Advanced proficiency level: 3rd Grade

•The homework-check system (with the dance party reward) seen on the video is one of a number of reinforcement systems in this teacher’s classroom. Those include a Star Student system in which students start out with twenty points and lose them for off-task or unproductive actions that do not lead to the big goal. Students can earn points back if they are "caught doing something good," including working hard. At the end of the week, students can cash in those points for various prizes and students who have twenty points are Star Students of the week, earning lunch with the teacher on Monday.

•Justin also uses single-student praise extensively. He praises students as often as necessary to keep his students motivated and working hard and calls homes to congratulate hard work, first by talking to the students and then by talking to the parents.

•Other systems of reinforcement for effort are a "book club" in which students earn the right to take books home if they worked hard and read books (at their reading level) during class and a "Scorer's Club" after school (during which he leads students in learning activities) for students who master objectives and work hard in class. Justin explains that the Scorer's Club was created because higher performing students were feeling left out because he was having students who needed extra help stay after school.

•Justin recognizes achievement of academic benchmarks and mastery of objectives in weekly progress reports. Justin's on-computer grade-book prints out grades and achievement in a cumulative presentation so students can see their accomplishments and their improvement. Justin makes a special effort to recognize publicly those students who showed great improvement and effort. Although he does pass out progress reports every week, he does not always turn it into a public celebration. Students also track their own progress by posting on a grid the stickers they received for accomplishing each objective. The stickers are highly valued by students.

•Justin also has a whole-class system of reward so that "whenever the whole class is doing something that leads to the big goal-working hard, following directions, etc.," he moves the class up on the "Path to Success."

•When Justin administers rewards, he often explicitly connects the celebrations back to the class motto: Work hard = get smart. He highlights how the hard work leads to success.

Support materials:


Video clip #196

Overall rating & analysis

Overall rating: Three AP ratings equal an overall AP rating.

Beginning

Advanced

Exemplary

Strand 1: The teacher’s selection of extrinsic reinforcements.

Chooses a small set of sound reinforcements for all situations

Chooses a variety of appealing reinforcements to reach a range of students, based on an understanding of students and depending on the situation

Chooses reinforcements based on the needs of individual students and situations

Strand 2: The scale (moving from generic and absolute to individualized and relative) the teacher uses to reinforce achievement.

Reinforcement system recognizes basic academic effort (e.g., class participation, homework completion, etc.) and mastery of a well-defined absolute bar

Reinforcement system recognizes significant academic effort (e.g., studying hard and making incremental gains) and mastery of a well-defined absolute bar

Reinforcement system recognizes effort in proportion to students? individual accomplishments

Strand 3: The strategic timing and consistency with which the teacher reinforces students’ efforts.

Consistently provides reinforcement at regular intervals and sometimes conveys the meaning of the reinforcements as a celebration of progress toward the goal

Provides reinforcements appropriately and flexibly so that they are delivered only at purposeful intervals, and almost always conveys the meaning of the reinforcements as a celebration of progress toward the goal to maximize impact and lead to intrinsic motivation

Provides reinforcements appropriately and flexibly so that they are only delivered as often as necessary to supplement students? intrinsic motivation, always conveys the meaning of the reinforcements as a celebration of progress toward the goal, and teaches students how to reinforce their own performance


Analysis: Why did the teacher receive these ratings?

Rating: APStrand 1: The teacher’s selection of extrinsic reinforcements.

Why AP?

  • The teacher has chosen "a variety of appealing reinforcements" including: dance party, star student system, verbal praise, book club, scorer's club, progress reports, public recognition, stickers, tickets and the Path to Success chart.
  • The teacher’s reinforcements "reach a range of students, based on an understanding of students and depending on the situation." From the excitement prevalent in the video it can be inferred that the dance party is a reinforcement that has excited and motivated most, if not all, students to complete their homework. In addition, the context reports that the stickers Justin gives to students for mastering objectives are "highly valued by students."

Why not E?

  • There is insufficient evidence that the teacher "chooses reinforcement strategies based on the needs of individual students." Although the teacher has a wide range of strategies that he can apply flexibly to situations including single-student verbal praise, tickets, and the Path to Success, there is no evidence that he has reinforcements that he has elected with the needs of specific students in mind.

Rating: APStrand 2: The scale (moving from generic and absolute to individualized and relative) the teacher uses to reinforce achievement.

Why AP?

  • The teacher’s "reinforcement system recognizes significant academic effort (e.g., studying hard and making incremental gains) and mastery of a well-defined absolute bar." Several reinforcement systems in the class reward absolute achievement: the dance party rewards the class if everyone completes their homework, students are Star Students of the week if they earn 20 points, students who master objectives can join the Scorer's Club, and sticker-tracking is done for students who master objectives.
  • In addition to having a range of systems that reward "basic academic effort" (i.e., students can be "caught doing something good" and earn Star Student points for working hard), the teacher gives students and their parents verbal praise for students’ efforts, the teacher also has reinforcements that "recognizes significant academic effort" (e.g., he publicly recognizes students who have made improvements after he has printed out their weekly progress reports and he rewards students who read books on their level).

Why not E?

  • Not all of the systems recognize "effort in proportion to students’ individual accomplishments." Many of the systems still revolve around an absolute bar.

Rating: APStrand 3: The strategic timing and consistency with which the teacher reinforces students’ efforts.

Why AP?

  • The teacher provides most of his "reinforcements appropriately and flexibly so that they are delivered only at purposeful intervals, and almost always conveys the meaning of the reinforcements as a celebration of progress toward the goal to maximize impact and lead to intrinsic motivation." Most of the systems are dispensed at flexible rather than rigid intervals, so that the teacher can deliver reinforcement less frequently as students develop more intrinsic motivation. For example, the number of additional Star Student points that students earn, the amount of verbal praise, growth on progress reports, and spots on the Path to Success can vary from week to week depending on student motivational needs.
  • Additionally, the context page reveals that Justin "almost always conveys the meaning of the reinforcements as a celebration of progress toward the goal to maximize impact and lead to intrinsic motivation" (i.e., "When Justin administers rewards, he often explicitly connects the celebrations back to the class motto: Work hard = get smart. He highlights how the hard work leads to success.").

Why not E?

  • The teacher does not provide "reinforcements appropriately and flexibly so that they are only delivered as often as necessary to supplement students’ intrinsic motivation." A few of his systems (e.g., homework party) are provided at fixed intervals. Further, there is insufficient evidence that he "always conveys the meaning of the reinforcements as a celebration of progress toward the goal," or that he "teaches students how to reinforce their own performance."