Covid-19, NTI, and School Data Needs, Part 2: Grade Level Status

As schools and teachers focus on content coverage and test scores, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the real job of schools is to build confident and competent learners and confident and proficient performers. In the school data collection at the beginning of the first and the second semester, developing a profile on students that informs decisions about where to start instruction and what supports students will need to make grade level progress as learners and performers as a critical planning exercise.

For students to reach their potential as learner and performer, they need to own or develop characteristics that are associated with “smart students”. A student that is truly “ready” for the Calibrating Period can be described and school and teacher plans need to reflect their charge to build proficient performers who can make successful transitions to the next level. The chart below indicates the growth of student proficiencies through the grades

ED has dealt with this in our books, our tool kits, in our blogs and regularly on our website. A quick summary for determining student readiness for the Calibrating Period includes

Characteristics of Proficient Students – Progression

CharacteristicEnd of Grade 2End of grade 5Grade 6 and above
Regular and prompt attendanceBegins to take responsibility for getting ready for school.Takes responsibility for getting ready for school and getting to school on time.Accept responsibility getting ready for school and getting to school on time.
Active, engaged listening/readingPays attention when addressed and follows instructions.Engages in active listening and seeks clarity and provides feedback when appropriate.Is an active, critical listener who seeks clarity and detail and provides both short-term and long-term feedback.
Independent learningWorks independently with a peer group and learning situations.Can work independently as learner and performer but may need teacher prompt or monitoring support.Can learn by working independently, in small groups are in whole class situations. Takes responsibility for learning.
Attention or engagement controlCan control attention for at least five minutes and stay highly engaged in tasks for the same length of time.Can stay attentive or engaged for at least 15 minutes and refocus if pulled off task.Can stay attentive or engaged for at least 30 minutes and can refocus if pulled off task. Can control the level of engagement based on the complexity of the task.
Prioritizes critical learningsCan identify what the teacher thinks is important and respond to teacher emphasis are focusing activity.Can identify critical learnings and important details using oral, visual and text cues.Identifies critical learnings, important details and relationships using teacher or text cues or independent analysis of importance.
Can Work independently from long term memoryIs beginning to work from long term memory but may still be teacher dependent to pull content knowledge from long term memory.Can work independent of the teacher if the work is in the student’s comfort zone. At the end of grade 3/5 student must be able to work from long term memory and the level consistent with the assessment.Can work without teacher presence or teacher prompt to access long-term memory and use learning in high level, complex tasks.
Communicates using Critical content vocabularyCan communicate with the initial critical vocabulary of the reading and math.Can communicate with discipline specific language if prompted but prefers informal register. The formal register will be required on the test.All school related communication involves content appropriate vocabulary in formal register.
Understands Operational vocabulary and plans complete responsesCan understand tasks and follow thinking processes through at least three steps.Understands tasks and operations require specific steps in planning and has strategies for determining what’s required for proficiency and then working to that level.Unpacks directions, identifies tasks needed for completion in the rubric for proficiency and plans a proficient response.
Format mastery   Has mastered short response, multiple choice and initial electronic assessment formats.Has mastered short response, open response, electronic, multiple choice and other assessment types as found on the state assessment.Has mastered short response, open response, electronic, multiple choice and other assessment types as found on the state assessment.
Critical reading  Is primarily a recreational reader but should have a perception of reading to learn in reading to respond?Emerges as a critical or strategic reader who understands how to read to perform a task.Reads critically and purposefully to learn or acquire data for problem-solving and decision-making.
Varies reading rate according to purposeExhibits grade level speed in recreational reading.Reads critically at a rate consistent with the expectations of the state assessments.Reads critically at a rate consistent with the expectations of the state assessments.
Critical thinking  Can solve simple problems and follow one, two or three step thinking problems. Can learn to respond in an SRE pattern.Can solve problems, make decisions, and draw conclusions requiring up to five thinking steps and can respond orally or in writing in an SRE pattern.Can solve problems, make decisions, and draw conclusions requiring up to seven thinking steps and can respond orally or in writing in an SRE pattern.
Critical writing  Can explain a thought or solution and provide a reason and evidence.Can communicate thinking, decisions or solutions to a problem clearly and in a logical order.Can communicate thinking, decisions, solutions, or reactions to data clearly, using appropriate vocabulary and logic.
Engagement experienceCan identify work they have done successfully at the level of the assessment.Identifies assessment level work and determines if the work he or she produced is proficient.Identifies assessment level work, determines proficiency, and revises to proficiency if needed.
Appropriate attitudesUnderstands best effort and can give best effort to learning work and assessment work.Gives best effort in learning and assessment work. Accepts challenges and takes academic risks.Accepts difficult challenges, takes academic risks, and seeks personal best. Frequently identifies alternative or tangential applications.
Perception of proficiencyUnderstand what grade level proficient work looks like and how to produce it.Identifies his or her work as proficient, identifies what’s wrong if it is not proficient and corrects the work.Understands proficiency and seeks to produce proficient work. Seeks support or assistance to increase the level of performance.
Self-evaluation and revision to proficiencyRegularly checks work to make sure it is correct, and revises work if prompted.Checks work without teacher prompt and revises to proficiency. Seeks support if needed.Independently checks work, identifies flaws, and refines product to proficiency. Seeks instruction or direction if needed.
Completes tasks assigned in classFollows most reading and math work through to conclusion.Completes school tasks in a timely fashion with a focus completing all the parts of the task.Completes school tasks and reviews work to ensure all parts of a task or completed proficiently.

These characteristics include cognitive, social and emotional competencies that support student learning and performing. The lack of any one of these can have a negative impact on student performance on assessments or in making a successful transitions. The more the student lacks the greater the distance between their potential and their actual performance will be. As schools move into the second semester it is not enough to say the student is just not a “good” student and move on. To prepare students for and during the calibrating period, teachers must know why they are not a good student – what characteristics do they not exhibit? – And they must provide experiences that develop those characteristics in all students. In a standards-based world there are no “throwaway” students. The expectation is that all students can and will learn and perform at the levels established by the standards.

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