Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Post for the week of October 29, 2012

Post for the week of October 29, 2012

Hope everyone made it through Sandy safely!

Let me introduce you to the Writing Standards in Action project! 

http://www.doe.mass.edu/candi/wsa/

For this project, the DESE collected writing samples from around the Commonwealth and then compared them with the new writing standards to develop a way to show how student writing meets the standards.

As a teacher, I frequently wondered "what does good student writing look like at this grade?"  Now we know!

There are even unmarked samples, so you and your teams can look at the student writing together and draw your own conclusions.

Check it out!  Right now, only grade 5 is ready, but much more is to come. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Post for the week of October 22, 2012

Post for the week of October 22, 2012

Now that all the data is out from the spring 2012 administration of MCAS, it's time to analyze the results.  While I think it's possible to over-read the MCAS results (because it's just one to three days over the course of a whole school year, for which you probably have many other formative and summative assessments), it's still very useful to discuss questions students excelled at or missed or left blank.

I'm finding that it's easier than ever to find the data I need.  Under "school/district profiles," there's a lot of free and detailed information to read for each school.

http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/

Now, you don't need an EDW (Educator Data Warehouse) login to see much of the information a school would need to look at their students' performance and work on improvement.

For example, I've put together a sheet that's helping me to take apart every MCAS exam, question by question.  I find that when I have all the info on one sheet, it's saves me the time and frustration of moving from document to document and looking up codes.

On the sheet, I have

Exam (for example, 4th grade ELA)
Passage
Question (cut and pasted out)
Standard the question addresses (under the "assessment" tab, link in the left hand column, "item by item")
Where the standard is in the green book (in case you want to go back to it)
The state's percentage correct
The school's percentage correct
The difference (+ means better than the average, whereas - means below the average)
And the percent of students who left this question blank

Using this outline, I can get a good sense of student performance on every single question.

If you'd like this document, a one-page Word file, drop me an email at aldick@doe.mass.edu.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Post for the week of October 15, 2012

Post for the week of October 15, 2012

Gary Hayes’s Social Media Count


This weekend, I went to a conference sponsored by the National Writing Project, and I heard about this great site—Gary Hayes’sSocial Media Count.  When you go to the link, the clock starts running, and you get a sense of how many of the following events happened since you’ve been on the site:

«  Likes and Comments on Facebook
«  Apple and Android App Downloads
«  Blog Posts Published
«  Tweets sent on Twitter
«  Videos watched on YouTube
«  Google+ Buttons Pressed
«  Photos Uploaded to Facebook
«  Emails Sent
«  And More!

For example, within ten seconds, over 300,000 likes and comments have been made on Facebook!

I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate how important teaching digital literacy is for our learners.  Students are interacting with the world using reading, writing, speaking, and listening in ways we never could have predicted twenty years ago.  The need for instruction on social media and visual media (videos and advertisements) grows more urgent every day. 

Just think of how the need for these new standards (these are from SL grades 11-12) is evident on the site:

1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
a. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
b. Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.
c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
d. Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information
2.  Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data
3.  Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.

In short, the skills emphasized in the Common Core are applicable to both academic life and real life.  Our students are capable of interacting with their worlds so fluidly.  Let’s catch up to them!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Post for the week of October 8, 2012


Post for the week of October 8, 2012

This week, I'm going to share two resources from the DESE Web site that teachers and schools can use to learn more about their data and the new Frameworks. 

First, the DESE Web site has a searchable database of the standards.  You can use it to search the standards by keywords.  This might be useful if you're having a vertical teaming meeting on poetry, for instance.  You can search the standards by "poetry" and then export the results into different formats (Word and Excel).  Having the right standards on the same page can really help facilitate a good discussion about teaching and learning.

http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/search/default.aspx

Next, many people know about the "School/District Profiles" tab at the top of the DESE Web site, but they might not know how useful it is.

http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/

Under the "assessments" tab, there are a lot of useful resources--MCAS performance at each performance level vs. the state (advanced, proficient, needs improvement, warning/failing), annual comparisons (how MCAS achievement has changed over the past few years), and item by item MCAS results (print the test to see which items your students did well on) are just a few of the available options.  Teachers can easily look at their most recent data without access to a more sophisticated database. 

If you read this blog, make sure you check out our data blog too!

http://gbdsacdata.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Post for the week of October 2, 2012

Post for the week of October 2, 2012

As people start to analyze their MCAS results, here's a document that might help.  Figuring out what standard an items refers to takes some time, but it's worth it!  See below.

For example, item #9 on the 2012 Grade 3 Reading test was L.3.04.  This is what it means:

L = Language Anchor Standard
3 = Vocabulary Acqusition and Use
04 = Standard 4

4.     Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning word and phrases based on grade 3 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
a.     Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
b.     Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known affix is added to a known word (e.g., agreeable/disagreeable, comfortable/uncomfortable, care/careless, heat/preheat).
c.     Use a known root word as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word with the same root (e.g., company, companion).
d.             Use glossaries or beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.

See below for how to figure out the middle number in other items.

Cracking The Code in Item Analysis: What does the middle number (cluster) mean?

Each standard code consists of three components separated by periods (e.g., R.1.03):
R, W, or L
Reading, Writing, or Language anchor standard
1, 2, 3, or 4
Cluster (e.g., Key Ideas and Details is cluster 1 for Reading
01–10
Standard number


PRE-K to GRADE 5
Page 13                       Reading Pre-K to 5 (1-4)
1.      Key Ideas and Details
2.      Craft and Structure
3.      Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
4.      Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

Pages 20-21                 Foundational Reading Skills Pre-K to 5 (1-4)
1.      Print Concepts
2.      Phonological Awareness
3.      Phonics and Word Recognition
4.      Fluency

Page 23                       Writing Pre-K to 5 (1-4)
1.      Text Type and Purposes
2.      Production and Distribution of Writing
3.      Research to Build and Present Knowledge
4.      Range of Writing

Page 29                       Speaking and Listening Pre-K to 5 (1-2)
1.      Comprehension and Collaboration
2.      Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Page 33                       Language Pre-K to 5 (1-3)
1.      Conventions of Standard English
2.      Knowledge of Language
3.      Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

GRADES 6-12
Page 47                       Reading 6-12 (1-4)
1.      Key Ideas and Details
2.      Craft and Structure
3.      Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
4.      Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

Page 53                       Writing 6-12 (1-4)
1.      Text Type and Purposes
2.      Production and Distribution of Writing
3.      Research to Build and Present Knowledge
4.      Range of Writing

Page 60                       Speaking and Listening (1-2)
1.      Comprehension and Collaboration
2.      Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Page 64                       Language (1-3)
1.      Conventions of Standard English
2.      Knowledge of Language
3.      Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

LITERACY IN HISTORY/SOCIAL STUDIES, SCIENCE, AND TECHNICAL SUBJECTS 6-12


Page 73                       Reading in the Content Area (1-4)
1.      Key Ideas and Details
2.      Craft and Structure
3.      Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
4.      Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

Page 76                       Writing in the Content Area (1-4)
1.      Text Type and Purposes
2.      Production and Distribution of Writing
3.      Research to Build and Present Knowledge
4.      Range of Writing