Saucon Valley Elementary: An Evolution in Data-Driven Instruction

Saucon Valley Elementary has accomplished what most schools dream of…. they have high achievement and high growth with proficiency scores of 85.4%  in reading and 93% in mathematics on the PSSA. They also have sizeable and consistent gains for growth as measured by PVAAS. Meaning their students in grades 4 and 5 have exceeded a year’s worth of growth.

    According to principal, Ro Frey, “The big idea is teacher ownership of their students’ success.  Teachers own their student’s achievement data, and make decisions based on that knowledge.  They know specifically what they expect of their students in terms of developed grade level standards in reading and math, they share that with parents and students, and they monitor each student’s progress toward that goal. We support the teachers as they accomplish great things for their students.” 

    dataKeys to Success:

    • Consensus on grade level expectations, aligned assessments, and accountability for student success.

    • Data in the hands of the teachers.

    • Teachers empowered to make changes to reach grade level goals.

    • Teachers control the data and lead the conversation. Administrators inquire and support.

    • Respect for teachers knowledge of student needs and professional expertise

        Evolution of Date-Driven Instruction over the course of a Decade:

        • IST meetings revealed no clear consensus regarding grade level expectations.

        • Administrators facilitated collective, grade-level agreement on student end of year outcomes and then developed of end of year assessments to measure them.

        • Teacher accountability: each teacher met with administration at year’s end to review each student’s achievement of grade level standards”

        • Teachers recommended the need for common quarterly grade-level assessments to monitor progress toward end of year benchmarks. Can’t wait for the end of year to determine where students are in relationship toward goals.

        • Use multiple measures of student achievement e.g. DIBELS, 4Sight, PSSA, Quarterly Assessments, RtI – progress monitoring data

        • Half-day work sessions to analyze data and create classroom and grade-level goals beginning and mid year.

        • Continued Refinement of quarterly common assessments.

        • Teachers create a class profile using multiple measures

        • Data Portfolio for each student is created

        • Use class and student data profiles to identify students at-risk  and extension on specific objectives

        • Leadership Team (Principal, Assistant Principal, and Coordinator of Academic Services) – meets with each teacher twice a year (late September and mid-year) on what the data says.

        • Every 10 days to 2 weeks – grade level meets to discuss students in need of assistance.

        • End of year each teacher completes a reflection

        • The Constant: What does your data say? What are you going to change, if you need to?

        Next Steps:
        Common intervention period where teachers regroup students into targeted groups. Each teacher will take a group and provide targeted instruction, rather than each teacher trying to meet a wide-range of intervention needs for their class.

        “Talent is suffocated unless it is practiced in trust.” Eugene O’Neill


        Lori said…
        I am sitting in a weeklong workshop and a teacher is bemoaning the number of assessments administered to students for the sake of collecting data. My question is how do we balance assessment and the need for data with instructional demands?
        Kelly said…
        Lori..I think balance comes from having a purpose behind each assessment, a process for analysis, sharing the data and goal setting.

        I am not convinced we assess too much.... I am however convinced much of assessment is divorced from instruction. Without purpose, process and goal setting... why are we giving all these assessments? All teachers should be able to answer that question. That's at least a place to start.

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