The Problem With Individual Teacher Tests

Recently I was working with a campus staff that is aggressively improving. Not because they have to; but because they want to.  Which is significantly more impressive.  They are getting ready to embrace the common assessment process next year and the question came up, “Why are common assessments better than individual teacher tests?”   A…

A Principal’s Field Report… It’s Happening!!!

A LYS Principal share the following: SC, I just completed a formal observation on one of my teachers.  I’m darn near giddy! The teacher embedded the Fundamental 5 throughout her lesson. This wasn’t for show, it was completely natural. In our PLC meeting teachers are talking about their two deepest holes. Not as a complaint…

A School Asks… Common Assessments 101

A campus implementing the LYS Common Assessment model sent in the following implementation questions: SC, We have some concerns with the 30-minute time limit on common assessments.  For ELAR, there is a fair amount of reading a piece of text or multiple pieces of text before reaching the ten questions on the assessment.  As a…

A Reader Asks… The Timed Checkpoint

A reader asks the following: SC, We are new to using the LYS Short-term Trend Analysis Form in our PLCs.  At our last meeting there was much debate over the time allotted to giving the quick 10-question checkpoint. We allow 30 minutes for the checkpoint, but the instructional leaders at campuses feel that many of…

Checkpoints and the Un-informed Leader

Sometimes I’m in a district and I witness leadership making a huge mistake. Today was one of those days. Today, I heard a Superintendent tell his Principals that if their checkpoint scores didn’t improve then their jobs would be at risk. Definitely a case of backwards thinking. Checkpoint scores are about providing the following information:…

Lose the Battle, Win the War

With 3-week checkpoints, if they are administered correctly, the assumption should be that performance will be lacking.  After all we are asking high rigor questions almost immediately after students have been first exposed to the content.  As long as the poor performance is not due to being off pace, everything else can (and generally will)…

A Reader Writes… But I Want a Full Benchmark

A teacher sent this to the curriculum department in a district that has worked to implement 3-week checkpoints this year. To the Curriculum Department: I understand not having a Checkpoint in November because of the upcoming benchmark.  But here is what I do not understand. Why only 30 questions for 2 hours. If we are…

A Checkpoint Discussion (Brutal Truth Version)

The following is an exchange I had with a district curriculum director concerning 3-week checkpoints (common assessments). DIRECTOR This is a question I’m getting fairly often now, “Why don’t the checkpoints get progressively longer as the time for the EOC exam nears?  I restate and remind our teachers about the purpose of checkpoints.  But the…
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