Measuring the success of a school year means something different to everyone. But the universal mark of success is improvement.
The only way your school will know if your students and teachers have improved from the year before is if they compare themselves against the previous year’s data.
We created a flow chart to assist in making these informed decisions and comparisons throughout the school year.
Each phase utilizes student data to help your students have a successful academic year:
Summer Professional Development
To build the foundation of a successful school year, your school will want to get all teachers on the same page. What standards will need to be covered, what testing will be happening this year, and what tools are available to them for the year is important information that can be learned during summer professional development. Getting familiar with the tools and information prior to the beginning of the school year will speed up the learning curve and give teachers (and students) more time to focus on learning during the year.
Analyzing the previous year’s data will help guide your school in where to set the emphasis of resources in the upcoming year. Using new tools and skills from your summer professional development, you can realistically target specific goals. Focus on areas that are below state standards and set future data meetings for when you think it would be best to reassess during the year.
After you have charted the results in your data meetings, decide how to pace your material throughout the school year. Think about which standards should be covered when and in what order, and how that will correlate with the timing of this year’s test.
See how Sylacauga City Schools in Alabama properly introduced pacing, and produced tremendous results.
Panorama Student Profiles
You’ve created an informed plan for how to progress through the school year with your students, but will your students individually succeed with that plan? Having a 360-degree view of an individual student (test grades, reading level, disciplinary infractions, etc.) will give a teacher the information needed to personalize the learning experience for all students with a greater likelihood of improvement for the whole class.
To periodically check-in with students, benchmark assessments will tell teachers what students understood and what they still need to work on to prepare for their final examinations in the spring. Having a couple benchmarks during the year will highlight the weaker subject areas and give teachers a chance to revisit those topics for improved comprehension.
Learning Management Systems (LMS)
Interactive digital tools are incredibly useful in combination with benchmark assessments. If teachers group their lesson plans by standards in their LMS, they can get an accurate picture of which students have mastered which standards. Using the integrated apps and quizzes in the system can position the weaker topics to students in a way to make learning the subject more fun, interesting, and meaningful. Pairing the LMS’ tools with benchmark assessments throughout the year will increase students’ confidence in taking their standardized tests.
Did your students pass? Did your students improve from their first benchmark assessment? Did students take a benchmark assessment so you can see how much they improved? Standardized testing is a time for reflecting on your year and examining which places in the flow chart can be improved for an even better following year.
For a constant reminder on how to achieve a successful school year, download this flow chart for your office, teacher break room, or elsewhere!