Analysis of patterns of data use by teachers at Seaford Middle School
David G. Grantz, University of Delaware, United States
University of Delaware . Awarded
Seaford Middle School has been rated as “Academic Watch - Under Improvement,” based on the consistently poor performance of our students on the Delaware Student Testing Program (DSTP). Efforts to address this over the last three years have failed to provide the intended improvement for most demographic subgroups, and in some cases scores have declined. The Delaware Department of Education provides teachers with on-line access to student test data and other resources as aids for improvement efforts; however, utilization of these resources remains low despite annual training.
To discover the degree to which teachers accessed and used student achievement data and other information, I conducted interviews with some of our Language Arts and Mathematics teachers and administered a follow up survey to all of our teachers in those departments and our Special Education teachers. The questions from both assessments were designed to gauge familiarity with the on-line information and comfort with retrieving it. Both were also used to gain insights into the amount of professional conversation about improvement strategies and whether on-line resources were being used to prepare lessons that focused on students' needs.
I was not surprised to find that most of the teachers are familiar with the on-line resources, but used test results only for instructional grouping. Our teachers rarely used DSTP results to evaluate their own teaching or to hone their instructional plans to meet the instructional needs of their current students.
These findings and a review of literature on data-based instructional improvement are used to propose a systematic process for developing and evaluating improvement strategies that is based on a cooperative model of data analysis, goal setting, and progress assessment. Fundamental to this proposal is academic freedom for teachers to formulate strategies and experiment in an environment that recognizes the need for flexibility in meeting students' needs, replacing the current applications of administratively assigned remedies that are applied to all students and teachers despite their needs. By allowing teachers to respond to the changing needs of our students, the chances of leading all of leading our students to success will improve.
Grantz, D.G. Analysis of patterns of data use by teachers at Seaford Middle School. Ph.D. thesis, University of Delaware.
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