As a building administrator or school leader, a significant aspect of your job is looking at data. State testing results, standardized testing data, and benchmarking results all provide a way to investigate how your school or district is performing. As you comb through the reports looking for trends in student performance, you may end up having as many questions as you do answers.
Questions you may have include:
To truly answer questions like these you need a holistic way to look at both classroom performance and your curriculum. More specifically, you need to be able to look at information that is more than just the year-end, aggregate course grades.
Schools that transition to a standards-based system for capturing evidence of, and communicating about, student learning find it to be a real game changer. Having a way to look at performance that is reported by student learning on specific targets aligned to standards, not just quarterly or yearly aggregate scores, provides a whole different level of insight.
When you are equipped with a more complete picture of student performance you can monitor the implementation and effectiveness of your curriculum. Schools can compare the student learning on targets assessed to what their curriculum maps say should be assessed.
This comparison allows schools to make sure that what they planned to be teaching and assessing is being assessed. Furthermore, if the comparison shows students aren’t making progress on those targets, the school can then consider revising curricular maps and units to add additional instructional opportunities.
Similarly, if cohorts of students had an inconsistent performance from year to year on standardized measures, information on mastery exhibited by classroom assessments can be reviewed to consider the placement of standards and learning targets.
For example, if a school notices that year after year their fourth graders do not perform well on geometry standards in state testing, they can review student progress on the geometry targets assessed. It could be that additional, introductory targets need to be added at an earlier grade level. Or, it could be that the targets being assessed in fourth grade are not rigorous enough and need to be rewritten.
Many schools and districts consider housing their curriculum in a traditional student LMS or Google Docs as good use of technology. And while these may be a good start, a true curriculum management platform allows for a much more consistent and collaborative approach to designing an effective curriculum.
With technology that is focused on curriculum - schools have the opportunity to “dig deep” into analytics. Being able to set priorities for standard and goal coverage, view alignment of goals, assessments, and learning activities is another game changer. Imagine seeing “live” where your gaps and redundancies are - and being able to make real-time decisions and updates to your curriculum.
Now, imagine that you utilize a technology platform to design and manage your curriculum, and standards-based grading and reporting system. How powerful would that be? And the good news is, even if you have started with one, it’s never too late to add the other to enhance your practices.
Teachers and leaders can work collaboratively to develop high-quality units of learning, ultimately impacting student achievement. To learn more about Eduplanet21’s Curriculum Planner, click the button below.
Becky Brown, EdD is a Senior Researcher/Standards-based Practices Specialist at JumpRope. Clare Coupe Scott, MEd. is the Manager of Marketing and Professional Learning at Eduplanet21.