Friday, June 20, 2014

Score Analysis: A Short List of What Works

I've worked with scores for a variety of tests for years, and as I looked over some new reports on the final day of school, I am aware of the following actions that lead to positive test scores.
  • Know the content. Both teachers and students need to know and apply the content standards well.
  • Time on task with skilled teachers matters.
  • Online engaging programs that review skills, concepts, and knowledge in child-friendly, responsive ways make a positive difference.
  • Students who are tech savvy appear to do better. Students who are not tech savvy which results from a range of reasons need more explicit instruction and practice. 
  • Challenged learners require academic small group or individualized time-on-task time that is quiet, focused, and engaging with skilled professionals who know the content well.
  • Differentiation with responsive tools matter, and it is important to list a wide variety of positive tools, strategies, and processes in order to meet the variety of needs and interests children present.
  • Positivity and good student-teacher relationships make a difference.
  • Stamina matters, and it's important to give students opportunities to practice tasks that require stamina during the year. 
  • Test practice and trials matter too, and help to build test readiness.
  • Test content needs to be thought out and taught throughout the grades, not just at one grade level as learning takes time and focus.
  • Children may need a few years to gain the skill and understanding in order to achieve. Often students who struggle one year grasp and integrate the learning in the next year or two provided there is targeted support. Learning, especially during the young years, is a process that has a developmental curve, a curve that is different for every child. 
  • Class size matters. It is much easier to reach a class of 18 or 19 than a class of 28 or 29. Every good teacher knows that. 
  • Students profit from practice and completing class and appropriate, engaging home assignments regularly. 
  • Strategic scheduling that gives priority learning priority time in the schedule.
  • Attendance at school--children who don't attend regularly don't do as well. 
What we do as educators makes a difference. Skilled time on task with students makes a significant difference. It's advantageous to have most staff working with students in direct, purposeful, skilled ways to support and advance student learning.

I will think about this as I develop the teaching/learning program for next year.