EDLD 5333 started just as school was out for me this past May. In addition to being the District Technology Coordinator, I’m also the District TAKS/STAAR/EOC Coordinator and this was the time of year that we start expecting to see our assessment data. I’m very familiar with the TEA’s website and I actually have Student Assessment on speed dial in my office. I cannot admit to a great deal of new learning in this course since this is also a part of my current job description. The two main assignments in this course were to analyze state data and compare my campus to the state standards. We were then to target one area of strength and two areas of weakness. We recently did this very activity “for real” in our district and the knowledge we gained from the data spurred us to apply for and receive an Algebra Readiness grant that allowed us the hire a “math coach” and double-block our junior high math instruction to try to raise our math scores.
One area I gain knowledge in was the reports page on the TEA’s Testing/Accountability website. I can say that after reviewing the Multi-Year History report, a cohort member (who is a federal programs directors at her school) and I were discussing that even though we both have a lot of experience analyzing AEIS we've never seen this report. It was interesting to track my schools progress for the last 7 years to see how we’ve improved. In most cases, both my campus and district outperformed the state passing scores in all years from 2003-2010. It was also interesting to see the scores trend downwards during the years that standards were raised. Colleagues and I have discussed how needless it was for the TEA to raise passing standards right before transitioning from TAKS to STAAR and causing many schools to be unacceptable for at least two years.
This assignments were great in that I could showcase work that had already been done in my school by math teachers, administrators and me. We identified our math weakness, conducted a needs assessment, targeted a group of students, set measurable goals, organized professional development and began using our grant monies to teach these students like no other students have been taught in this school in the 20 years that I’ve been here. A group of stakeholders created an action plan and sent teachers to the appropriate professional development, created goals and a set a timeline to implement the whole plan. I’m excited to follow these junior high students and their math scores to see if our original plan stays on track and produces the expected outcome. This district has never been a data-driven district and, perhaps, that’s the reason we’re always “just acceptable”. Data is the difference between average and excellent, in my opinion. According to Parsley, Dean & Miller (2006), “Before data can become an integral part of a school’s fabric, schools must first determine their readiness for using data. Determining readiness involves assessing the data knowledge and skills of school administrators, teachers, and staff members, as well as their attitudes toward commitment concerning data”. Data is definitely not part of my school’s fabric, but with our new administration, more training and the knowledge that data is the answer to most schools’ problems, we are moving in the direction of becoming a data-driven district. My assessment of myself as a learner and how my performance will reveal itself as I follow this plan of action to its end and evaluate how the students have been affected. I hope to learn how to create, maintain and evaluate goals and objectives in a meaningful way to help improve assessment scores of all the student populations in my school. I am especially excited to analyze the low socioeconomic group and the special education group are affected by this intense math instruction. The special education teacher and I have discussed how he can better assist the inclusion students in these double-blocked math classes.
Parsley, D., Dean, C., & Miller, K. (2006). Selecting the right data. Principal Leadership, 7(2), 38-42.