Teaching is the Core Grant work continues
Voorheesville CSD has been working to implement the action plan developed through the Teaching is the Core (TiTC) grant, a $399,946 grant from the New York State Education Department that aims to support improvement of assessment practices in regional schools. Through the grant, a consortium of 12 districts, led by Capital Region BOCES, is collaborating with Learner-Centered Initiatives consulting group to review and improve testing practices in participating districts.
District teams have conducted reviews of current district assessments, learned to develop high-quality assessments and scoring rubrics and created action plans to begin to implement improved testing practices. Information about this process can be found here.
Later in the month, consultants from eDoctrina met with district teams to review the capabilities and use of the software system, which can be used to streamline curriculum planning and learning goals, support meaningful analysis of student assessment data and implementation of targeted interventions.
All consortium districts, including Voorheesville Central School District, met individually with LCI consultants in early May to review and strengthen the district action plan. In June, districts will collaborate through peer review sessions to share feedback on plans and address challenges and successes of putting them into action.
Ongoing professional development will continue throughout the month of June, including further exploration of scoring rubric design and the creation of multiple choice questions that meaningfully assess student learning.
The TiTC grant period concludes June 30; however, the knowledge gained through the grant will allow Voorheesville to sustain the ongoing review and improvement of testing practices to strengthen instruction and student learning.
For more information on high quality assessment, please visit our PowerPoint presentation.
During the first four months of the 2014-15 school year, the district assessment team (comprised of elementary, middle school, high school teachers as well as the Director of Curriculum and high school principal), collected and analyzed district assessment artifacts through the lens of specific Data Analysis protocols. These protocols, developed by Learner-Centered Initiatives, who delivered the training, assist the team in answering the essential question “Are we measuring what matters?” Through this training, the assessment review team has gained knowledge about effective assessments, developed rating criteria to guide an audit of existing assessments, used those criteria to examine current practices and identified assessments to maintain, eliminate, modify or create based on those evaluations.
"The assessment review process has given participants an opportunity to take a close look at assessments in the district and consider how their current systems can be improved to better inform instruction and reflect student learning,” said Kim Nugent, Capital Region BOCES data-driven instruction coach.
In the next phase of the grant program, the district team will collaborate with LCI and through peer networks with other district assessment review teams to develop and implement an action plan for strengthening assessment practices. By exploring diverse assessment techniques and best assessment practices, the consortium aims to foster educator networking and the establishment of a process that can be replicated with other assessments in future years.
After the rush of the winter holidays, most people think of January as a time to slow down. Nothing could be further from the truth in Voorheesville! The first month of the calendar year has brought with it many opportunities for our teachers to meet, reflect and collaborate on their craft.
In the first quarter of the school year, teachers met by grade level or department to review state assessment data and analyze the results. In the elementary and middle schools, Mrs. Conroy shared reports generated by BOCES that revealed student performance on released questions from the 3-8 exams. In the high school, the Department Chairs worked with teachers and demonstrated the analysis capabilities of “DataMate,” an online software program that houses district Regents results. In response to the analysis, teachers created grade level goals and action steps.
Elementary and Middle School students will take a benchmark assessment mid-year so that teachers can check the progress students are making on Common Core standards. “Not only is this is a great way for teachers to see the growth made towards their grade level goals, but it will also be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of individual students in their classroom," explained Mrs. Conroy. "From there informed instruction can be planned for the class and differentiated for individual students.”
Voorheesville Awarded Grant
Jen Borgioli, a consultant with Learner
Centered Initiatives, is facilitating
the review process. The grant is intended to help districts minimize
unnecessary assessment and and provide training on best practices for developing high quality
“We are very excited about the opportunity to look at assessment practices throughout the entire district. Our review team includes teachers from each building at various grade levels and content areas,” said Karen Conroy, Director of Curriculum. “Eventually, these leaders will be able help train other teachers in the district on these best practices.”