In response to the 10/21/2010 post, “Special Case Common Assessments,” one of the pioneer practitioners (and LYS Principal) writes: SC, You know I couldn’t let this one go. Have you mellowed? Where is the risk taking maverick that took no prisoners? I guess it’s up to me to give the person who asked the question the straight take. Your top students taking advanced courses will probably be OK no matter what you do on common assessments. I assume from the scenario you presented that you are working in a junior high/middle school. In my mind the important thing is to devise a method to collect true information (not just data) from the common assessments. This can be very tricky. I would give you the following recommendations: 1. Don’t fixate on 70 as a passing rate. 2. Use common assessments to close your achievement gap. 3. If you don’t know how, ask Cain for my personal e-mail address and I will give you the tools I have developed over the past 6 years to make sense out of common assessment data. SC Response Get out of my head, old man! The writer’s school is fast tracking through the learning (pain) curve. They are using 80 as their cut score and they are only tracking the academically fragile. Then they are doing “no BS” one page data analysis to back fill their deepest holes on the fly. Some of them still have the “deer in the headlights” look, but for just one exception, the principals didn’t jump off the roof after the first assessment (remember that experience?). And even more promising, most of the teachers are trying hard to rise to the challenge. If anyone asks for your e-mail, I’ll gladly pass it on. After talking to you, I’ll look like the nice and reasonable one. How often does that happen? P.S. If you are attending the Texas Charter School Conference on today look me up. At 3:45 pm, I’ll be presenting on the first steps of school improvement. The session title is, Broke to Better.” You can also catch me on the TEPSA Webinar on tomorrow at 11:00 AM (central time). The topic, “Effective Working Relationships: A Primer for Principals and Assistant Principals.” Follow the link below for more information. http://www.tepsa.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=282 Think. Work. Achieve.Your turn…

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