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Needs Analysis Task: Need for Instruction
Many students perform poorly in the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE), which involves open-ended questions as opposed to multiple-choice questions that many students are familiar with in most academic quarters. This performance trend is attributed to lack of students’ exposure to constructed response (CR) questions that call for the student to apply knowledge learnt in class.
Consequently, the students’ responses to CR questions are often poor; hence, the need for instruction through remedial programs to help improve the students’ responses to CR questions (Alderson, 2000, p.56).
Reports indicate that elementary students in Racine Unified School District, taking the yearly WKCE, fail to complete or even attempt the constructed response section, constituting 20% of the total score, of the exam in each of the tested subjects.
To provide relevant information that can support the need for instruction and help in making appropriate recommendations on remedies to address this problem, a study targeting third grade students and teachers in Wisconsin was carried out. The study involved the use of standardized abstraction forms administered to teachers and parents.
Additionally, interview surveys were conducted among students of different racial groups in third grade. Another source of information for this research study was the students’ past performance records and teaching techniques used by teachers. On analyzing the data collected, the students from economically disadvantaged groups performed poorly in content and passage literature.
In overall, students’ performance in content passage and literature was poor, perhaps due to improper instruction methods, which involves drilling students for exams and lack of parental involvement in students’ school activities.
From the findings, it is evident that concerted efforts involving the participation of teachers, parents, and students themselves can improve performance on CR questions. Teachers, by identifying specific areas of poor performance and maintaining standardized curriculum maps focusing on CR questions, can play a vital role in promoting student performance (Stanovich, 2000, p.142).
In addition, use of explicit instruction techniques that emphasize on comprehension and content passages can also lead to improved student performance on CR questions. Parents, through collaboration with teachers, can map out ways of meeting instructional needs of the students.
Additionally, parents can develop literacy activities for the students to help create self-awareness in students, which would translate to improved constructed responses. Moreover, students can improve their performance on CR questions by paying attention in class and practicing constructed responses in class.
Learner Analysis Task: Characteristics of the Learners
Most third graders’ performance in Racine Unified School District is below average on constructed responses in math and reading with an average score of 77%. The poor performance can be attributed to students’ laziness or failure to pay attention in class, which affects their performance on content passage and literature.
Parents who fail to follow up their children’s school performance, either due to ignorance or due to bad attitude, also affect the students’ performance in these areas.
To address these problems, teachers should set essential standards for learning math and vocabulary. In addition, necessary curriculum changes instituted by the school board can ensure a learning structure tailored to meet student needs. Teachers, using appropriate teaching techniques to address student-learning needs, can promote students’ performance in constructed responses.
However, these solutions face challenges such as lack of sufficient finances to fund essential facilities and activities to improve CR performance. Restrictions from the school authorities prevent appropriate curriculum reforms that would address these problems.
Third graders actively participate in learning activities and extra-curricular activities. Therefore, appropriate curriculum changes and parental involvement can help in improving performance on CR amongst students.
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Students in third grade possess distinctive characteristics important in learning. Firstly, third graders are inquisitive, they are curious to know developments in their surroundings; hence, the need to relate class work to their learning experiences. Secondly, they are casual viz. they are well versed with the school surrounding; thus, teaching should relate learning with real life experiences.
Thirdly, they are energetic and playful hence the need for teaching to focus on play-based learning. Fourthly, third graders are always anxious about their surroundings. In this regard, teaching should focus on assuring and encouraging the students.
Third graders also exhibit a great sense of individualism; therefore, teaching that focuses on personal hygiene, self-discipline, and responsibility should be taught at this stage. In addition, students at this stage are also very talkative. Teaching, therefore, should focus on personality building and enhancing confidence of the student.
Performance of many students in WKCE exam is poor mainly because of lack of appropriate instruction with regard to answering open-ended questions. Hence, there is need for teaching techniques to focus on remedial programs that guide students on how to handle CR questions. To achieve this goal, collaboration involving teachers and parents is important.
The teacher-parent collaboration should aim at promoting use of vocabulary, self-awareness, and critical thinking skills among third graders. At the same time, instructors should set appropriate CR questions to increase student participation in exams and remove the student’s negative attitudes towards CR reading.
The joint efforts should prioritize on particular areas to enhance student performance in constructed response. The efforts should aim at improving the critical analysis skills and providing strategies for reading comprehension to the student (Paris, & Stahl, 2005, p.71). Improving students’ written expression should also be another area of focus by the parent-teacher remedial efforts.
The remedial efforts should also aim at improving students’ comprehension, interpretation, and expression skills. Improving students’ decision-making skills will translate to improved self-esteem and positive attitude. The joint efforts should also major on improving student performance particularly on CR questions.
Range of Information
The entry-level skills for CR remedial program include among others effective listening skills. Students should be able to listen and understand basic instructions in all examined subjects. For third grade students, the focus of the instructional unit should be focus on enabling them to read and understand language and simple instructions as taught in grade one and two.
In addition, their writing skills at this level should involve the ability to do simple arithmetic and allow space for further expansion in all the examined areas.
Students in third grade are expected to have good speaking skills coupled with the ability to express themselves clearly when answering questions or when giving explanations. They should also demonstrate their understanding of simple tenses and expressions during conversations.
To achieve improved performance on constructed responses by third graders, the instructional program will focus on improving the students’ attitude. Negative attitude often arises from factors such as unsuitable school environment, racial background, poor economic status, lack of parental involvement in their children’s school activities, and lack of student motivation.
Motivation, in particular, influences the students’ attitudes, which contribute significantly to their performance. Student motivation can be achieved by involving students in school activities, extra-curricular activities, and relating class work with real life situations.
Additionally, reward-based performance can motivate students to do better. Parental involvement in children’s schoolwork is a great motivation to the students. Regular contests around major areas of study can also motivate students to do better.
To achieve improved performance on CR questions by elementary students in Racine Unified School District, the instructional program will focus on five major performance objectives encompassing the condition of the task, learning outcome, and the acceptable level of performance (Dick, Carey, & Carey, 2005, p.79).
By the end of the instructional program, each student at elementary level in Racine Unified School District should demonstrate greater understanding of vocabulary words learnt through reading or listening to challenging stories.
They should be able to use simple vocabulary words in class discussions or conversations involving familiar, yet challenging stories in school or at home. At the end of the instructional program, 90% of elementary students in Racine Unified School District will score an average of 80% in WKCE.
The second performance objective of the instructional program involves promoting parental involvement in students’ learning. This can be achieved in many ways such as parents helping their children with homework. At the end of the program, students should report increased parental involvement in their class activities, which should be reflected in their CR performance.
By the end of the instructional unit, 80% of elementary students in Racine Unified School District will meet high achievement standards in writing, reading, science, and mathematics. Through curriculum reforms and appropriate teaching techniques, focus should be directed at improving the students’ performance to ensure that their performance increases to an average of 80% in these areas.
Another performance objective of this program is improving critical analysis skills and manner of expression amongst third grade students. This can be achieved through parent-teacher collaboration aimed at improving the students’ attitude and self-image. At the end of the program, students’ expression in both written and oral expression should be above average.
The program will also aim at designing coherent courses to meet the educational needs of third grade students and this will involve play-based learning and extra-curricular activities to improve the students’ self-confidence and foster independent decision making among students. At the end of the program, students should be able to express themselves clearly and confidently, both orally and in written language.
Alderson, C, J. (2000). Assessing reading. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J. O. (2005). The systematic design of instruction. Boston: Pearson Education.
Paris, G. S., & Stahl, A, S. (2005). Children’s reading comprehension and assessment. New Jersey: Laurence Erlbaum Associates Inc.
Stanovich, K. E (2000). Progress in Understanding Reading Scientific Foundations and New Frontiers. New York: Guildford press.