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Making Sense of STAAR Data Part 4

Are we able to go from being non-runners to running a marathon – with just three weeks of preparation?  Of course not.  We have to build up to it, otherwise we’re setting ourselves up for (rather brutal and painful) failure.

How does this relate to making sense of the STAAR data in Reading & Writing?

As with any proper pre-race preparations, we also have to build up our students’ reading stamina with extended reading times because perseverance in Reading is key indicator towards developing successful students.  By the same token, the key to Writing success is not in the tested grade levels, but also in the ones that come before and in between.

And – when it comes to the content areas of Reading and Writing, they’re an even more difficult challenge.  They just don’t behave like the rest of the content areas… at all!

So let’s stop treating these two content areas like the rest of them. 

Big step in the right direction:  We’re going to use heat maps that are organized in a way that connects data to genres.

STAAR Reading data showed the Reading trend line staying pretty much the same, which means that answers are not in the charts. What the data is saying is that results are reflecting the efficacy in reading, which begins in Kinder, 1st, and 2nd grade reading instructions.  In fact, 2nd grade reading predicts the health of the system, and is a key indicator as to who will graduate! (create graphic for this quote)

OK, so which genres are hard to teach, hard to reach? Here is just one of the patterns:

What this means is:

  1. Teachers need to read to the kids but what they read should be just a bit above their reading level to increase student vocabulary
  2. It has to be inferential
  3. Every once in a while teachers need to pair two things together at the same time, For example, poetry and a story communicate the idea of “theme.”

The Reading-Writing Connection Are Like Mirror Image Twins: 4th grade, 7th grade, and English 1 showed us a beautiful connection: Students who scored high on expository writing also scored high on expository reading, and vice versa.

On the second point in the graph above, the data showed that kids wrote good points but they weren’t connected. A good way to do this is to have teachers in other subject areas use the structure of “Read | Think | Write| Be Sure To” so by the end of the year in your campus, every kid goes, “I know, I know: Read, Think, Write, Be Sure To.”

This will prepare your students to race like strong athletes ready for the Olympics of real life.  Unlike my attempt at doing front squat thrusters and pull ups without rest in my first advanced level of CrossFit training.  Needless to say, I can barely lift my fingers to type this article… 🙂

This wraps up the four part series, “Making Sense of STAAR Data”.  This series is adapted from segments within Module 3 of 4 in STAAR 3D: Data, Decision-making, & Development.

This online workshop is designed to provide school leadership teams with a structure for making sense of STAAR data and creating actionable items for improvement. The four modules include:

  • The Big Picture and the Design of STAAR
  • Becoming a Data Language Learner/ Beginning with the End in Mind
  • Making Sense of the Data
  • Planning Professional Development

STAAR 3D is available for $150/user-license or two for $250 at http://staar.responsivelearning.com/.  It is also included FREE inside the All-STAAR Campus Improvement Bundle that’s everything STAAR.  You can learn more about the All-STAAR Bundle by clicking here.

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