Implementing frequent assessments to increase student performance levels in a high school chemistry class
Ernst, Jonathan Ross
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My students struggle in my regular chemistry class, even with rudimentary concepts that are conceptual and mathematical. Over the past several years I have seen a steady decline in student performance and I have contributed this to their unwillingness to complete homework assignments. This practice is not only detrimental to learning conceptual information in my class; it hinders overall performance in chemistry. I needed to think of a creative way to convince my students that homework is beneficial and is an important part of the learning process. Quizzes have been used in the past at my school to motivate students to complete and understand their homework assignments. This action research project investigates the impact that frequent assessments have on increasing student performance levels in a high school chemistry classroom. Homework quizzes, tests, surveys, interviews and tracking procedures were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. The level of conceptual understanding was assessed and students' progress was evaluated. The attitudes towards homework were also assessed pre and post treatment to see if the use of frequent assessments increased the quantity of homework that was completed by students in my three regular chemistry classes. In addition, each student's progress on summative assessments was evaluated to see if the treatment could have caused a positive improvement in their performance. Overall, students that adequately completed their homework assignments showed a measurable improvement in their frequent assessment scores. Student's performance on summative assessments did show a measurable improvement for those same students following the treatment. Students also expressed a positive attitude to changes the treatment brought about. The results had a positive impact on my teaching and although there were outliers, the implementation of frequent assessments increased homework completion and improved student performance on summative assessments.