Start of a new year. 72 new learners, 3 teachers and so much learning juice to be squeezed!
I understand the importance of having rich evidence to inform my teacher planning at the beginning of a year.
I need to ask myself
- What kinds of evidence do we need to make our decisions?
- Do we have access to any of this data already?
- What gaps in the evidence do I have - do we have any new learners, absent on the days of test learners?
- How soon do I need to gather new evidence? Is what I have relevant and appropriate for the year ahead?
So in the holidays before Term One, it all kicked off.
What kinds of evidence do we need to make our decisions? Do we have access to any of this data already?
Well, obviously some basic standardized assessment data would be a good place to start. While not always a comprehensive, full picture representation of a child, it is helpful to start grouping children based on similar learning needs in reading, writing and maths. Each year at Stonefields School, each hub is given assessment data from the previous year, including the following
- Maths: GLOSS. Provides numeracy stages for Add/Sub, Mult/Div, and Ratio/Proportions.
- Reading: Running Record / PROBE: Provides a reading level / age based on either the reading colour wheel or a PROBE reading age
- Writing: e-asTTle: Provides a writing score that aligns with NZ Curriculum levels.
What gaps in the evidence do I have - do we have any new learners, absent on the days of test learners? How soon do I need to gather new evidence? Is what I have relevant and appropriate for the year ahead?
To start 2017 we noticed, as with most years, that we did have a few gaps in the data that would need to be filled. We had 4 new learners starting at Stonefields School who we were lacking data on, and we had 2 learners who were away for one or more tests. It's so important to make sure these learners are in the right group, learning the right things, as quickly as possible, so these learners would need to be assessed in the first week back.
What is also so important to remember is the "summer drop off". Not all learners are engaged in rich, stretching activities over summer, or at least academic ones. Many learners who were tested end of year 4 in 2016 won't have read much, or at all, over summer, and therefore made a slip back in their achievement. Testing promptly in term one is key to identify such learners, to make sure interventions can be put in place to.
Now that we have this data I am looking forward to analyzing it with my hub workmates to identify any trends in our learners needs, and also to identify a potential inquiry for me as a teacher in 2017.