The 4 words that can turn the tide at any school

The 4 Words That Can Turn the Tide at Any School - TLG-IMG-12192019Littlestown, Pennsylvania, is a small town in south-central Pennsylvania. The town’s eponymous school district is three buildings big—an elementary, middle, and high school—and serves just under 2,000 students.

Not long ago, the district faced a handful of serious problems with their assessments:

  • Teachers were cobbling together their own assessments and reports
  • Data was inconsistent across grade levels
  • Some educators were skeptical about the quality and reliability of the data generated by certain assessments

Encouraged by their superintendent, teachers and staff across the district resolved to tackle these problems and implemented MAP® Growth™ in 2017. They’ve since exceeded growth projections in almost every grade and subject. I recently spoke with administrators and staff in the school district to hear their story.

Words—and data—of wisdom

During our conversation, Cortney Golden, assistant principal at Littlestown’s Maple Avenue Middle School, revealed the piece of wisdom she shares with every educator hoping to improve outcomes for students in their district, school, or classroom.

Littlestown educators use their data to develop solutions and empower each other for the good of their students.”

Tweet: 4 words that can turn the tide at any school https://nwea.us/2rajqdf #edchat #edtech“Don’t blame the kids” she says. It’s four words of advice that sound easy to adhere to in theory but can sometimes take practice. If a student isn’t growing, or a cohort isn’t making strides typical of students at their level, it can be easy to misplace accountability.

That’s why educators in Littlestown rely on the comprehensive norms from NWEA to help students and teachers set ambitious and feasible growth goals, regardless of where they are in their learning. NWEA uses assessment data from more than 10 million students to create national norms and conducts new norming studies every three to five years to ensure the information is accurate and reliable.

If a student isn’t growing, or a cohort isn’t making strides typical of students at their level, it can be easy to misplace accountability.”

So instead of pointing fingers, Littlestown educators use their data to develop solutions and empower each other for the good of their students.

“MAP Growth has helped us take [our results] and own them and say, ‘Hey, this is the kid. He’s got to grow. What are we going to do?’” Cortney says.

It’s an attitude and practice that have paid off big for the students and teachers of Littlestown. Read more about how they did it in our case study.