Best Practice Link
Elementary School Themes
Theme - Monitoring: Compilation, Analysis, and Use of Data
- Administration and staff regularly share and review a variety of assessment data in order to address student needs.
In addition to the state tests, teachers administer published tests that parallel the state assessments in order to anticipate needs for students of concern. Results are stored in a computerized data base, which school personnel use to monitor achievement over time or when considering changes in the curriculum. Monitoring student and school performance is part of the ethos of the district.
Teachers also use a variety of other assessments to monitor student performance. For example, to evaluate the students’ success in Language Arts teachers may use running records and Development Reading Assessments (DRA), which provide for consistent monitoring of students in small groups and centers. Teachers monitor students’ homework and may provide interventions based on what is coming back on homework assignments. Teachers may also administer “replicas” (practice exams) for the state tests at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year.
Some differences between higher- and average-performing schools
Average performers do not have a systematic process for reviewing assessment data. They may have benchmarks in some grades and content areas but not in others; measures to monitor student learning may be used in some grades and classrooms while not in others. Review of test responses, if it occurs, is unsystematic. State test scores dominate how teachers evaluate students' performance, and other assessments are used solely for grading purposes. There is little regular communication around assessments that focuses on intervening on behalf of struggling students.
Higher performers have benchmarks across most grade levels and content areas. Teachers use test scoring sessions to review response patterns, and administrators provide time for staff to review test data and student work. Teachers make habitual use of a wide range of formal and informal measures to monitor student learning. Teams of specialists, classroom teachers, administrators, and sometimes parents review struggling students' assessments for planning and interventions. Overall, educators in these schools informally and formally evaluate students' performance using a variety of assessment tools, and they use assessments not just to grade but to modify instruction.
At Ulysses Byas, teachers use a monthly calendar to document academic and behavioral progress and communicate with parents. It also allows students to see what areas they need to improve in.