Several of my latest blog posts have focused on standardized assessment data as this fall MCAS and PARCC data questions appear foremost on the minds of many teachers and administrators. But beyond the summative assessments, what other data, already readily available, should schools and districts use to track student progress? What other data resources should be used in identifying at-risk students?
As I've thought about this question I came across an article in Education Week focusing on the efforts of Tacoma, Washington's Superintendent, Josh Garcia. Garcia has transformed the district's use of data by moving beyond attendance, test scores and graduation rates, to incorporating additional measures that capture the whole child. Tacoma's accountability system now includes over 3 dozen measures of students, broken down by grade level and content area, from preschool through grade 12.
What I find most interesting about Tacoma's new accountability system is that it is both holistic and aligned. The district identified 4 key goals to focus their efforts in raising the graduation rate, the climate of schools, and the achievement levels of all students. These goals are defined in the areas of academic excellence, partnerships, early learning, and safety. Realizing that, as a district, they were gathering very little data on their students, and not data to monitor progress, the district began to look at what additional data could be gathered to align with each of the four key goals. Data is now gathered from the community, from students PK-12, faculty and staff.
A few examples of data Tacoma currently includes in the K-12 accountability system are as follows:
- % of students accessing preschool and full day kindergarten programs
- At each grade level: % of students meeting standards;
- Grade 8: % of students accessing extracurricular activities
- Grade 9: % of students failing 1 class; % of students failing more than 1 class
- High School: % of students accessing extracurricular activities; % of students receiving college acceptance letters
- % of public visits to the district's website and social media pages
- Community Partners, Health Youth and School Climate survey responses
- % of registered school volunteers
More information on Tacoma's accountability system can be found at the following link: http://www.tacoma.k12.wa.us/information/strategicplan/documents/tps-measuring-the-whole-child.pdf
The EdEval office has partnered with the MA Organization of Educational Collaboratives to organize a series of DDM office hours between January and May 2015. DDM working group members (1-2 per district) are invited to attend these office hours to have their questions answered, learn about and share implementation strategies, and receive feedback on potential measures from ESE's DDM experts. Space is limited.
To RSVP, contact:
Cape Cod Collaborative
418 Bumps River Road, Osterville, MA 02655
Assabet Valley Collaborative
57 Orchard Street, Marlborough, MA 01752
Collaborative for Educational Services
97 Hawley St. Northampton, MA 01060