PowerSchool Performance Matters is a powerful assessment tool to help identify and address educational gaps
It’s been a difficult spring and summer in K-12 education, and now educators across the U.S. are all trying to deal with an unprecedented potential learning loss, also known as the “COVID Slide.” According to NWEA research, students returning in fall 2020 made only 70% of the learning gains in reading and 50% of gains in math relative to a typical school year.1
Through all of the challenges, any path forward is going to require that we use all the student data we have to make sound decisions on student placement. PowerSchool, with products to provide K-12 data analytics and insights, is here to support schools and districts with help for what you’re going through, whether it’s back-to-school planning or keeping the learning going throughout this school year and beyond. PowerSchool Performance Matters, an assessment tool to help you identify and address educational gaps, can support educators in decision making.
This fall, data analysis and professional learning will be critical in developing a plan to support teachers and others in making decisions and creating strategies around student placement, instructional on-the-fly modifications, and identifying students for remediation, intervention, and even small group instruction. The use of data tied to professional learning is vital to ensure students experience the right instructional program from the beginning of the school year (whether it’s within the COVID-19 pandemic or any other return from a summer off from education).
Professional Learning: Using Data to Guide Instruction to Address the COVID Slide
Alongside reports, professional learning around the use of data should be in place. Your professional learning platform and learning management system (LMS) should share data to deliver this professional development.
When delivering professional learning around the use of data, it’s important to consider the following actions:
- Choosing the right data to interpret. Ensure that teachers, counselors, and others have a solid understanding of what data to use for decision-making. An example is thinking of how they may weigh data, so some things are more important than others, based on who developed a particular assessment.
- Navigating changes in instruction. Provide teachers the professional learning that supports their ability to make multiple changes in strategies for both on-grade level and off-grade level content.
- Evaluating curriculum and programming options. Consider professional learning on how to assess curricular resources for very specific purposes. For example, how do you use a particular curricular resource for interventions? And how do you use that same curricular resource for small group instruction?
Why Connected Data is Important to K-12 Success
Learning how unifying your K-12 data can deliver insights, inform decisions, and improve student success.
Assessment as a Decision-making Tool
Flexibility and adaptability to address all student situations this fall will be critical. Some students adapted very well to the new environment while we know others will need continued support because of the unusual spring term. Being able to navigate within the data that’s available will go a long way to supporting students where they are, but more importantly, getting them to where they have the greatest opportunities to move forward.
We can think of a progression of using data along a continuum as follows:
- First, professionally develop your data users (teachers, counselors, administrators) on how to choose and use the data that answers the questions you have.
- Next, consider the programming and curriculum you expose students to. For example, are there currently gaps in your curriculum that you need to fill with a new purchase or redevelopment of an existing curriculum?
- Finally, consider the modification and placement of instructional strategies that you can use in the classroom to help students move forward.
PowerSchool Performance Matters is a readymade tool that provides necessary data in all three areas—empowering us to make decisions. Educators can identify gaps through a good standards review process, use data for placement by examining some scores collected over the course of the year, and deliver professional learning through other PowerSchool products, like PowerSchool Unified Talent™ Professional Learning, and also as a live-action case study in using data in the Performance Matters platform.
Guiding Decisions to View Learning Loss: Report Features
Performance Matters supports decision making by providing several reports that identify gaps in competency and are critical to making the right instructional decisions in the upcoming school year.
- Student Item Analysis—This is a detailed review by standard and item for each student, which is valuable for evaluating classrooms in how well the students master or gain proficiency against standards. This is the most significant report for teachers to get student-level information.
- Comparative Results Report—Gives an overview of progress of schools and classes against key standards. With this report, you can see how individual teachers helped their students gain proficiency against specific standards. It enables teachers to collaborate on a school level and share strategies they used or would have used in helping support student learning against standards. This report informs bigger picture needs around how to supplement your instructional or curriculum program.
- Baseball Card Report—A favorite with educators because it’s the most customizable to unique needs. You can zero in on specific standards, building the report with those standards as well as other overall scores from additional standards that might be relevant in answering key questions. The Baseball Card report allows multiple measures to be positioned alongside one another and gives you the broadest view at the student level.
- Scoreboard Report—At the district level, this report is especially useful in informing how schools need intensive support or additional resources. We can see the performance of students in individual schools compared to students in other schools and identify areas of concern and provide extra resources within the district. Multiple measures can be positioned for the full story of performance.
- Archive Report—Performance Matters also provides a snapshot of your site and student performance over the course of this school year. This is available once your site rolls into summer, so you have access to see exactly what occurred during this school year as you make decisions in the fall. You can go back to this year’s assessments by student, and see the historical Student Detail report, which has the powerful standards reporting by student available within it.
This fall and beyond, districts can use multiple tactics to close the COVID-19 instructional gap. But to fill the data gap, a complete edtech solution for classroom activities, common assessments, and district-wide analytics is needed. Performance Matters and other PowerSchool tools are prepared to support educators in answering and responding to the various needs of instruction, curriculum, and professional learning to fill in the data gap.
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1NWEA Research, The COVID-19 slide: What summer learning loss can tell us about the potential impact of school closures on student academic achievement, April 2020
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