Much of the work we do at Demonstrated Success relates to curriculum development. In order to develop or enhance curricula, administrators and teachers need to understand where they are in relation to their goals/standards. It’s very similar to mapping out a vacation.
Very often, even though goals are written and read, they aren’t understood to a depth that is necessary to teach. When districts use a pre-written math, reading or writing program, teachers can follow the program without full comprehension of the goals. A deep dive into understanding these goals will greatly enhance the experience and learning for students. At Demonstrated Success we have worked with many schools and districts across New Hampshire to increase teachers’ knowledge of both Math and ELA standards.
For example, we partnered with one NH school and determined that teachers were excellent at collecting and analyzing assessment data. They worked hard to make changes to instruction based on the assessment data they were using. Although this effort resulted in higher local assessment scores, it did not translate into higher state testing scores as one would expect. What was going on?
After reviewing their data, assessments and standards knowledge, we determined that teachers needed to understand the New Hampshire College and Career Ready Standards (NHCCRS) on a deeper level, and their current local assessments needed to change to be more in line with these standards.
Although the current assessments covered many of the targeted skills, the depth of knowledge in items needed to be adjusted to accurately assess students’ full understanding of associated standards. We worked with grade level teachers to first build deeper understanding of the associated standards, so they were able to rework their assessments for greater rigor. Not only did the assessments become a more accurate reflection of students' knowledge of the standards, the results also became a more accurate predictor of success on the state assessment. This effort also increased the teachers’ knowledge of what needed to be taught along with improved teaching strategies, which strengthened instructional capacity throughout the building.
Through Demonstrated Success’ professional development, the support of teachers and engagement of students, scores on the state assessments increased. This school did an about- face and went from the lowest scoring school to the top scoring school in the district.