ERO asked us in 2016 how do we know students are learning and how do we know acceleration is taking place?
As we enter 2017, we continue to ask this important question. While standardized tests provide data on student understanding, the data comes at the end of the year. Teachers need actionable data and strategies for supporting all students during the school year. How will your school staff measure if students are learning?
The idea of using leading and lagging indicators to measure the health of an organization was introduced by Robert Kaplan and David Norton (1993). The premise behind their theory is that lagging indicators will tell you nothing about how the outcomes were achieved, in the absence of leading indicators. Leading indicators provide early warnings about being on track to achieve your strategic goals. Lagging indicators measure what has already taken place. In the absence of clear indicators, teachers and administrators will be unable to measure student learning in a timely manner.
The danger in focusing on outcome measures is that most teachers feel powerless to impact change. Indicators should be “actionable at the school level, meaning that school leaders, teachers, and staff can use them to make changes that will have a demonstrable impact on student outcomes” (Pinkus, 2009, p. 5). As you establish New Year’s resolutions and professional goals, ask the following questions. When teacher teams have clear indicators, it will support all students.
10 Ways To Measure Student Understanding
- Does our team/course have SMART goals? (DuFour, 2014)
- Do you administer common formative assessments?
- Does each teacher understand the Priority Learners Document?”
- Do you have a plan for when students don’t learn?
- Do you have a plan for students who need acceleration?
- Have you identified data points that we will measure throughout the semester?
- Do we have rubrics and exemplar work so teachers, students and families can identify opportunities for growth?
- Do you have a clear Response to Intervention (RtI) program or is RtI left to each teacher?
- Do you have scheduled meetings when data is discussed or do we hope the conversation will take place during passing period?
- Have you considered our Maori student achievement and acceleration in our work?