It is sometimes difficult to convince a child or young person that they really are doing well and making progress in school. Being able to appreciate the ‘bigger picture’ is a concept that is hard to grasp and the only way to truly convince young people they are doing well is to find a way to illustrate this clearly. There are many ways that you can demonstrate progress in a child friendly way. On a simple level we can relate this to saving money using a piggy bank whereby progress is clearly seen by a gradual increase in coins deposited.
Progress stops being made if coins are not continued to be added or regression occurs if money is taken out. The bottom line here is that progress shown in this way is very tangible and visual and can be used as a motivator.
The same principle can be applied to illustrating progress in social, emotional and academic areas of school. Adding sweets to a jar or colouring bars of a totaliser each time a positive behaviour is observed can offer more frequent rewards and avoid issues of delayed gratification. Academically progress can be shown equally as well. The image below demonstrates this.
So long as results are collected and plotted it is easy to show progress over time. Take the first bar chart for example. This was something I used with an A Level group who were preparing for their AS examination. Preparing for an exam involves practice using past examination papers and mark schemes. The graph shows progress over 7 past papers that were sat, marked and re-sat in the period leading up to the exam. As the results were plotted on the graph, students could see how much more success they were achieving and how at the point leading in to the exam they were achieving 78-80% correct. Having used so many past papers, they also confidentially recognised the format of 95% of the questions answered on the day of the exam and stress levels were greatly reduced.
The line graph illustrates an improvement in reading speeds collected over time using http://www.spreeder.com as shown in my blog post about improving reading speed. Any graphic showing an upward trend will be pleasing to see from all angles and can be used to reassure and motivate young people.
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