Know Data, Know Answers

I want to share a piece I wrote a number of years ago.  I love the rubrics designed by the fine folks at Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, but I wanted to unpack the rubrics.  By unpacking the rubrics, I can get to data that allows me  to see the specific parts of the problem-solving process in mathematics for which students need help.  I hope you’ll read the article and add an idea or two to your assessment toolkit.  Download the article here.

Download a copy of Northwest’s Mathematics Problem Solving Grid.

Using Data to Form Flex Groups – Kindergarten Writing

You’ve likely heard about using data to inform student achievement.  You’ve also likely used assessment data from your state tests to try and do that.  There are many ways to use data, including the kinds of data you collect in your classroom.  This short piece describes how to use data from a rubric to form flexible groups for instruction.  Download the pdf to learn more about how to use this data strategy.

You may also want to download a copy of the kindergarten rubric that is used in this strategy.

Kindergarten Developmental Rubric

This three-page handout has an example of a developmental rubric that can be used in kindergarten.

Download the pdf of the kindergarten rubric and ideas for its use.

You may also want to see my post related to using the data from this rubric to form flexible groups.

Setting Achievement Bars

With the end of the school year comes time for district and school staff to determine how well students have learned.  School Boards do this also.  If you want to measure student achievement at higher levels, one way is to look at how your state sets its achievement bar on the state tests your students take.  By law, the state tests must measure what it is the state determined that students will learn.  I know, I know – that is a novel concept.  But let me share with you what we’ve learned and how that impacts student achievement in your school, district, and state.

I’ll use an example from Michigan here.  Michigan gives its state test in the fall of each year.  One of the things the state determines is what constitutes proficiency for each test – in other words, how many questions a student must answer correctly in order for a student to be considered proficient.  In 7th grade, a student has to answer only 34% of the questions correct in order to be deemed proficient.  Do you think that’s a problem?  I certainly do.  If we have students who we report as proficient when they are performing well on only about one-third of the test, how are we preparing them for high school?  For college?  For work?

Look at the graph on the left.  The blue line on the graph shows the percentage of questions a student must answer correctly in order to be proficient in mathematics on the MEAP test for grades 3-8.  The bar is set lower than most would like.  (I have yet to talk with an educator in Michigan who thinks the bar is just right or too low.)  This can be an issue in terms of school improvement because we can have 90% of our students proficient, but if the bar is so low, what does that really mean the students know?  Are they really showing proficiency?

District staff, building-level staff, and school board members can step up to the plate here and raise the bar.  How do you do that?  In addition to keeping a check on the percentage of students who are proficient on the MEAP test by the state’s standards, you can raise the bar and add another measurement that reflects your own higher standards.  The red line represents a bar in which a district says that to show success on the MEAP test, students must answer 75% or more of the questions correct.

So consider raising the bar and expecting more from the students for whom you are responsible.

MEAP Constructed Response – Examples of Scoring Guides

Examples of Prompts for Reading Constructed Response

Download this document to get a feel for what the constructed response prompts and scoring tools look like.  In the booklet you’ll find four examples of passages, examples of prompts for the passages, and examples of scoring tools that go with the prompts.  These are good to help you get the overall picture of the constructed response scoring rubrics.

MEAP Item Descriptors

The MEAP Item Descriptors Books have just been released by staff at the Michigan Department of Education.  Stay in the know and download the booklets so you can use them for curriculum alignment purposes.

I’ve also written a few tips about how to use these booklets.  Just download my pdf and see if there’s an idea or two you can use.

Here are the links to the individual Item Descriptor booklets.

Grade 3 Reading

Grade 3 Math

Grade 4 Reading

Grade 4 Math

Grade 5 Reading

Grade 5 Math

Grade 5 Science

Grade 6 Reading

Grade 6 Math

Grade 6 Social Studies

Grade 7 Reading

Grade 7 Math

Grade 8 Reading

Grade 8 Math

Grade 8 Science

Student Assessment – Verbs and Verb Tense

This is a quick assessment for the following two objectives: (1) Identify the verb in a sentence, and (2) Identify the verb as past or present.

Download the pdf of the assessment, answer key, and data scoring tool.

Grade Level:  Elementary

Kindergarten Data Sheet – Can students write their names?

One of the things kindergarten teachers like to track is how students are coming along with writing their names.  So here is an idea for doing that.  What is great about this tracking sheet is that the interventions are built in!  I’ve put in a few illustrative examples to show you how to connect interventions and strategies to the data.  Notice how simple using data really is.

I’ve included a number of things you may want to download and try:  The overview sheet with tips about using the tracking chart, the tracking chart in a PowerPoint so you can customize it how you wish, and the tracking chart in EXCEL for those who might like to keep the records electronically.