The purpose of this assignment is to examine local schools to determine the way that instruction is informed by data. With specific reference to the data categories used to influence writing and reading standards, this research will focus on the Miami-Dade County Schools in Florida. The schools in this county have a commitment to excellence in the areas of language arts. Working with the Department of English Language arts, the Miami-Dade County Public School system aims to promote leadership and support the proactive development of literacy for student engagement and involvement (Languageartsreading.dadeschools.net, 2015).
The three data categories that are used in such a decision making process are related to the administration of a standardized test, the FCAT. One data point is generated from a free form timed essay, that students must complete based on a predetermined prompt. Essays are graded on a numeric scoring system and create a data point for individual student writing aptitude. This category of data is unique from other elements of the test because it requires the free from written response of each student. The second category involved with this assessment is the reading portion. This creates a standardized and multiple choice test that is used for assessment throughout primary, middle and high school. Finally, the third data point of interest in this investigation is the Reading Retake process. Based on the student’s performance in the tenth grade, they may be require to retake the FCAT Reading portion in an altered form. This data point represents the aptitude of students that may have failed the assessment in previous attempts (Fldoe.org, 2015).
Data informed instruction takes place within the school system based on educators evaluating the results of the FCAT test and applying them to the curriculum, resources and procedures of schools at large. There are several processes that the school’s faculty uses to provide data-driven instruction in the areas of reading and writing. The FCAT exam is administered yearly to students and requires skill specific application in various areas of the language arts. Data is collected from standardized reading, comprehension and free form writing samples. These allow students to demonstrate their ability and create progress markers that are used for comparisons throughout the students’ educational career. This specifically influences students in grades four, eight and ten. After receiving scores, a trend analysis, items benchmark analysis and school improvement plan are generated for future development.
The strength of this instruction is associated with data-driven instruction in several ways. Based on the results and performance of students as a group, decisions about test taking and making are often finalized. For example, in 2014 the FCAT writing program was evaluated after three years. The improvements shown amongst students were then characterized based on the ability and comfort level that students had in addressing the desired prompt. Feedback from this analysis period was then used to alter the time of writing sessions as well as the specific prompts that were used (Oada.dadeschools.net, 2015). This process is successful based on recent years reports, because of the ability to adjust and account for differences in student learning by changing the learning environment and guidelines for instruction that teachers may follow.
Data-Driven Instruction is aimed to address certain problems. These have yielded relatively significant results throughout the Miami-Dade County School System. The greatest concern that this will create solutions for is the ability for tests to gauge a students ability and skill set. The feedback and memorandums available on the Miami Dade Public School Website openly discuss the efficacy of testing as well as the potential room for improvement that would make the process more valuable to student development in the future. The main problems that this type of data-driven metrics approaches, is how students can be evaluated on a regular basis and evaluated for placement in applicable programs. Further, budgetary and curriculum decisions are based on collective performances in order to raise the average and amount of attention that students receive throughout their primary education process.
The accompanying chart illustrates the way that three schools use categorized data to make decisions about their reading and writing standards.
Barbara Goleman SHS
Coral Reef SHS
FCAT Writing Sample
Data is used to adjust the delivery of curriculum and instruction, behavior management and allocation of school-based resources.
Develop preparation strategies for students to develop fundamental writing skills and engage in practice for the assessment prior to its administration.
Data is used in analyzing school education standards and in furthering curriculum objectives independent of the district or county requirements.
FCAT Reading Assessment
One strategy used at this school is to implement a summer reading camp for students in the third grade based on district approved and chosen materials.
Promote regular practice in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Further educational resources to build content-rich textual exposure and application to real world events.
Encourages a competency-based curriculum. Data from the results of previous years is used to create standards for educational achievement as well as suggestions for students that may not achieve required scores.
FCAT Reading Retake
Availability of reading coaches and supplementary instruction is based on the scores and need of students to pass the FCAT retake.
Promotes parent involvement and suggests strategies for improving score success. This includes reading different kinds of books, encouraging open communication and the opportunity to defend complex opinions or thoughts.
Uses data and results from students who require retakes to design tutoring and advancement programs. These utilize the available student population to create core curriculum plans that are evaluated on a regular basis to improve student scores and lower the need for retakes.
- Fldoe.org,. (2015). FCAT 2.0 Reading Retake . Retrieved 20 September 2015, from http://www.fldoe.org/accountability/assessments/k-12-student-assessment/fcat2.stml
- Languageartsreading.dadeschools.net,. (2015). English Language Arts (ELA). Retrieved 20 September 2015, from http://languageartsreading.dadeschools.net/
- Oada.dadeschools.net,. (2015). Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Retrieved 20 September 2015, from http://oada.dadeschools.net/FCAT/FCAT.asp