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Recently my reading list has included literature about turnaround schools and the actions of their leaders, teachers, and students to achieve improvements in student learning. One common action involves using student learning data to focus instructional planning and direct instruction. In the Who’s Engaged? book this strategy/action is part of the student engagement framework in the alignment of learning targets, learning tasks, and assessment/feedback. In a visit to one of our partner schools last week we observed teachers and instructional coaches working together to use data to focus instruction. This is what we observed:

 At the classroom level, instructional coaches had reviewed individual student-level data on 30-day learning target assessments and provided each classroom teacher a binder that highlighted standards and/or sub-standards for which his/her students needed remediation. The binder also included multiple worksheets, educational guides, learning tools, etc., specific to the highlighted standards and sub-standards so that teachers were “ready” for direct instruction.

A chart including each student at the school and their progress toward mastering grade-level learning targets for the current academic year. Each student is color-coded red (low performer), yellow (solid performer), green (high performer) according to his/her Florida comprehensive assessment test score (FCAT) from the previous year. Likewise, the chart runs vertical, the bottom level is red (low performing), the middle level is yellow (solid performing), and the top level is green (high performing). Percentages are attached to each level. Each student begins the year at his/her respective level. As the year progresses and skills are assessed, students are moved up (or down) on the chart. The students are grouped on the chart by teacher; thus, it is possible to see how well individual teachers are “moving” students within their classes to higher learning gains. A picture is below.

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