Tuesday / April 23

Student Directed Learning Assessments


Engaged students are motivated to be successful in their learning and in planning for their future college and career goals. Busy teachers can be challenged to fully engage each student in an academic learning environment. When considering student success indicators, engaged and motivated students have the following skills and traits:

  • Ability to persevere when challenges occur
  • Optimistic when talking about goals
  • A balance of sleep, healthy eating, exercise, and extracurricular activities
  • Study skills for learning new and challenging content
  • Critical thinking skills for making difficult choices

When students own and manage their academic learning, they are able to utilize a growth mindset to learn subject material. They can demonstrate their gained knowledge and skills through accountability tools. If a student is learning how to use a new word processing program, their teacher can assist them in developing a proficiency rubric that identifies the proficiency levels they must achieve.  The chart below represents a rubric constructed by a student taking a word processing course. It defines skills the student should achieve that will demonstrate a level of proficiency.

Sample Word Processing Proficiency Rubric

Level 1 Novice Level 2 Basic Skills Level 3 Intermediate Skills
Student understands how to type using the software. Student is able to type a business proposal using the word processing software. Student is able to type a 10-page research paper using the word processing software.
Student can identify the various sections required in a letter format. Student can effectively lay out the proposal when using various spacing, font, and editing features. Student can import data charts and create tables to support the research.
Student demonstrates beginning skills when typing in a letter format. Student can use the editing feature to track changes. Student can format and use pictures in the report.
Student can space appropriately between the various components contained in a letter. Student can construct a table to highlight data. Student can use the footnote, citation, and software reference features.
Student can explain how he was able to complete the letter formatting using various software features. Student can finalize the report by completing all edits and formatting. Student can finalize the research report by completing all edits, table formatting, and references.

As students develop skills in measuring their successes, they can learn how to create charts that help them plan their future career goals. Students interested in teaching careers may want to identify high school courses that will prepare them for their college courses. A prospective math teacher will want to focus on math, technology and science courses while an English teacher will want to focus on literature, writing, and research classes. When students learn how to create a roadmap of the perquisites for a specific career, they can track their progress. The chart below provides a guide for high school students. It can also help students consider a college’s entrance requirements and help them organize their accomplishments when applying to colleges and for college scholarships.

Sample College and Career Planning Instrument for a High School Student

Career Choice: _____________________________________________________

Required High School Classes that Support College and Career Goal:
Early College Courses Completed with a Passing Grade:
Relevant School Leadership Activities:
Relevant Community Leadership Activities:
Career Internships and Volunteer Activities:
Paid Employment:
College Requirements to be Accepted in this Career Choice:
Speaking Events, Presentations, and Publications:

These suggestions can help teachers guide students in the creation and ownership of their performance goals and outcomes. The sample charts can help students learn how to identify success indicators for various projects and learning goals. By students defining their learning path, they can be more successful in achieving academic proficiency. Please email sample assessment tools created by students to for examples that may be used in future blogs and books.

Written by

Mary Ann Burke has served as a credentialed parent educator and adjunct professor for over thirty years in California’s schools. Dr. Burke has presented effective parenting and school engagement strategies at numerous state and national parent engagement events. She recently authored a twin book series that includes Yikes! Brandon Has Twin Sisters, Yikes! Brandon and His Sisters Play at the Park, and Yikes Brandon and His Twin Sisters Go to School. Mary Ann is the co-author of Effective Parenting! Capable Kids! She is also the author of four Corwin Press books on parent and community engagement in schools. Mary Ann Burke previously led the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Parent Engagement Initiative that serves as a state model for best practices in parent engagement for culturally diverse families. She creates Common Core State Standards kits for parents to use at home and in their child’s classroom to support children’s literacy and academic readiness skills. Mary Ann is an active grandmother of five grandchildren. She shares this expertise with educators and school leaders as a trainer, author, and curriculum developer.

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