As a district, we’ve added performance based expectations called Performance Indicators at the end of grades 2, 5, 8, and 12. These allow us to ensure that students are successfully progressing through their pK-12 journey and learning in a manner that allows application of skills. A student has achieved competency in mastering those standards when they can convey understanding through performance tasks, whether that is an exam (summative), a presentation, or through day-to-day work (formative).
In high school, the primary summative exam are the SATs. High Schoolers really performed well compared to state averages and their cohorts. A cohort is a comparison to how well the same group of students performed the year prior compared to their current performance. On average, high schoolers scored on average a score of 1000 in the state and 972 nationally. In 9-R, students scored an average of 1039, showcasing that our students are well out performing the state and the nation in this regard. The SATs tend to be a more meaningful test for students where scholarships and admittance to college are in consideration.
CMAS is used to assess students in grades 3-8 in the areas of English language arts, mathematics, and science. We saw positive growth for students in English Language Arts at the elementary level, but not in middle school. Middle school is actually where the district is seeing the biggest decline in proficiencies in both English Language Arts and Math. Yet, we continue to see our students show large growth as they are assessed on college ready exams (PSAT & SAT). With the addition of formative tools like iReady, we are hopeful that we will be able to disaggregate the data and ensure that our students continue to move toward 100% competency.
Looking at last year’s 3rd grade to this year’s 4th grade, otherwise called a cohort, students made positive growth in ELA going from 35% of students proficient in 3rd grade to 62% proficient by 5th grade. While we are not satisfied with these numbers, it is important to note that statewide proficiency at 5th grade is at 40%. And while we are seeing declines in 6th and 7th grades across the board, the numbers again are trending upwards in 8th grade and continue to do so throughout the high school years. On science, 9-R students far outperform the state across all grade levels.
Again, this is just one measurement of competency and it is an important one as it is the primary one school districts are evaluated against, but we will look at other data points to make some predictions and create some actions around student needs and growth.
This year, we have increased the opportunity for teacher leadership in helping to improve our district’s outcomes. Monthly, teams of teachers and their principals/assistant principals meet to dive into data, monitor the implementation of our strategic plan, and implement changes in their practices. This team is called the District Implementation Team and provides the opportunity for cross school collaboration.
Our goal this coming year is a third (⅓) of students who aren’t competent move to competency. The district is currently shoring up resources and strategies to support that goal. The district also knows that not every student will show well on a test, so other data points are critical to determine student proficiency.
iReady is a tool the district will be using to allow students to demonstrate standards through an on-line assessment tool. This assessment is formative and provides quick access to information on what students know and are struggling with. Regular use of this tool hopefully reduces the stresses around test taking, and allows for a more immediate response to student needs in a real-time format. Watch for more news from your school on how iReady is supporting your students academic growth.
Last year principals felt like they needed one consistent tool, aligned with state standards that provides immediate feedback to students on subskills. iReady was selected in conversation with principals and teachers as a common tool teachers and staff can use in grades K-10 that allows for consistent data to follow children and really track interventions and supports that are being applied to each student to fill the gaps. This tool will be used at the beginning, middle and end of the school year, unless there are additional identified needs, to support other measurements of proficiency that are given throughout the year.
Calibration of Classroom Assessment
Even with outside assessments, we recognize that the bulk of information on how students are performing comes from teacher graded work on a daily basis. Calibration is a major focus this year, and staff are engaging in calibration activities to agree on what success looks like across buildings and classrooms. This year the district has two district wide professional development days where students work will be gathered anonymously with the intention to do some cross scoring among teachers. This kind of activity will lead to greater understanding and agreements on how students are being assessed and scored. In the end, our intention is to strengthen the connection between grades earned by students and their level of competency in their subject area.
Click HERE to learn more about Performance Frameworks from CDE and your schools specific report.