Standard 5: The school implements a comprehensive assessment system that generates a range of data about student learning and school effectiveness and uses the results to guide continuous improvement.
At Simons Middle School, we maintain and implement a comprehensive assessment system. At the classroom level, there are common formative and summative assessments across grades and content areas. Data is also generated from a variety of assessment sources, including Reading Plus, Aleks, MAP testing, as well as through district Benchmark testing and required state testing data. Non-academic data is also available, such as attendance reports and behavioral data that is considered when monitoring individual student progress. Taken as a whole, the multiple measures are analyzed to provide insight and direction regarding student learning. The same sources of data as well as additional walkthrough data provide information regarding the effectiveness of the instructional process for groups of students as well as individual students.
At SMS, our assessment system is monitored and used consistently. Content areas post common assessments in One Drive so that all team members and administrators have access. Content area teams also work together to evaluate assessments, analyze the results of assessments and plan next steps. Weekly PLC meetings involving content teachers and school administration provide time to review classroom instruction data (Eleot), student assessment data and analysis of assessment alignment and rigor.
In order to sustain our progress in this area, we plan to continue to work collaboratively to continue to improve our data analysis process. We will also analyze test questions and review student work samples. We are analyzing data for specific populations as well as individual students. We also realize a crucial aspect of improvement is continuing to involve students in the data analysis process at the classroom level and at the individual level.
All staff at Simons Middle School implements the Plan Do Study Act process for continuous monitoring and improvement of instruction and assessment. Several examples of classroom PDSAs are provided as evidence as they may look slightly different across classrooms, but the implementation protocol is the same. This systematic process allows all students to be familiar with the expectations and learning goals for their classes. As provided in our selection of evidence, data walls can be viewed in many classrooms where students can identify their progress and can compare progress across their grade level. Students also have data tracking sections in their agendas that they utilize in their courses to track relevant data and set individual goals. In addition, each classroom teacher implements the Plus/Delta process to gain valuable insight from students. At Simons Middle School, student voice plays an important role in the classroom-learning environment. Student Plus/Deltas are reviewed and addressed and if appropriate accommodations or adjustments to the learning process or environment are made to incorporate student ideas to improve instruction.
All content areas have a similar procedure for collecting and analyzing data from multiple sources. One document that is common across all areas is the PLC Protocol. This document provides a consistent method for collecting, analyzing and comparing data across content teams and to track trend data from groups of students. Teams review grade level progress, classroom progress, the progress of specific student groups as well as the progress of individual students. All content areas track longitudinal data to track progress through the curriculum. School personnel use data to implement student growth goals, professional growth goals, as well as school improvement goals.
At Simons Middle School, we realize that we must continue to implement the PDSA process in our classrooms and we must continue to advance this process by bringing it to the student level by providing more individual voice in their learning. We are in the beginning stages of implementing Student Learning Communities and we feel that as long as we continue to move toward more student involvement we will sustain our momentum in this area.
In our school, the leadership monitors comprehensive information about student learning. At each weekly PLC meeting, school leadership are present, prepared to listen, participate and help analyze data from common assessments, benchmark assessments and other sources of data, including state KPREP testing and MAP testing results. School leaders regularly conduct Eleot walkthroughs and share department data in PLCs. During this time, we discuss learning conditions, learning environments, student engagement and factors that affect student achievement and performance. Leadership also monitors nonacademic data regularly that impact student learning, and they involve community resources and youth service center personnel to meet the needs of individual students.
School leaders plan and share school improvement data with all stakeholders. Our school held a data night in which students, parents and community members attended to gain additional information regarding the progress of Simons Middle School in regards to KPREP testing data. School leadership also participates in Open Houses, where parents can gain valuable information regarding policies, procedures, data, testing, learning environments and expectations at Simons Middle School. We have attempted to reach out to more parents, community members and stakeholders. School leaders collected data regarding preferred communication methods so that more parents can be informed. At Simons Middle School, leadership also utilizes a variety of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Remind) to disperse information to stakeholders.
In order to continue to make improvement gains in this area, school leadership will continue to monitor and share information with all staff members. The school leadership provides a supportive environment so that staff members are comfortable seeking assistance and guidance. Teachers and grade level teams will continue to assist in sharing information with stakeholders and increasing the level of parent involvement.
As a result of our self-assessment and reflection, we identified two areas that we feel are in need of improvement at Simons Middle School.
Most professional staff members have had a variety of trainings on assessment, data analysis, PDSA as well as effectively implementing the PLC protocol. Effective use of data and interpreting data is a continuous process, that each staff member examines weekly with their colleagues, while reviewing common assessment quality, alignment and rigor or while analyzing student results and planning to use the data to improve the learning environment for students. While working through the self-assessment and reflection, we realized that the support staff at Simons Middle School has not had the detailed training related to evaluation, interpretation and use of data. This is an area of weakness that we, as a school, realize is a component to student success, as many students have formed relationships with our support staff through our Cougar Coach program.
To improve in this area, we will continue to provide professional development, training for both professional and support staff. As sources and methods of data collection change, we will continue to seek training on effectively utilizing data to improve the learning environment for students.
At Simons Middle School, we have a defined procedure for analyzing data. As previously mentioned, the PDSA process is implemented at the classroom level and assessment results are analyzed and interpreted in PLCs by content area teams and school leadership. The process in place to analyze the data is the PLC Protocol that all professional staff members are familiar with. We review multiple sources of data to determine if students need intervention services and have a policy in place to determine if students have met the targets for exiting intervention. As can be seen by reviewing our Intervention Data evidence, tracking student readiness is a very fluid process and many students are moved each time data is reviewed to determine individual placement needs. At this time, we feel that the results indicate improvement and that the majority of our school personnel consistently use the results to implement action plans and evaluate results to determine readiness or success at the next level.
At Simons Middle, we realize that to continue improving, we must always engage in a continuous process to determine if improvement is occurring, what are the contributing or limiting factors and determining the next steps for all involved, including teachers and professional development needs, as well as students and their individual needs for enrichment or intervention. We will continue to improve in this area by maintaining this mindset, providing professional development as needed, adjusting policies, procedures, and schedules to meet the improvement needs of the school and the students.
Our administrators, professional staff, and support staff at Simons Middle School are continuously looking for ways to sustain momentum and break new ground in areas we feel are strengths. Additionally, we are always working to find ways to improve and make gains in the areas currently seen as weaknesses. All in all, at SMS it is our vision to guide our learners in tomorrow’s leaders. To maintain this vision, we understand it is critical to focus on continuous improvement.
- Comprehensive assessment plan, school wide including common classroom assessments and common benchmark assessments.
- PDSA process across all classrooms.
- Student data tracking in agenda and at the classroom level.
- PLC protocol for discussion of student data and progress monitoring of individual and groups of students. (Data displayed in Conference Room)
- Written intervention plan and guidelines. Monitoring of student progress through classroom performance, MAP, Benchmark and KPREP data.
- Connections to stakeholders through a variety of methods: School social media sites, Newsletters, Ceremonies for Data and Cougars of Distinction.
- Student voice, Plus Delta, Moving forward with Student Learning Communities