Contributed by Audrey Shemesh
Let’s go Data Mining! I want to share with you what we are doing in my county and hope that it will be as helpful for you as it has been for me.
I am a K-5 ESL teacher in Western NC. I have just completed my 3rd year in this role after teaching regular education for 10 years (Grades 2, 3, 4). Last year, I served about 40 students (K-5); 75% as an ESL Teacher, and 25% as a Tier (MTSS) Intervention Title 1 support instructor.
Our ESL department is strongly supported by our director. After each teacher was provided with her/his school’s ACCESS scores, we were given the following document of questions from the director :
For each grade level, answer the following questions…
What is your percentage of students who met ESSA Growth?
(See ELP Progress Value Table*).
What instructional practices produced this result at the grade level?
What outside (macro) factors need to be considered?
What is a possible action plan?
Next, the team of ESL teachers got down to serious soul searching. We spent about 1 hour analyzing the data and reflecting on our practices with students. We talked about what we needed to emphasize more next year, such as introducing some GLAD methods with our students. We also discussed the need for explicit test preparation and planned to meet in the fall to decide how and when this instruction will take place. In my opinion, the teacher data discussion time was extremely helpful.
After our meeting, I shared this report with my administrators, including the instructional coach. While all of this information was fresh in my mind, I also created an individual WIDA “Can Do” report for ELs who needed additional support. This way students’ plans are ready to go in the fall.
Furthermore, I filled out a WIDA Can Do Descriptors Name Chart with the roster of ELs in each class. I met with each content teacher so she/he was aware of which students were ELs, along with the EL classroom modifications and accommodations based on ACCESS data. Then, I put this information straight into ELLevation and shared a copy of the Can Do Descriptors with my administrators and Instructional Coach. In addition, whenever we get new students, I update my WIDA Can Do Descriptors Name Chart, as well as create an individual student plan for each new EL.
My sample is provided here:
These are the notes and generalizations I made as I was reviewing the scores. Since I am the only ESL teacher in my school, I collaborated with a teacher from another school whose EL numbers are similar to mine.
This list includes some of the options we could think about as we make our action plans for next year.
- Professional Learning Community collaboration
- Co-teaching with planning
- Did ESL instruction align with classroom instruction? (preview and/or deepening support)
- Systematic and sequential (RS , Language for Learning)?
- And Intervention/ Enrichment block?
- Master schedule?
- Native Language support?
- English Language Development in the classroom?
- Was there ELD goal setting?
- Families as Assets?
- Teaching the domains vs teaching “the language of”
- How did I evaluate the kids?
- Stepping up to English Proficiency
This process really forced me to reflect deeply about each child, grade level, and school. It gave me an additional layer of accountability to my director, the principals, and ultimately to myself. The data analysis helped me talk to my principal about groupings, co-teaching, and even the need for some GLAD P.D. for our faculty! Self-reflection and program examination, on paper, definitely leads to better teaching. I give myself a B+; next year I plan on achieving more!
*Taken from NCDPI, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Amendments submitted to the USED on February 3, 2019.