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.