A TAKS Autopsy

A LYS Principal shares her TAKS autopsy for the just completed school year. Math results: Economic disadvantage, +1 percentage point; Hispanic, + 4% percentage points. Science: Economic disadvantage, +12 percentage points. Hispanic, +17 percentage points. ELA and Social Studies scores: All populations increased; All populations scoring at the recognized or exemplary level; Overall commended rates increased. Analysis: A. Social studies did a better job of following the scope and sequence. B. ELA did a better job of implementing the Fundamental 5. C. Science did a good job of using assessment data to adjust and re-teach. For the first time, the teachers worked together as a team. D. Math represented a hole that we could not dig ourselves out of this year. Between a poor hire, an extended medical leave, and a resignation we could not create any momentum. Pullouts and extra coaching for teachers was not enough. My lesson learned – The most critical variable in student outcomes is the quality of the teacher and teacher actions in the classroom. If you don’t have that, virtually anything else you do will make little to no difference for kids. Not pull outs, not tutorials, not computer lab time. My leadership mistakes: 1. Against my better judgment, I made a bad hire last August. 2. I knew that the math TAKS failures from 2009 were in bad shape. I assumed that the usual mix of interventions would be enough. 3. I took a little too much time before I switched to Plan B. I did not have an EFFECTIVE Plan C. 4. Even knowing that we had issues and that students were in trouble, I knew that TPM would give the adults (me included) more time to fix the situation. I did not push the staff and myself as fast or as hard as I should have. That is on me. SC Response Since I worked for the state, I have been preaching and teaching that Title 1 schools have to run at full speed just to be successful and then need a couple of breaks to go their way to perform at higher levels. TPM rendered that message moot and let us forget that (from a ratings standpoint, but never from an actual student performance standpoint). With that being said, I agree with your autopsy analysis. TPM was evil. Like any street drug, we are worse off because of it and better off without it. It convinced us that we were successful when we weren’t and it allowed us to think that we had the luxury of time (which in student terms, we knew we did not). The only consolation is that we learn every year and mistakes we made in the past we now know how to avoid in the future. Here is what has been confirmed over the past two years. 1. The Foundation Trinity is paramount. The more you deviate from it, modify it, ignore it – the more you put your campus at peril. 2. The change in adult practice is the leading indicator. Student performance is the lagging indicator. 3. In many cases, commended rates improve faster than overall passing rates. 4. The further behind you are, the easier it is for random events to derail you. Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com! http://tinyurl.com/4ydqd4t Louise ISD is searching for a Superintendent. Application details at www.LeadYourSchool.com Follow Sean Cain on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation Upcoming Event / Presentation Schedule June 11 (TASB) – The Fundamental Five; Improve Now! June 15 thru June 17 – TASSP Conference June 16 (TASSP) – Conference Breakfast, hosted by E. Don Brown (LYS travel tumblers for the first 1000 attendees, last year we ran out) June 16 (TASSP) – Book Release Event for “The Fundamental 5” June 18 – TASB Conference, Fort Worth

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