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October 29, 2019

Student Success: Holding Your Students Accountable

Share My Lesson blogger Julia Thompson has some tips for educators and parents on ensuring student success through accountability.


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Student Success and Accountability

Like most educators, you are probably working to help your students assume more responsibility for their own success. To be more self-disciplined. To learn to hold themselves accountable for their work and behavior. Unfortunately, students do not learn to be accountable quickly or predictably or with a few easy strategies. Instead, helping students learn to be accountable is an ongoing process that involves consistent effort over an extended time.

Useful Tips on Ensuring Student Success

Although the process can be lengthy and even stressful at times, the result is well worth the effort. Here are some ideas to consider as you move your students toward the goal of taking responsibility for themselves.   

  • Don’t work in isolation. Involve parents or guardians as often as it takes for you to create an effective team of caring adults who want to help ensure student success.
  • Show your students how to do their work efficiently and accurately. Teach the study skills and work procedures they need to reach the standards you have for them.
  • Call on every student every day. Allow no student to be invisible in your classroom.    
  • Return graded papers promptly so students know what they should do to improve. Be sure the feedback you offer is  geared to helping students correct their errors and improve their performance.
  • Share classroom chores. Foster responsibility through the daily routines and procedures you establish for your students. Involve them in routine classroom-management tasks.
  • Teach your students to pace themselves by paying attention to the time it takes for them to complete various types of assignments. Teach them how to estimate completion  time and how to keep track of their time as they work.
  • When you work with small groups or individuals, keep your interactions brief enough so that you can stay focused on the rest of the class as well. Don’t allow your time to be monopolized by one attention-seeking student at the expense of the others in the class.
  • Pay attention to your students and make sure they are aware of this. Students who know their teacher is paying attention to their behavior are not going to misbehave as readily as those who believe they can get away with bad behavior.

Teaching ensuring student success through accountability

  • Hold your students to the same behavior standards for substitute teachers that you expect when you are in the room. Discuss this with students prior to your absence; you will find that they will behave much better than if you adopt a “kids will be kids” attitude.
  • Refuse to allow your students to sleep or to do homework for other classes in your classroom. They should be doing your work in your class.
  • Make it a point that you expect 100 percent accuracy in student work. Some students will aim to just get by with a minimum of work unless you encourage them to do otherwise.     
  • Have students edit or double-check one another’s work before turning it in. Peer editing works best if you provide students with a checklist of standards to follow while proofreading.
  • Instead of having students shout out answers during a whole group activity, ask them to write their responses first and then answer when you call on them. This will force everyone to think before responding.   
  • Plan the procedures you want your students to follow in case they don’t have their materials or textbooks in class. Don’t allow students to get away with not working because they don’t have their materials.     
  • When you are moving around the room to monitor activity, ask your students to underline the answers they think are correct and circle the ones that puzzle them so that you can work together to make sure they understand how to do all of their work well.
  • If you find that some of your students are reluctant to accomplish their work on schedule, contact their parents or guardians. If students know that their progress is being monitored at home as well as in class, they usually perform better.
  • If you see that students have trouble grasping an assignment, reteach the material. Don’t allow students to rest on their ignorance.
  • Design instructional activities that encourage students to interact with their work after they receive feedback. For example, when students miss the answer to a question, ask them to write the correct answer on their papers. Students should be held accountable for correcting their papers and responding to feedback.
  • Make neatness an important component of the work in your classroom. You don’t have to be a perfectionist, but you should expect your students to turn in neat work.

Looking for more way to ensure student success in your classroom? Explore Share My Lesson's curated collection of prek-12 resources on classroom management strategies.

Julia Thompson

Julia G. Thompson received her BA in English from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg. She has been a teacher in the public schools of Virginia, Arizona, and North Carolina for more than thirty-five years.

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