Using Data to Tailor Education Helps Kentucky Students Reach Benchmarks

From the statistical information mined, the teachers create specific intentional actionable strategies that become part of the Comprehensive School Improvement Programs and are data-based.

by Melinda J. Overstreet, Glasgow Daily Times, Ky. / December 14, 2015 0
For kindergarten through second-grade pupils, one elementary school is setting learning targets, and each child’s status with regard to those targets will go on their standards-based report cards instead of a letter grade. Shutterstock

(TNS) -- In Cave City, Ky., Caverna Independent Schools’ teachers have been doing some deep diving – into data.

As part of its Comprehensive School Improvement Programs (CSIPs), the district has facilitated several “data retreats” since the beginning of the school year, said Amanda Abell, supervisor of curriculum and instruction.

She had presented an update to the board of education at its regular meeting Thursday evening and discussed it with the Daily Times on Friday.

“Our teachers have been really digging into data and developing hypotheses of practice,” she said.

From the statistical information mined, the teachers create specific intentional actionable strategies that become part of the CSIP and are data-based, “so that’s a great shift in the right direction.”

One way the information has been used is in the review of how personnel intervene when students are having trouble reaching benchmarks to help them better achieve those, but also to find better ways to provide enrichment for students who are excelling.

“Our whole goal is for every student to show progress,” Abell said.

She said the system is beginning to implement conceptual building blocks modules for math. Some teachers are still in the professional learning stage for that, but the middle school has begun using it, she said. The modules provide strategies to help educators work from concrete to semiconcrete to abstract thinking, she said.

Another big part of the changing the intervention response is the writing revision process the schools are beginning to implement. Students are provided with examplar models of writing so they know what exceptional writing looks like and with a list of criteria; they can then compare their own writing with that rubrick to revise and improve it, Abell said.

Other portions of her update to the board dealt with using standards-based report cards for early elementary students and curriculum-pacing guidelines.

For kindergarten through second-grade pupils, Caverna Elementary School is setting learning targets, and each child’s status with regard to those targets will go on their standards-based report cards instead of a letter grade. This way, Abell said, parents will have the benefit of seeing exactly what standards their children have mastered and where they still need work and whether they are progressing.

“They can really see specifically where their child is performing,” she said.

Content teacher leaders have been reviewing their guidelines for how instructional curricula is paced throughout the year, Abell said. Curriculum guides help educators document the resources they can use to aid instruction, she said, adding that the guidelines were established last year, they are just getting revised this year as necessary.

Another item of note from the board’s agenda was that the district’s Student Technology Leadership Program team is starting a Go Fund Me account where interested parties can donate money to help the team go to its state competition.

©2015 the Glasgow Daily Times (Glasgow, Ky.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.