At Carmel Clay Schools, analyzing test scores is a big deal. And it's helped the Indiana district give individual students the teaching they need to improve their grades.
Through the analytics program Pinnacle Insight, district and school-level administrators track class grades, standardized test scores and local assessments, along with attendance and discipline records. The interactive graphs and spreadsheets are user-friendly so they can find the information they need.
“It’s so easy to deliver exactly the information they need right to the principal’s desktop,” said Technology Specialist Christi Cloud.
That information is delivered quickly, too. Pinnacle ties directly to the district's student management system and pulls in data fields that Cloud identifies overnight. When the district receives its SAT results, Cloud loads them into a stand-alone database and imports them into the analytics program.
“There’s no waiting around on our data,” Cloud said. “If we want to stay late tonight and get it in there for tomorrow morning, by golly, we could do that.”
Currently, administrators and teachers of English as a Second Language and Title I students have access to the information, but all teachers will be able to access it in 2011 to improve their instruction.
More than 90 percent of students pass state tests each year, and most of them receive high scores on their SATs. But the school district didn't want to stop there.
“When you’re already doing very well on standardized testing, you have to get really down to the individual student that you need to work with to really see huge gains,” Cloud said.
At Towne Meadow Elementary, Principal Ryan Newman looks at a variety of information to see how students are doing. If a kid struggles in math class, the principal checks out how he's doing in other classes this year and pulls scores from previous years.
“It just helps you to align the instruction and the supports that you give kids more accurately,” Newman said.
Depending on what he finds, he'll suggest that teachers provide additional help in specific areas, and that help isn't always what he had in mind before seeing a big picture of the child's progress. When the majority of the students in a class are doing tasks that they don't need help with, the teacher might guide a group of struggling students through their reading.
With real-time access to student's grades and test scores, he said, teachers can more closely target instruction to each student.