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ANet is a nonprofit dedicated to the premise that every child in America deserves an excellent education and the opportunities it provides. We pursue our vision of educational equality in America by helping schools boost student learning with great teaching that is grounded in standards, informed by data, and built on the successful practices of educators around the country.

Analyzing student work for actionable trends in math

We've created an efficient and effective protocol to guide teachers' analysis of student work.

80%. 4 out of 5. B. Any way you slice it, that percentage, ratio, or letter at the top of a student’s math work doesn’t help them understand what they can do to improve. Do they know where they’ve made a misstep? Do they know where their thinking broke down? Do they know what to do or how to think differently the next time they encounter a similar math concept?

When it comes to student work, we need to move beyond “right” and “wrong” to looking at where students fall along a progression of learning—what do they already understand and what is holding them back from reaching the next level? When we approach student work in this way, we come away with actionable trends that truly inform, rather than evaluate, teaching and learning. 

We created this protocol to help teachers and leaders look at student work in an efficient and effective way, moving them quickly towards next steps for planning and instruction.  All you need is a standards-aligned math task from a math lesson or formative assessment, content and practice standards, and student work that represents students at various points along the path to mastery of the standard. This protocol helps you move from analysis to action, as you identify where students are along a continuum of learning and develop a clearer understanding of what’s holding them back.

We gathered student work and created sets for 4th grade and 8th grade math tasks. Included in each set is the task and related standard, student work samples, and an analysis of the student work along with possible next steps from our Common Core team. You can use these sets to practice, or look at the annotations and next steps as an example.