• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Leadership Conversation - BSD

Page history last edited by Bill 8 years, 5 months ago

What Can Coaching and Assessment Look Like in a PLC?


Direct link to these resources:  http://bit.ly/BSDLeadershipApril15 


One of the immediate goals of the Burlington School District is to see assessment used in more meaningful ways in professional learning communities.  A new potential resource for supporting this goal is the new interventionist positions approved in the recent budget.  In this workshop, session presenter Bill Ferriter will faciliate a conversation between district level leaders and support staffers on both the role that new interventionists can play in supporting learning teams and the characteristics of assessment practices that can actually have an impact on student learning.  



Slides for Today's Workshop

Slides - BSDLeadershipApril15 (pdf)


This link connects to a PDF version of the slides for today's session.  Participants who enjoy following along with the slides during a presentation may want to keep this file open on their desktop during today's workshop.



Handouts for Today's Workshop 

Handouts - BSDLeadershipApril15 (pdf)

Handouts - BSDLeadershipApril15 (doc)


This link connects to a PDF version of every handout that participants will explore during this workshop.  It is HIGHLY recommended that participants print a hard-copy of this file out to use during our time together.  While every handout is posted electronically in this session wiki, navigating the hard-copy can be easier than navigating the wiki for many participants.


*Note: Session presenter Bill Ferriter has converted the complete session handouts into a Word Doc to make it easier for participants to edit files as needed.  Be aware, however, that converting from PDF to DOC is not a perfect process.  Some files may need some formatting before they are usable. 



Relevant Readings on Coaching and Data in PLCs


While there are literally millions of resources on the role that coaching and data can play in PLCs, the following four readings may be particularly relevant to the Burlington School District.


Instructional Coaching Report - Cambridge (MA) School System :  In an effort to maximize the role that instructional coaches can play in professional learning communities, the Cambridge Public School System -- which shares similar demographics to the Burlington School District -- commissioned a study of the work currently being done in their district.  This link connects to the executive summary of that study, which includes several interesting recommendations about the role that instructional coaches can play in PLCs.


Promoting Data Use in the Classroom : The Burlington School District might also find this research report from the New America Foundation interesting.  It summarizes two statewide efforts to make data use a more common part of classroom practices -- one from Oregon and one from Delaware.  Perhaps most importantly, it details the process used to interview, hire and train coaches responsible for supporting data conversations in professional learning communities.


Data is More Than a Number:   This blog entry from Solution Tree Assessment Expert Chris Jakicic details a simple process for making data conversations in professional learning communities more productive.


Data - A Principal and Coach's Role :  This blog entry from educational consultant Steve Barkley gives some solid suggestions for making data use more common and approachable in professional learning communities.  It includes interesting notions about data walls -- a practice that many school districts interested in data believe in.  



Getting Started with Assessment


Supporting the  meaningful use of data in professional learning communities depends first on surveying the role that data is currently playing in professional learning communities and then making ongoing common formative assessment approachable for professional learning teams.  The following resources can help leaders to address both of those core behaviors.  



Surveying Your Current Assessment Reality

Handouts - PDF


One of the core practices in classrooms where students make the most learning gains is formative assessment.  Bob Marzano's research has shown that timely and directive feedback is the second most important school-level factor for improving student achievement.  John Hattie argues that "the simplest prescription for improving education must be dollops of feedback."  And Mike Mattos believes that until we get to a point where mastery is tracked by student and standard, we have no real chance of effectively intervening on behalf of struggling students.  Use the survey linked above -- which was developed by Solution Tree assessment expert Kim Bailey -- to reflect on the current state of the formative assessment practices in your building.  


Additional questions to consider:


  • How frequently are students in your classroom/school given timely and directive feedback about their progress towards mastering essential skills?  What are the challenges that make providing timely and directive feedback to students difficult in your classroom/school? 
  • How effectively are teachers tracking progress towards mastery of essential skills by student and by standard in your school?  What are the challenges that make tracking progress by student and standard difficult in your classroom/school?
  • Are teachers on your learning team or in your school generally open to the notion of formative assessment?  If giving timely and directive feedback was doable, would teachers embrace the practice? 



Tracking Student Progress with Digital Tools


The simplest truth about using assessment data to drive change on professional learning teams is that it is difficult work.  The main challenge isn't philosophical, however.  Instead, the main challenge is practical:  Teachers struggle to collect, record and report on student progress in the moment.  Fortunately, digital tools can support teachers who are working to respond to formative learning data.  Here are three tools that session presenter Bill Ferriter believes in:


Mastery Connect



Developed by a team of former educators, Mastery Connect's goal is to make formative assessment -- measuring progress by student and by standard in a timely fashion -- doable.  The free version of the tool allows teachers to create, administer, score, record and report the results of 10 question assessments that are tied either to state standards or to the Common Core in minutes using nothing more than the webcam of your computer.  In this activity, session presenter Bill Ferriter will introduce participants to the role that Mastery Connect is playing to redefine his assessment practices.






Socrative – a stand-alone service that is also owned by and accessible through MasteryConnect – is designed to make in-the-moment formative assessment doable.  Teachers can ask a range of different kinds of questions – true/false, short answer, multiple choice – instantly and easily in the middle of a lesson.  Students can respond to these questions through any internet connected device – tablets, phones, computers – using browsers or dedicated apps.  Responses can be shared with the class or kept private depending on a teacher's intentions for individual assessments.  Assessment results can also be downloaded or saved for later viewing.  Finally, assessments created by individual teachers can be shared with others easily.






Like both Mastery Connect and Socrative, Plickers makes in the moment formative assessment possible.  Teachers can ask their classes true/false and multiple choice questions and then collect and record student responses to those questions instantly.  Plickers also makes it possible for users to generate reports and track individual student responses.  What makes Plickers unique, however, is that it does not depend on students having access to digital devices.  Instead, students are given pieces of paper with a single graphic on it.  To respond, they hold the graphic up in a specific way.  Teachers then "collect" responses by using the camera of their smartphones.  That makes Plickers a valuable tool for formative assessment in schools with limited access to technology. 




Looking at Assessment Data Together


To lessen the inter- and intra-personal issues of looking at student data together, teams must develop a clear process for conducting data review meetings.  Without a clear process for looking at data together, data meetings can become unsafe places where teachers unfairly judge one another based on the results that students are producing on common assessments.  Nothing can hurt the long-term health of a learning team more than meetings where people forget that looking at data is designed to help teams make judgments about instructional practices -- not people -- with one another.  In this portion of the workshop, participants will look at two different templates for structuring data conversations and decide which would best support their current work.  



Exploring Data Analysis Tools and Tricks

Data Meeting Template 

Protocol for Data Meeting

Structuring Team Data Conversations 


Assessment experts Kim Bailey and Chris Jakicic have put together a simple template and protocol for conducting data meetings that can help teams to talk about results in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, and session presenter Bill Ferriter has put together a Structuring Team Data Conversations document that works to guide teams to the same end.  Review these documents to see if they could play any role in the work that you do with collaborative peers.


Questions to consider:


  • Do your learning teams currently have tools and/or practices in place to guide their conversations about student learning data?  How is that influencing -- either positively or negatively -- the work that they do on behalf of students?
  • What is it that you like the best about both data conversation templates?  Which data conversation template is likely to be the right starting point for your learning team?  Why?  
  • If you were to make changes to either of these data conversation templates, what would those changes be?  Why would those changes be important for your teachers and your learning teams?  



Two Great Data and Assessment Resources


Most of session presenter Bill Ferriter's data and assessment knowledge has been informed by the work of assessment experts Nancy Love, Chris Jakicic and Kim Bailey.  Love, Jakicic and Bailey have all developed incredibly approachable resources, protocols and practices for using assessments to inform practice.  The following books provide great starting points for thinking about the role that data and assessment can play in PLCs: 


Common Formative Assessment



No single book has been more influential in shaping Bill's thinking about assessment in a PLC than this title written by Chris Jakicic and Kim Bailey.  Not only do Bailey and Jakicic use Common Formative Assessment to detail the steps that responsible learning teams can take to integrate assessment into their collaborative work, then debunk the all-too-common notion that assessments have to be complicated documents that cover multiple questions and standards.  Their goal is to get teams to see assessments as quick tools that are developed by individual learning teams, delivered weekly or bi-weekly, and used to drive action immediately.  



Data Coach's Guide to Improving Learning for All Students



One of the most resource rich tools for supporting the work of data coaches working in professional learning communities is Nancy Love's Data Coach's Guide to Improving Learning for All Students.  Drawing from Nancy's long history in supporting teams interested in using data to inform their practice, this book lays out a specific process that can be used to structure data conversations.  While it is an incredibly comprehensive book that can feel overwhelming at times, there are TONS of protocols designed to help data coaches facilitate healthy data-based conversations in school buildings.  It's often the first resource that Bill Ferriter turns to when helping data coaches figure out their role in learning communities.  



Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.