Towards Partnerships for Student Success: Teacher Collaboration in Data Analysis and Common Formative Assessment Systems

Towards Partnerships for Student Success: Teacher Collaboration in Data Analysis and Common Formative Assessment Systems

Lynn H. Irwin (Auburn University, USA) and Ellen H. Reames (Auburn University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3188-3.ch008
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Abstract

This case study project demonstrated the power of teachers partnering with one another in a collaborative manner in an effort to increase student reading readiness. These collaborative partnerships created a new way of thinking about analyzing student reading data. One of the important outcomes was the creation of a common formative assessment system that was used throughout the school. A second outcome was the significant increase in student reading scores. A third outcome was the significant improvement in school culture during the implementation of this change project. All outcomes exemplified how schools can embrace change and make positive strides towards increasing student success and successfully strengthen collaborative cultures and learning partnerships through data use.
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Introduction

This story began at Angel Primary School, a Department of Defense (DoDEA) educational facility located in the southeastern United States. DoDEA schools, like Angel Primary, are located on military instillations throughout the United States and abroad and serve the children of active duty personnel. Angel Primary School is a Pre-Kindergarten through First Grade school; therefore, this study was conducted with teachers and students within those grade levels. This case study project demonstrated the power of teachers partnering with one another in an effort to increase student reading readiness. These collaborative partnerships created a new way of thinking about analyzing student reading data. One of the important outcomes was the creation of a common formative assessment (CFA) system that was used throughout the school. A second outcome was the significant increase in student reading scores. Finally, there was significant evidence that the school culture became more collaborative through the process. The three outcomes exemplified how schools can embrace change and make positive strides towards increasing student success through data use.

The purpose of this chapter is to:

  • Describe to steps taken by one primary school to develop and implement a CFA system school-wide in response to an AdvancEd Required Action; and,

  • Describe the role of a newly formed Professional Learning Community (PLC) in the development and implementation of the CFA system.

Angel Primary School began its journey towards collaborative data analysis and using the CFA system during its 2012-2013 Quality Assurance Review (QAR) and AdvanceEd visit. The purpose of the QAR was to evaluate the school’s adherence to the AdvancEd continuous school improvement standards, review performance results, and determine how these data results could be used to inform school-based improvement efforts. At the conclusion of the QAR/AdvancEd review, Angel Primary received two commendations and received full accreditation. However, the QAR/AdvancEd team did identify a required action:

Collaborate as Professional Learning Communities to implement a systematic process to analyze data for the purpose of identifying new interventions and future goals. Use research-based best practices to increase rigor and student engagement. The team noted that the school currently provides staff development time that could focus on selecting assessment measures that are valid and reliable and then analyzing the test results; however, there isn’t adequate evidence that collaboration of this type is occurring. The school must develop and implement a plan to collaborate as teams both vertically and horizontally. Formative and summative assessments should be administered with fidelity and consistency by all staff to ensure that the results are comparable and objective. As needs are identified, based on student performance, it will be necessary to match appropriate interventions to the expected achievement outcome. Ensure that designated learning time is utilized to the fullest extent. Emphasize maximum use of instructional minutes on a daily basis (AdvancEd Report of Quality Assurance Review, 2011, p. 6–7).

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