By: Alisa Louie
We have all of our students’ scores back for the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) they took earlier this spring. In fact, we’ve had the scores back for several weeks. You see, all of our scores were returned within three weeks of the testing date, some even sooner. These scores are not meaningless to the teachers I work with. In my building, we’re using the scores formatively and they’re providing us with valuable information about students.
We’re using these scores to make some of our decisions about summer school offerings. While other factors for offering summer school are considered, we are certainly looking at students’ SBA scores and determining if their deficits would be well-served by the programs we’re offering.
We’re using these scores to inform our instruction. Some students finished testing 7 weeks prior to the end of the school year. All students finished with at least 5 weeks left. 5-7 weeks of a student’s school year cannot be wasted. As teachers, we’re looking at SBA scores and deciding what instruction would best meet our students’ needs. We’re developing lessons and units in math and ELA to ensure our students are going to be ready for the next grade. And then we’re teaching them. This year.
We’re using these scores to examine our own teaching practice. We’re having collaborative conversations, formally and informally, about scores of groups of students. We’re already identifying how we can better serve classes, small groups, and specific students for the remainder of this year and into next year. Teachers are reflecting on their own class data to decide what kind of goals they may want to set for themselves to improve their instruction next year.
We’re using these scores to look at the whole picture of a child. Comparing SBA data with MAPS data, classroom assessment data, teacher observation, DIBELS and more is allowing our team to find the strongest ways to measure student success. We’re able to look for trends and determine the effectiveness of programs and strategies for students.
We’re using these scores. We’re using them in meaningful ways. SBA scores are an important piece of the puzzle.