Advanced proficiency level: 1st Grade Elementary

The conversation occurs during the second week of school. Darius' Big Goal: Second Graders by June!

Support materials:
 Conversation with Observer (Excerpt)

Overall rating & analysis

Overall rating: Two AP Strands equal an overall AP rating.

Beginning

Advanced

Exemplary

Strand 1: The Big Goal’s appropriateness for all students, reasoned ambitiousness, and sources.

Adopts a broad, generic goal that aspires to be ambitious and feasible for the entire class and achieves that balance for at least half of the teacher’s students

Designs a goal that is both ambitious and feasible for most students, based on reasoning informed by multiple sources, including diagnostic results for mastery goals

Designs feasible, highly ambitious goals that require intense work from each and every student, based on reasoning informed by multiple sources, including diagnostic results for mastery goals

Strand 2: The teacher’s understanding of how accomplishing goals will demonstrate mastery of standards and increase students’ opportunities in life.

Describes how the goal is aligned to key standards and identifies a basic tool of measuring achievement of the goal.

Describes how the goal is aligned to all key standards, explains broadly what students should know, understand or be able to do in order to achieve the goal, and cites the necessary assessment tools (e.g. achievement tests, performance-based assessments, etc.) that will be most meaningful to students’ lives when measuring the different facets of the goal

Describes how the goal is aligned to all key standards, explains the specific and prioritized knowledge and skills that each student will need to master in order to reach the goal – including pre-requisites – and cites a specific set of balanced measurement tools to measure different facets of the goal that will be most meaningful to students’ lives


Analysis: Why did the teacher receive these ratings?

Rating: APStrand 1: The Big Goal’s appropriateness for all students, reasoned ambitiousness, and sources.

Why AP?

The teacher "designs a goal that aspires to be ambitious and feasible for the entire class and achieves that balance for most students." The teacher’s goal is 1.5 years growth in reading and math for every student. Growth goals meet the AP bar for being "ambitious and feasible.for most students" by definition, if the amount of progress is ambitious enough and one and a half year's growth is considered ambitious across the organization.

Why not E?

The goal is not necessarily "feasible" and "highly ambitious" requiring "intense work from each and every student." Although the teacher recognizes that it would be important to students’ lives to have every student leave the first grade at a beginning of second grade level, and he recognizes that "all but a handful of students will be at a second-grade level by the end of the year" and "the handful will be within half a year or closer," he does not set growth goals of slightly more than 1.5 years for this "handful" of students. The teacher would need to set higher growth goals for his lowest achieving students to meet the E bar.

Rating: APStrand 2: The teacher’s understanding of how accomplishing goals will demonstrate mastery of standards and increase students’ opportunities in life.

Why AP?

The teacher "describes how the goal is aligned to all key standards" and "explains broadly what students should know, understand or be able to do in order to achieve the goal." The teacher "spent the last couple weeks really unpacking my standards and isolating the key end-of-course knowledge and skills, as well as the enduring understandings and culminating performance-based assessments for 1st grade reading and math in St. Louis. I translated all of this into an excel spreadsheet that provides me the destination skills and assessment tools from which I can backwards plan." As evidence of his comprehension of what students will need to "know, understand, or be able to do" he walks his observer through several examples of curriculum standards and growth measures he is targeting.

The teacher also "cites the necessary assessment tools." For reading, he is using the "well-respected DRA to measure actual reading performance (including fluency), as well as the NWEA to gauge comprehension skills." For math he is using "the growth-focused NWEA, as well as a standards-aligned diagnostic and end of course exam that includes a problem solving component that requires students to write about their thinking."

The teacher also "cites the necessary assessment tools (e.g. achievement tests, performance-based assessments, etc.) that will be most meaningful to students’ lives when measuring the different facets of the goal." He has chosen well respected external assessments including the DRA and NWEA to ensure that he's teaching to a high level of rigor and diligently measuring students’ results. In addition, he has taken on his goal of 1.5 years growth so that the majority of students will be on a clear path to passing the 3rd grade high stakes reading test. This will clearly have meaning for "students’ lives" (i.e., "I began researching performance on the third grade literacy test in Missouri and I found out that a significant portion of students fail the high-stakes test in reading in third grade because they don't have adequate readiness, which leads to students being held-back and, over time, increased dropout rates. Students reading at second grade by the end of first grade would be critical for students to be on the pathway to academic success. ").

Why not E?

The teacher does not explain "the specific and prioritized knowledge and skills that each student will need to master in order to reach the goal-including pre-requisites." Although the teacher has defined the knowledge and skills the entire class will need to master to achieve the big goal, he has not created individual lists of what each of his students will need to learn, based on their diagnostic results, to achieve the big goal. It is unwise for teachers to commit to differentiated or intensely ambitious goals without fully understanding what it will take to get there.