Monday, February 15, 2010

ATI hosted the “Elevating Student Achievement Seminar: Exploring What Works” in Denver, CO on February 3. One of the goals of the seminar was to allow districts to come together to share their experiences in implementing an instructional improvement system (e.g., Galileo). It was clear there are numerous benefits in using data to drive instruction when also tied with professional learning communities. One area in particular is collaborating for student success. An important aspect of collaboration is to improve instructional practices and student achievement based off of assessment results. During collaboration time, teachers and teaching teams use assessment (e.g., benchmark and formative tests) data to evaluate student learning and plan interventions as a group when they find students are not learning the standard or excelling. Collaboration time also allows teachers to share ideas for instructional improvement. Many feel this is the most beneficial part of collaboration, exchanging methodology, sharing materials and discussing the assessment results. This often leads to best practices conversations. This time is often built into the daily/weekly schedules of teachers, specialists and school improvement coaches.

Below are additional benefits that were discussed in the seminar regarding collaborating for student achievement:

  • Creates a student-centered learning environment focused on standards and achievement.
  • Fosters analysis of student work/test results for common misconceptions.
  • Increases the opportunities for students to receive consistent terminology, learning strategies and familiarity with the state standards.
  • Allows students to gain access to the strengths of all teachers.
  • Improves teacher understanding of student weaknesses.
  • Creates a district-wide culture on promoting student achievement.

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