Monday, January 6, 2014

Data-Driven Student Conferencing

Student conferencing has been a hot topic at our school for the last few years, and I couldn't be more thankful that I jumped on the bandwagon immediately. By communicating individual progress with each student, I've noticed increased awareness and accountability on the student's behalf.  While we all hate to watch students struggle, I think there's something to say about the revelations students can encounter when they see their lack of progress for the first time. These conferences have opened the door to enhanced communication between the students and myself as I get to really investigate their progress trends over the year (and even from the past). My students also love the opportunities for student leadership whenever I allow them to set their own goals.

I remember the first year our principal expressed her desire for us to be more deliberate about incorporating data into student conferencing; I sat there thinking "How do I help students understand all of the numbers & scores that I need to share with them?". For me the answer includes using plenty of visuals (charts, graphs, colors, etc.) and better communicating the most important terms that my 5th graders need to be familiar with. For example, all of my students are familiar with the phrases scaled score, grade level equivalent, and percentile rank.  Speaking of visuals, here's one of the forms that I share during my student conferences.
I've redesigned my Student Progress Sheet each year, but currently it includes TCAP information from 3rd & 4th grades. I also left space for them to record their 5th grade goal, as well as a spot for me to record their actual 5th grade data after the scores come back in May. Our system also uses the STAR Assessment series so much of my data comes from the STAR Math tests. I also includes a chart for the system-designed Benchmarks Tests. This is the first year we've used them, so next year I will most likely expand the Benchmark section to include specific skills that were covered within each 9 weeks.
Here's an example of a current student...
 I absolutely love having all of this data in one place - it provides precise talking points! At first glance, I can see that even though this student (female) has always scored Basic on TCAP, there was much growth in her PR between 3rd & 4th grade. I also noted that in 4th grade, she was only 13 scale points away from the mark for Proficient. Because of this she decided that she would like to aim for a Proficient score on the 2014 TCAP. By referencing the TVAASS site I found that the estimated PR for Proficiency is around the 43rd percentile rank so I noted this on her goal column.
On her STAR scores, I can see where she her 4th grade score in May was very similar to her 5th grade Benchmark score in August, meaning that she maintained her standing over the summer. Since then she peaked after the 1st 9 weeks and regressed for the 2nd 9 weeks testing (December).
For those unfamiliar with STAR or scaled scores, it's imperative to keep in mind that TCAP scaled scores can only be compared horizontally. I can use these scores to help rank students who took the TCAP test in 4th grade, however I cannot compare these scores to the scaled scores they may achieve in 5th grade. However STAR scaled scores CAN be used to compare performance within the same grade level (horizontally) AND across grades (vertically). This is one of the reasons that I like to compare their 4th grade STAR score in May to their 5th grade STAR score in August.
There's tons more that I could go into about data-driven conferencing, but I just wanted to share a bit for now. I'm uploading my Student Progress Sheet to TPT in Microsoft Word so you can edit it for your personal needs. Just click on either image above and head on over there to grab this FREEBIE!
- Mrs. Wiggin -

Our First SNOW Day!

First off, let's all just accept that fact that I'm not the best blogger in the world. I have so many great ideas to share with you, but time has simply gotten away from me.

Due to the INSANE weather going in in TN right now (extremely cold temperatures, black ice, snow, yada yada...) I was pleased to get the 5:30am call from our director saying that schools would be closed today. YAY! Now I know that teachers can relate to the feeling of pure joy & giddiness when that call comes in, but today was extra special because it was supposed to be the students first day back after break. PLUS I had planned for a substitute because I was scheduled to speak at Alcoa's (another district) professional learning day. You can just imagine my anxiety last night as I repeated the process of checking the weather for my hometown, checking the weather for Alcoa, searching the news for updated closings, glancing at my email for correspondence from the other district, and finally rummaging through Facebook for rumors of closings. This process continued nearly every 30 minutes until I went to bed, and then every 1-2 hours just because I couldn't get to sleep without thinking about it. Luckily I received confirmation from Alcoa before midnight but had to wait until morning to get word from my own school system. Call me crazy...

Anyway now that I'm home and still in my pajamas at 10am, I thought today would be a great day to get caught up with the virtual world. No workouts, no vacuuming, and no laundry...just time for me. I've got several posts & perhaps some TPT updates coming soon. YIPPEEE!

But first, check out this photo from our fine Greeneville Wal-mart. Keep in mind that this was taken last night by one of the employees, when the temperature outside was still in the mid-50s....
Photo: This is what happens when people freak out!
- Mrs. Wiggin -