This week in the building the conversations have revolved around student data. Looking at the core curriculum and student growth. Data is one of those things that is tricky to look at. As a teacher I am more concerned with students growth and who is needed extra help.
While looking at student data from the past years our school has noticed that our core is not meeting 80% of our students. Last year our third grade team piloted grade level plans which looks at the core curriculum and adjust it to meet 80% of the students needs. This was a success so this year as a school each grade level has come up with a grade level plan to meet students needs.
The fourth grade team has created a grade level plan for literacy skills to meet our students half way. This year fourth grade has become a tricky year. We all have students in our classrooms that are Read to Achieve transitional students, meaning they have not passed third grade literacy curriculum and are not ‘ready’ for fourth grade. So our grade level plan had to meet these standards and fourth grade literacy standards.
While looking through my students data there were a few things that I noticed. Many of my students are labeled ‘below grade level’ but looking far enough back the growth they have made is amazing. My students who are considered transitional have a bigger ‘gap’ to fill, but are willing to work. Our data also shows how our RTI (response to intervention) was not working.
By switching to grade level plans all of our students will have core curriculum that meets their needs and help them grow to be on grade level with grade level content. We will be working with fourth grade material but giving it to students on a level that they can reach. While working on fourth grade skills our reading passages will vary from 3rd grade to 4th grade to allow students a chance for success. Fourth grade also concentrates on fluency.
To my fluency comes afters comprehension. If you cannot understand what you are reading, reading it faster will not help. So for our grade level plan we will not only be focusing on comprehension but adding fluency practice for our students. This way students will be receiving both interventions to help them. Like I said earlier many of our students are transitional, so not only do they need fourth grade content they still need third grade content.
Data is something that makes teaching easier and harder all at the same time. Data helps to drive instruction and let you know where your students stand. But while being a teacher seeing your students make growth is just as important if not more. In my three years of teaching I have also been able to use data to help students create goals and work towards the end goal of grade level. Now in fourth grade I plan on doing the same and allowing students to track their own growth and work towards their final goal of passing the EOG.