Yesterday, educational officers from around the State gathered at the Convention Center for our Educational Leadership Institute. The timing was perfect to celebrate the results from last year's statewide assessment which showed gains in both reading and math. While we are pleased with the overall performance of our students, we continue to move ahead at a fast pace to implement the Race to the Top components including teacher and principal evaluations, the statewide implementation of Data Teams, and a new initiative based on Colorado's Growth Model which measures progress over time and gives an indication of whether students will be proficient in three years or by the eighth grade based on their annual performance on the Hawaii State Assessment.
Today, we had a training session to build our understanding of the Growth Model. I think it's great that there is a tool now to help us track data. These past few years, we've been creating our own spreadsheets and meticulously tracking students on the Hawaii State Assessment so we could target those students who had not yet met proficiency. Generally speaking, this tracking paid off, and with the extra assistance we provided through tutoring or extra support in the classroom, many of the students did improve their scores on the HSA.
However, I do have some questions. Can we implement project-based learning which embed the 4C's of 21st Century Learning while collecting the kinds of data we need to analyze as part of the Data Teams process? As we examine student growth data, what are the instructional strategies which enable non-proficient students to make more-than-one-year gains to get them on-track to meet proficiency? How can we share information about the Growth Model with parents so that working together, our students can catch up or keep up? And finally, will there be a similar growth model tool for the lower grade levels so we can see whether students are on track to be reading and computing fluently by the end of third grade?
Next week, a new school year begins. How can we introduce this growth model to our school community so it makes sense and leads to improved teaching and learning?