Overall, I was pleased with our CAASPP results for ELA. With 76% of students meeting or exceeding standards in overall ELA achievement, this is commensurate with similar schools in our District and still leaves much room for growth. In regards to the sub-categories, all scores were within the same range with reading being a relative weakness at 89% at, near, or above the standard. Writing was 91%, Listening 95%, and Research/Inquiry was at 93%. Fourth grade was significantly lower than other grades in overall ELA achievement on this test. Middle School CAASPP results were ever so slightly higher than elementary. This is a change from previous CST results. No conclusions can be made since this is baseline data, but it is certainly interesting.
ELA Benchmark 1 results must be interpreted with caution. While fourth grade scores (at 47%) were again well below the Beechwood average, fourth grade across the district is dramatically lower than the other grade levels with only 33% of fourth grade students demonstrating mastery. This brings up questions regarding curriculum alignment and test reliability and validity. Grade levels with the biggest gain over the District average were 2nd grade and fourth grade. Sixth grade is piloting iReady in place of the Synced Solutions tests, so data is baseline only. Beechwood seventh grade students scored higher than the seventh grade students did last year. The Eighth grade cohort struggled on this assessment and was significantly lower than the District average. Is there a way to compare data between schools that participated in iPersonalize and those who did not for eighth grade?
This year, Beechwood was given permission by Ed Services to pilot the Lucy Calkins prompts and rubrics in place of the FSD Writing Benchmarks. These prompts are not topic specific and allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of each of the three genres. The scoring took a tremendous amount of time. Grades 1-5 are following the Units of Study and recommended amount of writing time per day and demonstrated excellent results with an average in the grade level span of 77% of students scoring a 3 or above. Middle school took a nose dive primarily because their instruction did not match the new writing prompts. The expectations of the Lucy Calkins rubrics are Common Core aligned and are SIGNIFICANTLY more challenging than the District rubric. iPersonalize took a significant amount of time away from actual writing instruction. The lesson learned is that we must be backwards planning, adhering to the Units of Study, and allowing students time to reflect on their own work in relation to the rubrics. Alignment is so key.