The use of formative data to track student progression towards class goals in middle school science
Olix, Terri Ann
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Goal setting has been shown to increase student motivation in science but not to lead to higher performance. The ability of students to perform metacognitive processes has been called into questioning as its use is pushed to younger grade levels. Standards based goal setting was implemented this year in Perry Middle School with mixed results. The purpose of this study was to determine if tracking formative scores helped students to accurately evaluate what they know in science, increase their motivation, and raise achievement in science. Students were evaluated on metacognition, motivation, achievement, and attendance in tutoring sessions during our earth science unit. The data suggested that student used more metacognitive processes but were not more accurate in determining what they knew and did not know. Student motivation and achievement did increase, but not substantially more than the control group. Students tracking formative data did attend more help sessions then students in the control group. However, in interviews and Goal Setting Surveys, students from the treatment group reported greater dissatisfaction with the goal tracking, rated the sheets less helpful to their learning, and reported they took too long to complete compared to the control group. Therefore, it is the determination of this study that using formative scores to track goal progress did not achieve all the goals I hoped it would, but did help my 8th grade honors science students to advance in their metacognitive processes. It is my recommendation that further studies be conducted to determine if tracking progress towards standards goals via another metacognitive strategy is more helpful.