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Data Collection Project

Jen Swansburg
ED 504
January 30, 2017
Data Collection Project

Process Analysis
The process for accessing information regarding testing was quite easy for me. I knew

exactly who to ask. We have a District Testing Coordinator (DTC) wearing many hats such as

Gifted Coordinator, and support to Curriculum Director. I emailed her asking if we had a

calendar or schedule created for the district that she was allowed to share with me. She

responded within a few hours with two different versions. There was one that was organized by

grade level and the other chronologically. Her response included that having a calendar such as

the one I was requesting was part of her job to have available for teachers, administrators and

other staff members who ask.

For further clarification regarding some of the assessments and grade levels completing

assessments that are not on the district calendar, I asked specific grade level teachers and also

referred to our building Gifted teacher as well as my principal. While I did have the districts

State testing calendar available to me, I focused on the grade levels in my building, or

kindergarten through third grade.

Data Analysis
Looking at the original calendar for testing as it was sent to me by the DTC, it did not

seem like too much. We know there are assessments we have to give throughout the year.

However, when looking closer, the assessments on the calendar are only assessments where

scores are reported to the Ohio Department of Education. They were the major assessments that

determine reporting of on-track or not, promotion, graduation, etc. The calendar did not include

the smaller assessments that we are required to give throughout the year that sometimes

contribute to overall student progress picture, or are assessments we give because we always

have, or assessments that we give because someone at the District Office thinks they are


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Completing the calendar by adding in short-cycle assessments and quarterly assessments

and the other assessments we do within our building or grade level band, the calendar became

overwhelming. The amount of time we are spending on testing and assessing students is quite

breathtaking, especially at the age level for the students we are testing.

The short-cycle assessments are intended to be formative. These assessments should

allow us to know where our students are before we teach the skill so we are able to effectively

instruct. However, as presented, these short-cycle assessments are to be used as short summative

assessments to determine whether the student understood the information just taught in specific

skill areas. According to Battelle for Kids, Formative Instructional Practices (FIP) should be

done in collaboration with the student where feedback allows the student to be able to know what

their weakness or strength is and build upon that foundation (Battelle For Kids, 2016).

In terms of communication with other stakeholders such as parents, the district is slow to

release information. Sometimes, it is because we need to understand the information ourselves

before we release it to the public, but sometimes the belief is that it is not necessary to tell

parents - either because the information is deemed unimportant, or the information is too

confusing and could cause more problems than not by sharing. For example, in releasing MAP

data, there was quite a bit of delay in sharing these results because district administration would

not respond to requests to share with parents. So, many parents did not get information

regarding these results until conferences which took place almost 2 months after the assessment.

In a tipsheet released by the Harvard Family Research Project released in 2013, it is important

for the leader in the building to ensure teachers are comfortable sharing this information, but it is

also important for teachers to maintain data and share results with parents in a timely manner

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(Harvard Family Research Project, 2013).

District Overview

My district, like many others, has been working hard to improve our Ohio report card

scores. Our district services students and families from mostly low income to middle class

families. The entire district has free lunch services to all students, regardless of family income.

Breakfast and lunch is served for free to all interested students. More specifically, my school is

located in a poverty-stricken area of our town. There are currently around 500 students in our

building, servicing only kindergarten through third grades. This is the highest populated

elementary school in the district. We are also the only elementary building servicing students

identified as English Language Learners (ELL).

The testing culture has become more and more encompassing for our building - bringing

our Special Area teachers to help with small intervention groups. Finances are shared evenly, not

necessarily equitably. In Rac(e)ing to Class, by H.Richard Milner IV, he states that it is the

districts responsibility to examine the specific needs inherent to these various neighborhoods

and strive to provide equitable resources (pg. 39-40, 2015). This means that while our

elementary buildings all serve the same community, the neighborhoods within the community

have different needs and therefore, our school has different needs than those of the other two

schools. Our district does offer half-day preschool to all district families.

Due to our current status on our report card with student performance, we are working

diligently to improve our instruction and provide the most effective instruction to our diverse

population. We have quarterly grade level meetings as a district, where we discuss assessments.

This includes, but is not limited to modifying assessments, creation of new assessments, or

planning for the creation of new assessments. This year, we were told we would not have to give

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quarterly assessments as pretests, but then were told we would need to implement short-cycle

assessments and still give posttests each quarter. This actually just took the assessment and

broke it down into smaller chunks and given throughout the quarter versus giving one long test at

the beginning.

The data is shared on a spreadsheet and standards or skills are vaguely addressed as

strengths and weaknesses. Beyond this short discussion, nothing is done in terms of reflection or

next steps. It is up to the teachers professional discretion for how she chooses to use the data

and information.

District Testing Coordinator
Building Principal
Art Teacher (helps support in kindergarten and first grade with RTI interventions)
Third Grade Teacher
AP Government Teacher (also districts teacher union president)

The group, as a whole, looking at the amount of testing we do at each grade level find it

to be developmentally inappropriate. They each acknowledge that all teachers need to monitor

and track student learning, however, constant assessment is unnecessary. What was noted in

many interviews is the fact that because of all the other demands placed on teachers and building

administrators, the data is often not analyzed effectively. Also, teachers noted that the

assessments are not given with fidelity. Meaning, not every teacher administers the assessments

the same way. We found this to be true in third grade when the recent Math Quarter 2

Assessment was administered three different ways because the teachers had to give the

assessment, but were not given any other direction and the district grade level had decided to

alter the curriculum map and the assessment had not been updated to show this change. The

opinion of the group was that so much testing at this young age created a culture that tests were

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more important than learning. The negative impact on student learning can become evident in

such ways as behavior. From an article titled The High-Stakes Testing Culture: How We Got

Here, How We Get Out, Cindy Long states, Parents see kids who are bored, frustrated, and

stressed. At the dinner table, they ask their kids what they did that day, and hear, We had another

test. It was really boring. Parents dont want their kids educated in this manner. (Long, 2014)

In my building, we have not dealt with parents who have opted their student out of testing,

however, this is a growing stance to keep students from being over-tested.


Overall, I do think my building does a fantastic job of assessing, looking at data and

making responsible choices regarding results. We spend two days a week, during planning,

completely devoted to looking at the various assessments we administer. However, we could

certainly improve on how we communicate this information to parents. One other suggestion

from the Harvard tip sheet was to present some of the information at a Data Night for parents.

This would allow them an opportunity to see the assessments or maybe take some practice tests.

We could also share information about the assessments and hopefully answer any concerns

parents have. A concern would be involvement by parents from our community, but this could

also be done at a community area such as the Boys and Girls Club where many of our students

go after school.

It is a little disconcerting to see how much we test students as young as 8 and 9 years old.
Streamlining some of this process would certainly benefit not just the students, but the teachers
as well. Allowing students to have more of a stake in their progress would also benefit our
building as well. Students need to see immediate results and be able to also see growth or
decline so they can take responsibility for learning.

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Battelle For Kids (2017). What is FIP? Retrieved from


Harvard Family Research Project (2013). Tips for administrators, teachers and families: how to
share data effectively. Retrieved from

Long, C. (2014). The high stakes testing culture: how we got here, how we get out. NEA Today.
Retrieved from

Milner, H. R. (2015). Rac(e)ing to class: Confronting poverty and race in schools and
classrooms. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Educational Press.