Sunday, November 6, 2011

Taking a Look at the Data

We are so fortunate in Duval County to have Early Release Wednesdays every other Wednesday of the month.  These days give us an extra hour and a half for professional development every other week.  Usually we spend the time with our grade level and work on the work, but this past Wednesday the entire school worked on data.  The county has finally figured out a way to give us data that is user friendly.  Of course for 3-4-5, it's based on benchmarks that, in my opinion, are still questionable.  I would hate to see us put ALL of our faith in those tests but at least it's a starting point.  
In K-1-2 we had state-wide FAIR data to peruse. This past Wednesday we looked at the data against our lists of free and reduced lunch, lists of second language children, Hispanic students (which will probably be a high stakes assessment sub group or us for the first time this year) and other identifiers.  

So what did I learn?  Of course I know who my strugglers are by now (it's the end of the first nine weeks!) and I already had small groups and specific interventions in place.  I did notice that a much higher percentage of my strugglers are also on free and reduced lunch.  That has long been a trend but it just means that I have to work harder to make sure that they catch up in these early years.  It means that many of them are in homes where they are in survival mode and the children don't have the same type of support as their more financially comfortable peers have day in and day out.  That group continues to grow as our economy struggles and I want to give each child a fighting chance. 

I also identified which of my strugglers that I can touch at our tutoring center and want to make sure to  target those children and get them there for the extra service after school every week.  I also realize that I have a pocket of my Special Education students that have strong academic skills and will need to continue to be challenged at a more advanced level! Nice problem to have.  There is a responsibility to make sure that they continue to grow even though they are working above the aim line.  All in all it was a good reflection time - something that all teachers need on a regular basis.

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