How did you determine the effectiveness of your intervention?
We utilized three types of assessment of our intervention:
Reflection – Students were asked to reflect on their experience using the intervention, and the common feedback we received from students was that they felt they understood the texts better. Students claimed that using the tool challenged them to think about and approach reading differently, which led to a more complete understanding of the new material. Students also were able to see the usefulness of the intervention for a wide variety of tasks.
Informal Assessment – This largely occurred through classroom discussion. We all found that students were better prepared for classroom discussion. Students clearly understood the text better and were thinking more about the text. We believe that students understood the texts better partly because of the particular tool we were using, but also because they were being asked to slow down and read strategically from the beginning. We also found that students were more willing to bypass discussing whether they liked the text or not, which allowed us to jump right in with discussing the rhetorical aspects of the texts. In other words, the intervention seemed to change the way students interacted with the texts and how they actually looked at the texts.
Formal Assessment – Students submitted the intervention tool, including their written summaries of the text, and students also wrote formal essays about the texts. We found that the quality of student’s summaries increased significantly when they were required to use the intervention. The summaries became more accurate, and students were better able to draw on themes that occurred throughout the text, rather than fixating on the beginning or end. Further, students essays improved because they understood the text at a deeper level. This led to less surface level essays which meant that more critical thinking was evident in student’s work.