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?