Getting Ready for the First Round of Common Assessments

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A LYS Assistant Superintendent asks the following common assessment / data analysis process questions:

SC,

We are giving our first three-week Checkpoint next week! (Note: now this week.)  My inbox is filling up with questions on minutia.  Most of the questions I have an answer for but this one has stumped me a bit.

(For a particular campus) The campus data determined that African American and White students are the Academically Fragile Student (AFS) groups.  So on the Checkpoint Data Analysis form the first column is for the AFS group.  The second column is for the Economic Disadvantaged (ED) student group.  On this campus there are teachers that teach only ELL students. These teachers will not have any African American or White students in their classes.  So do they leave the AFS column blank? 

If so, does that mean from a data standpoint, they primarily focus on Economic Disadvantage students?

Also, we want to add a Special Education column to the data analysis form.  On all of this, I just wanted your thoughts.

SC Response A host of excellent process questions; which are my favorites.

 Here’s the danger of adding additional student groups to monitor… at a certain point you are back to monitoring everyone again. Which, as you know, leads to confusion and work for work’s sake. That’s why in our system, we track only two groups, those being the locally determined AFS group and ED students.  As you are well aware, the ED students are double and triple dippers when it comes to accountability so there is no wasted effort in monitoring them.  Then stick with your lowest performing sub-pop (the AFS group).  

On the rare occasion that a teacher doesn’t have any of the monitored students in a particular class, that is OK. You will still have data from the remaining classes.  If a teacher does not have any of the monitored kids for the entire day, then they are a niche teacher.  For the teachers with the toughest to teach students (ELL, SpEd), this does not create much of an issue.  For the teachers with the least fragile student populations, you need to schedule them at least one section of tougher to teach students. Otherwise, what you get is a group of teacher who have the idea that the use of less effective practice is OK due to the false positives (from a data standpoint) produced in mass by more advantaged students.

There are campuses that eventually get to where they are monitoring SpEd and LEP students, but not in Year One.  The reason for this is that you have to get front line, regular education teachers experiencing the success of improved adult practice before you will ever convince them that the root cause of student performance problems isn’t the result of faulty kids.

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