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Making Sense of STAAR Data Part 2

Last week we talked about moving from the language of percent to the language of person. You can find that article here. Now we can take the first step to make sense of the data by focusing on teacher perception.

We all know the famous definition of insanity attributed to Einstein: “Keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.  Each teacher comes to us with a certain knowledge base, and unique perceptions.  They try as hard as they can with what they know.  However, if they keep doing the same thing, they’ll keep getting the same results. This is also true for the way we lead our teachers.

How many times have we asked our teachers to identify the TEKS that are hard to teach while they have the student performance data in hand?  Don’t they almost always say that the TEKS that are hard to teach are the ones with the lowest scores?

If we keep doing this, we will get the same results.

So how do we begin improving STAAR scores?

By asking your teachers about their perceptions, what was hard to teach, before they see STAAR data results, otherwise their perception can be reshaped by the data. To collect the data, you can use the free teacher perception data spreadsheets made available by lead4ward (http://lead4ward.com/resources/). With these organized responses, trouble spots and patterns will become evident at all levels, the campus, grade, and subject.

Now, teacher perception data is not enough to solve the problem, but it is enough to get us to start making better decisions. We still need the student learning data to answer “how hard was it?” That’s where the raw data comes into play. Once you have the raw data, you we can evaluate and analyze it by using the “We, Me, OMG” model and make informed decisions for improvement:

We: There is a perception of high difficulty among MOST teachers, and the students’ scores are LOW. This is an indicator that “WE”, most teachers may need professional development in key areas, possibly from outside the campus or district. 
Me: There is a perception of high difficulty among FEW teachers, and student scores were OK. PD for these teachers can come from teacher leaders, or district trainers on a smaller scale.
OMG: There is a perception of high difficulty among few teachers, and student scores are LOW. It’s more than likely that teachers don’t understanding the cognitive complexity of the underlying TEKS. If PD is not an option, the team can revisit the language of the TEKS to determine – where is our teaching not matching the level of thinking? 

We can then begin Heat Mapping the data for your campus or district into Readiness Standards, Supporting Standards, and Underlying Processes & Mathematical Tools.

This article is adapted from a very small segment within Module 3 of 4 in STAAR 3D: Data, Decision-making, & Development.  Read more about STAAR 3D at http://staar.responsivelearning.com/. The online course is available for $250, order at http://staar.responsivelearning.com/or call 915-532-9965.

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