Data and ELL children

Its that time of the year when most of our data has been entered into our Learning management system and I have a chance to look at the total picture of my children who are eligible for ESOL funding.

These are some of my heart stopping moments.

I have a year 4 student with a 3P in reading and a 2P in writing. She has been in New Zealand for 3 full years and came to us with no English but is fluent at speaking in her first language. She had no literacy in her first language. In three years she has surpassed a year 6 in reading and can match a year 5 in writing. That is what the data tells me. As I have a quiet chuckle. I hope that the teacher makes a teacher judgement and adjusts these marks for feeding back to parents because I know for a fact that these scores are not realistically possible, YET.

I have another student who is a year 4 and has a 2A for reading and a 1B for writing. His probe score matches the reading asttle, so does this mean he is above for reading? Again I don’t think so. The scores do not align. How can he be reading at a year 5 level and writing at a year 1 level? I remind our teachers to lay out the scores and see how they align. Personally either the writing has not been pushed or the reading is far too high.

I have another student. She is year 6. Her scores indicate that she is reading as well as a year 9 student with comprehension. But she her written work shows that she is writing at an early year 5 level. Sooo? What do you think? She came to us as a five year old with no English and had no schooling in her first language.

I know that by year 6 if we have worked really hard, our English Language Learning children will be beginning to meet national standard data.

When I see them surpassing national standard data in the earlier years I know from my vast experience that these same children will fall dramatically by year 4. The teachers have to work really hard to continue to meet the earlier year’s gathering of data and this takes time.

If you are an junior school teacher and have never taught in any other area of the school, then this would be my recommendation to you. Spend some time teaching in other levels so that you have a more realistic grasp of what data should look like.

Myself, I always work in class as much as I can so that my understanding of data remains realistic. I really like teams who come together to moderate their data and even better if this can be spread across schools so that moderation between schools gives us a clearer picture of what we should be expecting and looking for in our data. I wonder what our intermediate teachers would say when they see our student’s data being levelled and benchmarked the same as theirs. These questions I continually have with our teachers as they write their reports.

As for the rest of New Zealand, what do your data tables read? How do the scores align across curriculum areas and across year levels? I have a staff meeting coming up where I will be sharing some of what I see with our staff. I ask them these same questions and ask them to justify their teacher judgements when levelling our students against National Standards. Scoring our children academically is a small part of the total child and I ask them how well do they know the  children. Our parents want to know how their children are aligned with the rest of their peers. However the most important question they usually ask is, ‘Is my child happy at school and do they have any friends?’

I also hope that there are no surprises for our parents because I know that most of our teachers communicate regularly through out the year as to how the children are doing in class.

4 thoughts on “Data and ELL children

  1. […] At the same time I have been analysing our student data against national standards. At this time of the year I usually have a look at how we are doing and particularly how my ELL students are doing. I have written about this process before.  […]


  2. Hi Owen,
    Thanks for taking the time to respond.
    I was excited to read a visitor had been. I liked the way you phrased your entries for further discussion. I have an interest in OTJs and how they do match the data gathered in class. Even in our area cluster group meetings the discussion continues and our recent meeting highlighted our need to moderate across our schools. I can understand frustration around asTTles and being old enough, as a teacher, to remember when running records became the norm. I also remember teacher’s frustrations at having to add this tool to an already busy learning day. Now running records are one of the standard class tools to inform teaching and learning.
    In the words of Tom Bodett, ‘In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.’
    When I look at the range of testing we carry out to gather data to inform teaching and learning yes I can emphasise with your statement: ‘we shall do 10 weeks of testing each term and two weeks of learning to provide empirical data to back up our snapshots.’
    The ongoing challenge to is marking the jolly things immediately to gather the data to input the data to aggregate the information to allow us to see where we are as a school. Therefore helping us to identify the gaps of learning and where we appear to be doing well.
    Here are the ones we have at our school and it by no means is the full list. If you read this, add the one you use at your primary and intermediate schools.
    Jam, GLoSS, asTTle

    Running Records, 6 year diagnostics, Probe, asTTle

    Star, asTTle,

    Hooked onto spelling

    In Addition at our school there is also
    Mutukaraoa Data gathering which is ongoing
    ELL data gathering 2x each year after all the other data is gathered.

    Optional other data that can be used to back up OTJ’s
    ICAS, Burt, Steps , Reading Eggs, Prototec
    and of course ongoing evidence of what has been gathered in class because the teachers intuition is no longer good enough.
    So we add ‘The ticky boxes’, the modelling books and now the camera to the lists of things to do too.

    Our senior school teachers also ‘get it’ and regularly ask for feedback from our children on how they are doing in the classroom and how they can improve the teaching and learning of our children.


  3. Sorry, I almost forgot. ELL students data may be misleading, depending on the nature of the questions asked. If your reading test was weighted with inferential questions, results would differ. Once again, we need to have data for our OTJ’s that back up the formal results.

    In my next classroom, we shall do 10 weeks of testing each term and two weeks of learning to provide empirical data to back up our snapshots. Problem solved! O:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think there’s still a lot of confusion about data gathered for the purpose of assessing whether a student is above, at or below National Standard. Levels don’t enter into it. The Criteria is Above, At, Below. The levels are e-AsTTle tools. e-Asstle (snicker) gives a snapshot of how your students are doing in writing, reading and mathematics. If you intend on using e-Astill(chortle) data as a measure of achievement, you need to ensure that other data; exemplars, published work, work done in integrated studies all match up. The E-astlle (guffaw) data is only one measure, and the indicators align with the NZ Curriculum. As I understand it, our National Standards report should give the “At, Below… etc” whereas the reporting data can be more specific, i.e. Sione is at Level 3 for writing. Argh, it’s all so confusing, and I don’t just mean the spelling!

    Liked by 1 person

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