Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What Constitutes an Effective, Research-Based Instructional Improvement System?

The question above is the million, or perhaps more appropriately, the multi-million dollar question inherent in effectively responding to one of the key areas of education reform called for in the Race to the Top (RTTT) Application for Phase 2 Funding CFDA Number: 84.395A. Fact of the matter is, the use of local, technology-based instructional improvement systems that measure student growth and successes and that inform teachers and principals about how to improve instruction is rapidly becoming an integral part of the educational landscape and a growing necessity for school districts in order to accomplish their goals in meeting local, state, and federal requirements for elevating student achievement.

According the Phase 2 RTTT application, “instructional improvement systems are technology-based tools and other strategies that provide teachers, principals, and administrators with meaningful support and actionable data to systemically manage continuous instructional improvement, including such activities as: instructional planning; gathering information through formative assessments, interim assessments, summative assessments, and looking at student work and other student data; analyzing information with the support of rapid-time reporting, using this information to inform decisions on appropriate next instructional steps, and evaluating the effectiveness of the actions taken. Such systems promote collaborative problem-solving and action planning; they may also integrate instructional data with student level data such as attendance, discipline, grades, credit accumulation, and student survey results to provide early warning indicators of a student’s risk of educational failure.”

As part of our efforts to support states and districts in addressing the challenges and opportunities inherent in the selection and implementation of an instructional improvement system, we have prepared a resource document. The resource document is located at The material within the document is intended to assist local education agencies (LEAs) and State Departments of Education (SDEs) currently using or seeking to use an instructional improvement system to clearly define for themselves and in grant writing the attributes of the system and the contributions the system can make to LEA instructional improvement efforts.

We encourage you to take a look at the resource document; see if the information contained within it is addressed by your current system; and use the document as a guide in your ongoing efforts to improve the impact of your education initiatives on student learning. If you have questions or ideas that you would like to share please do so in this blog and/or contact me at Assessment Technology Incorporated.

Jason K. Feld, Ph.D.
1-800-367-4762 (Ext 121)

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