Guiding Questions for Measures of Student Learning Development

San Luis Valley school districts collaborated to create measures of student learning (MSLs) by launching a professional learning community (PLC) where teachers from throughout the district came together to work on common goals. The PLC structure served as a working group to begin developing the MSL system. The following guiding questions were used to facilitate the process:

Gathering of Data Components

  • What components are available?
  • Do the components have a local, state, or national perspective?
  • Do the components represent classroom, school, state, or national level data points?
  • Can comparisons be made with other districts (either in the same geographic area or with the same demographic elements, etc.)?
  • Is there a history of data?
  • Do the components have built-in scales?

Creation of the Data History

  • What does one year look like?
  • What does three years look like?
  • What does five years look like?
  • Are there any trends that can be identified in the data?
  • Are there any natural breaks in the data?
  • Are there anomalies in the data? Can they be explained?

Creation of the Scales

  • What should expected look like?
  • What should the bottom of expected look?
  • Is it realistic to not have equidistant points?
  • Does the bottom of the scale have to start at zero?
  • Does the top of the scale have to max out at the top end point of the assessment?

Additional Data Questions

  • Should all teachers have the same data scales?
    • Probationary vs. nonprobationary.
    • Elementary vs. secondary.
    • Content vs. grade level.
  • Should the data scales be driven by the school improvement plan or district improvement plan?
  • Is less actually more?
    • What is the adequate number of data elements?
    • Can we focus on a subgroup of the student population?
  • What is a legitimate N-count?
  • What are the base requirements needed for local or classroom assessments to be considered legitimate?
  • Should core and noncore teachers have the same data elements?

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