Friday, December 14, 2007
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At this point in the school year, students and teachers have completed the first round of benchmark assessments and eagerly anticipate the holiday season. These assessments are aligned with what students are expected to know and adequately perform at this stage of the grading period. Results from the benchmarks are being analyzed to develop intervention plans for students who are struggling, and to provide enrichment for students who are high achievers. The results also give school officials an early, proactive look at where individual schools and the school district as a whole are performing.
We know that in order to continuously improve student achievement results we must improve the processes that create the results. To know what to improve, we must analyze relevant data. Through the implementation of this concept, our teachers give feedback, set objectives, help students summarize and tie learning to the performance standards. Teachers also track student performance data, while students begin to monitor a portion of their own data. As author Jane Pollock describes in "Improving Student Learning One Teacher at a Time," we are interested in making the right adjustments in four critical areas of practice:
· Create a classroom curriculum implementation process that incorporates rigorous concepts and procedures;
· plan instruction that is focused on helping students become master learners who can apply information and skills;
· design varied classroom assessments that yield evidence of mastery and pinpoint where further instruction is required; and
· use feedback to improve individual student achievement and refine instruction.
We look forward to the holiday break to reenergize our students, faculty, staff and parents for a successful second half of the school year. I personally wish each of you a safe and joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year!