improved on. She knows what to do, how to do it, and fix the mistakes. The other student remarked that she noticed a change right away. The redo policy allowed for her to complete her work where as before she would complete an assignment just to get through it, rushing her work, and didn’t put herself into her world. The redo helped her learn structure and that she could take her time so that she could express what she really thought.

At the end of the interview, I asked if they had any final thoughts. One of the students commented that the redo policy was one of the best things. She remarked that she has problems staying on task, and this policy helped her with that. She also commented that this policy was a privilege and that all teachers should have this. The students and teacher benefit by having the knowledge not the focus on the grade. The students are changing their focus from trying for a grade, to trying for the benefits of knowledge. The other student added that she didn’t care about her grade in this class as she did in her others, she was too busy learning. The also both echoed that this class is hard and challenging but with the multiple revision policy, they felt they could take risks with their writing instead of just shooting for a grade.

One students quote at the end: “Everyone deserves a second chance.”

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