Tuesday, February 2, 2010

data, data, data

Thursday all of the ELA teachers will be "pulled out" of class for two periods to spend time talking about our progress on our SMART goal for the year. During our last "pull out" day, we create the SMART goals (SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely).

Since then, we have talked about them precisely one time, today. To be honest, I haven't even thought about it since we "created" it.

Here is the ninth grade SMART goal for ELA: As measured on the CST, we will raise our percentage of proficient and advanced students from 47% to 54%. to skip my ramblings and see if my kiddos made it, skip to the very bottom

Why the random increase of 7% you ask?

Our noble, honorable directive from up above is to increase 15% of the non-proficient students to proficient or higher. When you do the math (funny math that confused a lot of people), it works out to be 7% overall. Meeting the 15% improvement would mean that not only would each school meet the requirements of NCLB, but the district would enter "Safe Harbor" under NCLB and no longer be considered program improvement. Grand goal. Important goal.

Realistic? I wish...

Why haven't I thought about this goal?

Why haven't we talked about it? Because while it is specific (can't get more specific than that) and measurable (can't argue with the CST), it does not seem achievable, is not realistic, and provides no room for timely review (if you didn't know, CSTs only come once a year).

Now, if I was a typical high school teacher, I would leave it at that. The above statement would be enough to "justify" my laziness, BUT the fact of the matter is that even though I do not find it achievable and realistic, it is still the goal. I can't change that. It is also my hope that we can create some type of timely (and accurate review).

Which brings me back to my original point (if you're still reading, thanks, I won't feel bad it you stop now or scroll straight down to the bottom)...

I sat down this afternoon and began looking at the data that would show me if my students are making the growth needed to come reasonably close to achieving our SMART goal.

Using DataDirector, our super cool online data report, I began pulling and adjusting reports to give me the info I wanted. I pulled CST data from my students' 8th grade year and their used the District Semester Assessment as comparison data.

I started getting excited about the data!

I know, can you believe it? During my four years at Central, data poured out of my ears and I wanted to scream when we were told that we were going to do yet another data analysis procedure, but today, today I was exciting.

Making nifty charts in Excel made the data easy to read, color coded charts made it evident what I was doing well and what I needed to improve on, comparing CST and semester results showed me that...

I am and I am not "on target" to meet my goal.

No, failure- My students were only 35% P/A on the CST, and 40% on the district assessment. I would need 21 kids to move a proficiency level in two months to reach this target. This is no way I can meet this goal.

Yes, partial success- I have a growth of 5% in proficiency if you compare the CST to the district assessment. I need a growth of 7% and for half of the year I made more than half the growth.

Yes, partial success- When I do the funny math, I have an increase of 11% of my basic kids into the P/A category, I need 15% (this works out to be 5.32 more kids).

My personal new, actually SMART, SMART goal to make sure that my successes stay a success: Between the District Assessment and the CST, my students will increase in proficiency by 2% or more overall (at least six students individually) from 40% to 42%.

We'll see how excited everyone else is about this data thing...

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