Initiative fatigue. Is that something happening in your school or district? The last ten years of legislation and technology – and changes to both – have driven a lot of new initiatives into the K-12 educational landscape. Most initiatives start from a good place, a good idea, or a good intention. But as they get stacked up on each other, they lose focus, prioritization, and monitoring—all of which are instrumental to success.
How can you avoid this fatigue when you are committed to implementing something new? That’s we talked about with the team at East Bridgewater Public School District in Massachusetts in our latest webinar. Once they invested the time and effort into an assessment audit, and the selection of MAP Growth, they didn’t want the roll-out to be a “one-and-done” implementation. As Jennifer McPartland, the K-12 Curriculum Facilitator and current MAP Growth Coordinator shared, they knew they had to approach it with focus, prioritization, and monitoring.
One key to their success was relentlessly focusing on teachers first. This is how educators at East Bridgewater built trust, made the assessment count, and delivered immediate value to teachers:
- Test early and stay objective. They gave their teachers time to get comfortable with MAP Growth and communicated that the purpose was for instruction, not evaluation.
- Teachers get first dibs on data. They gave their teachers immediate access to results. This was both to create direct value for them and to remove any fear of judgment based on the results. In addition, they worked to ensure that all teachers could access the reports they needed.
- Using data for instructional planning. Unlike their state assessment, East Bridgewater’s primary purpose for using MAP Growth data was for instructional planning. To help reinforce that purpose, they encouraged teachers to focus on classroom-level reports. They specifically wanted teachers to take one action with their data: grouping students based on the information in their Class Breakdown by Goal report.
McPartland and the team at East Bridgewater worked hard to provide continuous support for understanding MAP Growth and MAP Growth data. From professional learning workshops to individual support to PLCs, they talked about key reports, had discussions about how to use data in their planning, looked at trends, reviewed testing conditions, and reinforced that they were focusing on student growth.
McPartland was encouraged by one particular conversation she had with a teacher about some ‘high fliers’ in her class. Together, they spent an hour reviewing the Achievement Status and Growth Summary report, with special attention to the high-achieving students in the quadrant chart. The teacher had been challenging eight students – four had shown growth, and four had not. Together, they looked at where the students started and discovered that the four who had not grown had started out in the 95-99th percentile. They realized that those four students needed even more extensions and exposure to new material.
“That was a great example of starting small with your data and finding something that seems off,” McPartland says. “After we dug into the data, she came away with a plan to challenge those students. It was a fantastic use of the data.”
In addition to creating a teacher-first approach to their implementation, the team at East Bridgewater talks about how they established a scalable system of support and created shared goals across the district in our webinar. Learn more about their 3 keys to making your assessment program stick here.