How did you determine the effectiveness of your interventions?
Bradley Bleck Intervention Effectiveness
Bradley determined the effectiveness of his intervention by an analysis of the pre- and post-test annotations activities. Along with looking at the quantifiable aspects of the annotations, such as length and sentence structure, the evaluation was based more on more qualitative concerns, such as he accuracy of the re-statements, with whether students went beyond restatement by adding pertinent observations that might find their way into their work. Similarly, a future comparison was based on the data from the work of Rebecca Moore-Howard showing that without strong reading skills, students tend to patch write, so the reduction in this sort of plagiarism in student writing is also something worth examining, as is the place from which students take their sources to include in their work. Moore-Howard’s work found that students who are weak readers tend to use material from the first few pages of their sources and stronger readers will use material from later in the text. This sort of an evaluation is certainly worth looking into as it would align with the work of Moore-Howard, hopefully in a correlative way.
Katie O’Connor Intervention Effectiveness
Effectiveness was best determined by student writing samples demonstrating integration of annotations and writing skills. Specific interventions below are listed in order of effectiveness toward improvement:
- Of all of the interventions used, the self-editing checklist in “The Shallows”, SREB – Unit 1 (senior English required curriculum), was probably the most effective intervention for students creating a polished piece of writing that did produce their own academic voice. This checklist was long, arduous and quite straining (on students and teachers alike) as it required a “grit” they were not used to, so they fought the learning process in the beginning. Refusing to allow them to accept their first “final drafts” as their best quality, we worked through the checklist together. I modeled (under the AverVision) on student samples from other class periods, while they worked on their own papers. This made a huge impact on their understanding of what it means to truly “edit and revise” their own writing.
- Before the final step above, it was obvious students really did not understand they did not have to be the “experts” on their writing topics, they were introduced to “They Say i Say Templates” quote integration strategies by watching YouTube videos, TSIS Chapters 1-3 (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaQ_Ig5h_NzumnDcwjassQKBzFmXepk7W). Students were required to take notes on strategies introduced. Then in conjunction with their notes, and the template provided they were required to improve their body paragraphs demonstrating their understanding of higher quality of using their reading sources.
- After a few interventions, students still needed improvement with their writing quality, so they were given three different levels of college essays (mentioned above) and asked to score them based on the rubrics we use in class. Once they were finished with their assessment, I shared the actual scores given to the papers by the Bridge to College Cohort. They then had to decide which level their paper would score, and record what improvements were necessary to move them to a minimum of “college ready” level. Those at “college ready” and to assess how to move to “college level”.
- After a few initial assessments of students’ annotations and writing, it became obvious their ability was not the only issue impeding their success, so we began addressing their “habits of mind” to help them understand what was interfering with their progression. Students read “Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing” and reflected on which “habits” were standing in their way of improvement. This proved very beneficial as students are quite honest with their efforts if given the language to use in their self assessments.
- Students need clarification on what it truly means to annotate with a purpose rather than just making “text to self”, “text to text” or “text to world” connections, so after doing research, I created “Annotating with a Purpose” for students. Students used this as a guideline for reading and annotating. (See Annotations in Resources).
- While we were discussing annotating for rhetorical purposes/devices, a student raised his hand and asked me, “Ms. O’Connor, what is a rhetorical device?”. I deferred to the students in class, and they looked at me with wonderment in their eyes. Out of that conversation came the “Rhetorical Devices” sheet for reference. They knew a few (ethos, pathos, logos, theme, and a few others – but not many.
- Students required rubrics as we continued the reading and writing process, so they not only received reading and writing rubrics for assessments, they also received a “Student Rubric Sheet” where they could record their progress over the course of our units.
- MLA formatting was also an issue for my student, especially the Works Cited page, so I had each of them download the MLA Sample Paper at OWL@Purdue and save it in their Office 365 account so they had it as a resource and model. Students really fought the formatting process until, I walked them through this site and explained how many writers (of all levels) use it. During the process, we learned OWL now has a section for high school writers. The students were impressed with that.
Lesley Hilts Intervention Effectiveness
There were two ways that I determined the effectiveness of the intervention: 1) Students needed to annotate and show evidence that they understood their annotations through either writing a specific code or writing notation. Nothing could be highlighted or underlined without a code or writing. I assessed their annotations using a rubric score. 2) Students needed to correctly identify the author’s claim and provide a minimum of three pieces of evidence to support the claim. I also used a rubric score to rate both their pretests and their post tests.
- The initial pretest introduced a text for their grade level – 9/10 or 11/12. They were giving minimal instruction other than to annotate and then find the claim and evidence.
- Students were taught specific strategies for annotation. They were required to put a text code or written note by everything that they annotated.
- I provided the students with specific questions and strategies for annotating. We practiced this together before I had them annotate on their own.
- I provided them with the following annotation rubric:
4 – Stupendous: Numerous connections, notations, comments; underlining and highlighting is purposeful and used to glean meaning from the text as well as to read between the lines; close attention paid to text; digs deep.
3 – Adequate: Several connections, notations, comments, close attention paid to text; underlining or highlighting is purposeful; digs a little beneath the surface.
2 – Average: One or two basic connections, notations, comments; relies heavily on underlining or highlighting most of the text; cursory attention paid to text; scratches the surface.
1 – Poor: No or few connections or notations; no or few comments; mostly underlined or highlighted; little attention paid to text; sits on the surface and hopes for inspiration from the gods.
- I frequently collected their annotated texts and read through them to see that they were actually using the annotations to increase their understanding of the text, not just jump through a hoop or randomly underline.
- When annotating the text was not possible (ie, a textbook), I utilized Cornell Notes and had the students write down specific quotes from the text along with why they thought that particular quote was important or meaningful. I then had students randomly share. They frequently impressed me with the quotes they chose and the depth of their response to the quote. This is the one activity where I have really seen them make a connection to the text.
- I also had students write short paragraphs, constructed responses and an essay using the quotes they found while annotating. This helped them have a purpose for both reading and annotating the text.
- The students were then able to utilize annotation to identify the author’s claim and the specific evidence to support that claim (quotes).