The district's ELA scrimmage explained

I wrote a blog last week about the poor results the district received on the ELA scrimmage given in the weeks leading up to Christmas. A couple things you should know. I am not a high school ELA teacher and everything I wrote I got from a somebody who is pretty high up the chain who is also in the classroom teaching our kids. I wrote about what they told me and what they believe is happening.

The district had a different take.

Principals and teachers wanted an assessment that would let them know what students know mid-year based on what was already taught and what students know already based on what was not taught. This allows schools/teachers to reteach standards/benchmarks that students did not fully understand through whole group instruction or through small group, teacher led lessons. It also may allow schools/teachers to cover future content faster if students already demonstrate an understanding of a standard/benchmark before it is taught.

Chris, I (superintendent Vitti) was given a copy of your blog regarding the low proficiency that was produced by the scrimmage and how that somehow demonstrates that the curriculum is faulty or that the district is setting up teachers for failure. Those statements misrepresent the role of the scrimmage and how the data should be interpreted. It is not expected that classrooms and schools demonstrate high levels of proficiency right now based on the scrimmage because not all of the assessed benchmarks/standards have been taught. Instead, the more relevant data comes from the standard/benchmark analysis, which is attached. This allows you to see how students comprehend standards/benchmarks that were taught and not taught.  Low proficiency on the scrimmage does not mean teachers are not teaching or that students are not learning. A review of district assessments that cover standards/benchmarks over the years and those used in other districts will tend to yield lower proficiency rates at the midyear point. The focus is isolated standards, not overall proficiency. The isolated standard/benchmark data can be helpful for not only re-teaching them to students but for teachers at a particular grade level or subject level to share strategies on why one teacher’s performance is stronger than another or to provide additional district or school level assistance (i.e. coach, interventionist, district coach) to students who are performing at significantly lower levels than others.

The scrimmage data is also reviewed in concert with Achieve and iReady data, which provides more information on grade level performance and learning growth in the same area.

So there you have it, teachers wanted the scrimmage, the scrimmage tested several things that hadn't been taught yet and it is to be taken in tandem with Achieve and IReady data to get a fuller picture.


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