TQE Discussion Tracker: Inspired by Marisa Thompson and Jen Roberts!

Monday, June 3, 2019 3 comments
Hi teacher friends! Today, I want to share a strategy I use for tracking student participation in TQE discussions. This idea is basically a "pedagogy smash" with Marisa Thompson's TQE Discussion Method and Jen Roberts's Independent Reading Tracker. I want to thank both of those wonderful teachers for inspiring me with their fresh ideas and hard work!

What is the TQE Discussion Method? 

TQE is a student-driven discussion protocol in which students generate their own complex thoughts, questions, and epiphanies based on a text and then discuss them through both small and large group sessions. You can read more about TQE in the following resources:

How do I track student participation? 

First, I make a google form with one question in the multiple choice grid form. Shout out to Jen Roberts for this genius idea from Gold Coast CUE TechTober 2018! In the left column, I copy and paste my student list from my online grade book (Google lets you copy and paste from a chart and the form will make individual entries for each student. I used generic names here instead of my actual students) In the right-hand column, I add my standards marks.  I started using Some Participation, Significant Participation, or No Participation, but after a great convo with Marisa and Verity at Spring CUE, I switched to: Met/Exceeded Standard, Nearly Met Standard, Did Not Meet Standard,  Did not participate, Absent/Excused. This is why we are #BetterTogether. 

This form is just for me to fill out every day that we are doing TQE. I usually keep my computer on my desk and fill it out as the discussion progresses, but sometimes I keep paper records and then fill out the form at the end of class. (Note, I make the question required so that I don't accidentally skip any students!) 

When I am first setting up the form, I also go ahead and create the spreadsheet. Note: this only has to be done once; the same form and spreadsheet can be used for an entire unit or an entire year. 

I also use conditional formatting to make sure that I can read the data easily within the unit. When I use the rules on the right below, every time I fill out the form, students who are meeting the standard will have green boxes, students who are nearing standard will have yellow boxes, students who are not meeting standards will have red boxes, and absent students will have purple boxes. 

How do I use the data to improve student outcomes? '

I fill out the form every day that we have a TQE and after a few days, I can start to see trends to guide my student support and intervention. Below is a fictional sample with just a few ideas for interventions I would make based on this data. 

  • I notice that students 14 and 15 were not meeting the standard in early TQEs and then they started meeting the standard on later dates.  I would conference with them and ask for some strategies they used to improve and then share those strategies with 1 and 19 privately. 
  • I notice that student 18 is not meeting the standard, but that there were absences in early TQEs so I would check in to make sure the protocol and expectations are clear. 
  • I notice that students 4, 5, 12, and 20 are meeting the standard consistently and I would send home a positive parent communication letting their parents know that classroom discussion and critical thinking about a text is a strong suit. 


Once you make the form, bookmark it for easy access each day. Also, be sure to make a copy for each class. 

To keep the spreadsheet clean, leave the question blank. 

Turn student names to see trends without as much scrolling. 

Thanks for stopping by! And a special thanks to all the teacher bosses out these innovating to improve classrooms, especially Marisa E Thompson and Jen Roberts! Let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions!
<3 Emily