Happy Fall Friends ~
It's Dianna here with you today from Sassy, Savvy, Simple Teaching! Click below on my button & follow me along my journey!
I am here today to talk to you about tracking student's reading proficiency data completely from the beginning of the year to end of the year. Now, keep in mind I am coming to you from a North Carolina TRC frame of mind. But, all holds true no matter what assessment you use to track student's reading proficiency. Part of this as well, is the way I have been trained to do so in previous states.
It concerned me that most teachers were only looking at data from beginning of the year, middle of the year & end of the year. This was because that was the "official" assessment time. We were not tracking data by quarters, because it was not an "official" assessment. This was not a practice in my training, but I went with the flow. Until this year, I needed to reach out to my teachers & make them aware of the concern specifically because I knew it was wrong. I wanted them all to be more conscious in documenting their student's reading levels for their own instructional purposes. Partly, because great things were happening & I wanted them to see the success of their instruction more frequently as well.
There are many reasons this concerned me. A few red flags real quickly are...
- If we are not tracking by quarters, then we are definitely not tracking by month.
- If we are not tracking by month, then we are definitely not changing our small groups often.
- If we are not changing our small groups often, we are not changing our small group instruction often.
- If we are not doing any of the above then how are we addressing if we met a student's instructional need to move them to independence. Therefore moving forward to meeting their next instructional need. Specific & targeted instruction, one step at a time.
- I also didn't see teachers celebrating successes very often. Through my observations most teachers were not tracking data often enough to celebrate.
Now I know, we all have our little group of friends who will always be together & share similar needs in most aspects. I also know that tracking data involves time to collect it, which teachers hate. Fortunately for us, we have progress monitoring guidelines that give us frequent data. We also have the students practice written responses to see how proficiently they can compose text.
But what I can tell you is very simple, if you don't value data, you won't track it with passion. But if you do value data & seeing student success with your instructional strategies & approaches helping them succeed, then you will value data passionately. See data can be very rewarding not only to students but to teachers as well. It's like a little boost we all need, to see success that pushes us to keep going. It reminds us of why we wanted to be teachers in the first place. To work with students & to help them be successful.
Depending on your school's schedule & assessment calendar this can vary, but there should be at least 5 main points of documentation.
- Beginning of the Year Assessment.
- End of the 1st Quarter
- Middle of the Year Assessment/End of the 2nd Quarter
- End of the 3rd Quarter
- End of the Year Assessment/End of the 4th Quarter
Looking at these checkpoints, some would be concerned about #1 & #2. Rightfully so, but you should never doubt the effectiveness of your instruction. Little minds can absorb a lot quickly given the right strategies, proper modeling & time to practice. Most beginning of the year assessments are done in the first month of school. You still have 5 weeks post assessment for instruction until the end of the 1st quarter. Trust me, a lot can be done in a short time in most cases. My grade level teams have proved that this year! They have been working so hard each day with the same focus in mind, improving their small group differentiated instruction.
Therefore I created this little data sheet for them to use. It's short, simple & a sweet addition to their data notebooks. You can print 1 to document your class, or multiple copies to document each student. It is an initiative to value tracking data by all 5 checkpoints listed above in our school year. We are also implementing data walls to visually track together as well [I will post about that later soon].