Analyzing Data and Driving Instruction & Student Engagement

Data-Analysis-Model_Complete_large2nd Qtr assessments are in and there’s some data to go through. What I’m looking for here are trends in student performance and item analysis. Conversations with teachers are centered on What instructional strategies were being used and what do we need to do differently to get better results. The district is pushing the research-based strategy of Summarizing to improve literacy. Our 4th grade teachers have been trained, and I am monitoring it’s implementation. There’s also information about focusing on the “Tested 7”. Seven Reading Comprehension Strategies?
1. Activating background knowledge to make connections between new and known information. In many classrooms, this instruction is divided into three categories of connection as defined by Colleen Buddy – text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world (Buddy quoted in Keene and Zimmerman, 2007).

2. Questioning the text. Proficient readers are always asking questions while they read. Sticky notes (post-its) have become ubiquitous in classrooms in part because they are such a useful tool for teaching students to stop, mark text, and note questions as they read.

3. Drawing inferences. Proficient readers use their prior knowledge about a topic and the information they have gleaned in the text thus far to make predictions about what might happen next. When teachers demonstrate or model their reading processes for students through think-alouds, they often stop and predict what will happen next to show how inferring is essential for comprehending text.

4. Determining importance. In the sea of words that is any text, readers must continually sort through and prioritize information. Teachers often assist readers in analyzing everything from text features in nonfiction text like bullets and headings, to verbal cues in novels like strong verbs. Looking for these clues can help readers sift through the relative value of different bits of information in texts.

5. Creating mental images. Readers are constantly creating mind pictures as they read, visualizing action, characters, or themes. Teachers are using picture books with students of all ages, not necessarily because they are easy to read, but because the lush and sophisticated art in these books can be a great bridge for helping students see how words and images connect in meaning-making.

6. Repairing understanding when meaning breaks down. Proficient readers don’t just plow ahead through text when it doesn’t make sense – they stop and use “fix-up” strategies to restore their understanding. One of the most important fix-up tools is rereading, with teachers demonstrating to students a variety of ways to reread text in order to repair meaning.

7. Synthesizing information. Synthesis is the most sophisticated of the comprehension strategies, combining elements of connecting, questioning, and inferring. With this strategy, students move from making meaning of the text, to integrating their new understanding into their lives and world view.

Still Winning!

Leadership Excellence Award to R.N. Harris administrative team that achieved the highest percentage of Scorecard Growth Goals for 2010-11. The school received a check from the Business Advisory Council for $2,500 for leadership development.
Pictured:R.N Harris Elementary Integrated Arts and Core Knowledge Magnet Elementary School, with Principal Carolyn Pugh and Assistant Principal Adriese Williams.
Harris surpassed all but one of their growth goals in reading and math, made High Growth on the ABCs and met 100% of their AYP goals. RN Harris’s overall percentage of goals met was 70.8 percent. Read more here

Preliminary Results….

We received our preliminary results last week , and we are right at 77.8 % proficiency. Our goal was 80 % , and we are hopeful for a few more percentage points. Out of 28 elementary schools we rank 3rd highest in proficiency. We also made High Growth ( 60% of students making a year’s growth). Quite an accomplishment for two rookie admins, as this was Ms. Pugh’s first year as principal, and my first year as assistant principal. Also to mention we are 85% Free & reduced lunch, and a Title I school. Who said economically-disadvantaged students can’t perform academically. I know these standardized exams don’t mean that students have learned anything, but this is the measure we are being held to. Until they change the rules of the game, we are playing this game to win! Next up figuring out what worked well this year , and planning for next school year.