Before Becoming the Top Performer in its District, This School Had to Review How Data Was and Wasn’t Shared in PLC Teams.
“…Eventually, we looked at the data reporting our teachers were actually using – and how – during PLC meetings. It turned out most teachers were having a hard time. Getting the data into a usable format transformed our RTI process, and our PLC meetings became meaningful. At last, we saw significant quantifiable improvements in student achievement.”
— Amanda Fontenot, Principal, Lake Arthur High School
PLCs are awash in data from frequent assessments. But how much of these data are actually being used? Principal Amanda Fontenot, whose school is now the top performer in its district, recommends principals survey teachers how what data they actually use and share.
Some key questions to ask your PLCs:
What reports do you print up before your PLC meeting?
Do other members of your PLC bring the same reports?
Does your team leader or coach possess any roll-up data for everybody in the PLC? If not, why not?
Are you tracking standards in your reports?
What information do you wish you had after your PLC meeting?
Lake Arthur High’s RTI Process
The 25-minute RTI period is a daily opportunity to work on specific areas where students need help. To sort students into the proper RTI period class, core and non-core teachers were paired together to work toward one common goal: increase student performance on state testing. Core teachers would create short formative assessments that addressed a specific skill or standard, and their non-core team teacher would administer the exam, grade it, and then create an excel spreadsheet that they would then share with the core teacher.
The RTI Challenge
With six grade levels (7th through 12th) and 412 students, one of the biggest challenges is gathering the needed data each week, then analyzing the data in order to divide the students into groups and plan unique RTI curriculum for each one. The time it took non-core teachers to grade all the formative assessments took too long, and the resulting data still needed to be put into a spreadhseet that was useful to the Core Teachers. Moreover, Core Teachers still had a hard time sharing their data with their department and other grade-level teachers.
Overcoming the Challenge: One Simple Change
To make the RTI process more effective and less time-consuming, Principal Fontenot and her teachers started using Quick Key’s mobile paper quiz grader, Quick Key Mobile for Apple and Android devices. using Quick Key, non-core team teachers could now administer common formative assessments instantly grade them on their mobile devices. Excel reports with all the needed itemization, standards tracking, and mastery data were automatically generated by Quick Key. Data analysis and sharing became much easier, smoothing out the RTI process into something manageable, that could succeed.
Immediate and Long-Term Benefits
Immediately, each teacher saved instructional time, several hours per week of hand-grading and reporting time. Overall, the feeling among teachers and students was that the logistical benefits of using Quick Key made the entire RTI process much more effective. No loss of precious instructional time in a core classroom was lost by having to assess and reteach a skill that 75% of the class had already mastered.
And there was another benefit: Quick Key’s Itemization Report for each quiz made the RTI periods far more effective at addressing students’ academic needs. The reports were also used to guide Lake Arthur’s PLC meetings. From the Quick Key data, core teachers were able to pull only the students who had not mastered the skill or standard into a small group during RTI and provide small group intervention.
Across-the-Board Improvement at Every Level
Quick Key’s benefits were evident in Lake Arthur High’s end-of year testing results, where Proficiency improved across the board:
Louisiana state tests results for 8th grade ELA improved 30%, from 68% of students “Proficient” to 88% “Proficient.”
7th grade ELA Proficiency improved 17.6%
7th grade Math Proficiency improved 4%
8th grade Math Proficiency improved 6.4%
8th grade Science Proficiency improved 2.9%
High School Algebra I Proficiency improved 12%
High School Geometry Proficiency improved 18%
High School Biology Proficiency improved 15%