At the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, preschool students in the Corinth-Alcorn-Prentiss Learning Collaborative were tested using the Star Early Literacy assessment as part of a state-wide assessment process. Only 20.1% of these children scored at or above a standard score of 498, the level associated with readiness for Kindergarten entry. By the end of the year, more than 85% of the students showed the literacy skills for K readiness.
Evaluating teachers is one of the most important jobs as a school leader, but often it can feel scary, overwhelming and time-consuming for everyone involved. A couple of years into doing observations and evaluations, I began to see this process differently: to ensure a successful school year, I had to make sure my team was ready. How better to do that than evaluations?
The Michigan Department of Education has opened up the final opportunity for stakeholders to submit feedback on Michigan’s ESSA Plan. The challenge however is that the plan consists of 153 single spaced pages of important information. It’s no casual read to determine how exactly the plan will impact you, yet you as the main stakeholder to be impacted have the most valuable voice to be heard.
Across the country, states are adopting and negotiating new assessment strategies for their students. The struggle is evident as leaders wade through the decision making process of which assessments to use and why. New assessments and accountability systems have left schools in the lurch. When will things be finalized? How frequently can they expect the state to change assessments? As a result, many are turning to their tried and true assessments as a gauge of student success while states figure out their assessment policies.
The new ESSA guidelines solidified student growth as part of measuring school performance. As Michigan looks to determine the perfect assessment to accomplish this, the value of this growth measure still provokes some debate.
Is there a one size fits all growth measure that reflects the performance of schools serving students at all levels? Simply put. Yes. But only if we are willing to look at how we measure growth differently.