The last school year has certainly been a wild ride but the finish line is finally in sight. Like most, you’re probably beginning to think about what worked, what didn’t work, and what could be improved upon for next year. For the last ten months, you’ve gathered a mountain of information on your students -- everything from skill mastery to behavioral observations. While this data has helped you navigate through the school year as it unfolded, it can also chart your path to next year’s success. Here are three ways you can use your data from this year to get a head start on next year!
Planning for Summer
Summer school is a topic on everyone’s minds. Districts are in a race against the clock to address any unfinished learning before students return for the fall semester. Data shows that students will return in the new year with more learning gaps than what is typical, and summer school is one of the ways districts can mitigate a potentially rocky start to the new year.
As with any summer school implementation, your goals should be clear and specific. For some, that means addressing any unfinished learning and mastery of essential standards. But, how can schools properly identify which students should attend summer school and which standards should take priority?
As for the first point, one way students can be identified for summer school is by taking a look at their end-of-year growth data and checking if the student is performing below grade level. Confirm if there has been enough skill growth for the student to be confident with next year’s material.
Then, take things one step further and look at students’ mastery data. Is a student only working on skills below level and struggling to achieve mastery on grade-level? If a student falls below a certain mastery threshold in any of those areas, they would be prime candidates for summer learning.
With only a few weeks to bring students up to grade level, it’s important to design the summer curriculum in a way that maximizes skill mastery in a short period of time. By looking at your year-end data combined with what critical skills students must master in order to be promoted, you can build a focused curriculum that bypasses any content that could be superfluous or irrelevant to your summer school audience.
Essentially, cut out any content, processes, or assessments that do not assist in reaching your summer school goal(s). This helps maximize the learning that takes place and allows every class meeting to be filled with valuable instruction. In the Classworks platform, you can easily view the standards addressed in students’ learning progressions and whether mastery or proficiency has been achieved. Additionally, Classworks takes the guesswork out of summer learning for these students. We’ve identified essential standards for each grade level based on their importance. These lessons focus student learning to practice skills students need to carry into the next grade in order to build deeper connections to new, more complex concepts. They are accessible for students during the summer semester and can be further refined by administering a quick screener.
Another important consideration for summer school is helping students reacclimate to learning in person before returning full-time in the fall, especially when these students are already dealing with learning gaps. Although computer-driven instruction will always be a staple in any setting, students should see more collaborative, in-person exercises that help alleviate some of that technology fatigue.
Planning for Next Year
It doesn’t stop there! Your end-of-year data can be used to get a jumpstart on your RTI planning and save you hours worth of work ahead of the new year. Instead of waiting to begin identifying your RTI students until after a month-long testing process in the fall, use your current data to start making those decisions now. This allows you to start intervention on day one.
In the classroom, comprehensive student reports that detail time-on-task, growth, and mastery are a valuable resource for any teacher with new students coming in. This allows the teacher to gain a better understanding of the learning gaps they’ll be dealing with and can plan their day-to-day instruction accordingly. After ten months of remote learning, many students will be itching to collaborate with each other on activities and assignments. Teachers can also use their new students’ end of year data to preemptively form groups or pairs based on their domain proficiencies.
Reflecting on the Curriculum
Ultimately, your end-of-year data tells a story of the ups, downs, obstacles, and triumphs during the past school year. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, this data can reveal opportunities to enhance your current curriculum. By looking at your screener data, you can identify domains across grade levels in which students have struggled the most. It very well could be that the gaps we see in students’ skill sets are indicative of larger gaps in your curriculum.
For example, if a district notices that their eighth grade students have struggled tremendously in algebra, it could be a signal for schools to start exposing children to algebraic concepts in lower grades so that students are more comfortable when they come face-to-face with their eighth grade math quiz.
By looking at our individualized learning standards mastery reports, we can even refine this data and identify exactly which skills within this domain have proved challenging for students.
In addition to any curriculum changes, this data also exposes an opportunity for increased extended learning time or intervention time built into the weekly schedule. Overall, this presents a valuable opportunity to connect with grade-level teams and plan to revamp areas where students have fallen short.
There are many meaningful ways to use the data from this past school year. For more information about using Classworks-specific data to inform summer school or back to school, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with us at classworks.com for a data consultation.