Earlier this year there was a battle in the blog world on whether teachers who were asked to take the survey should take it and tell the truth, or not take it and by their refusal, show their opinion.   Not yet sure how that worked out since the data was inconclusive. Irregardless, the data is now in and being used, selectively.

Transparent Christina has the Gate’s Foundation report up here... Within the section on Delaware (on page 11 it begins) are some of the selected results.

The headlined success story is that:

Eighty-seven percent of teachers felt that looking at student data provided valuable information in providing differentiated instruction to their students.

Duh.

Of course looking at data is going to provide you with valuable information.. That is what data is.  So if you have a situation without data, and one with data,  of course looking at data is going to improve your knowledge.  The question is guaranteed to give a “yes” approach, sort of like asking a child if the sun shines brighter than the moon, or if water is wet, or if butterflies are really made of butter.  One knows the response one will get.  So when this was the headlined success story, I immediately knew they were in trouble.

In their own words…. The survey yielded generally positive assessments of
the data coaches and of the project.

When one sees the word “generally” (as when I use it, lol) one immediately understands that some “painting” is upcoming and will be going on.

Sixty-three percent of respondents agreed that the Professional Learning Communities help them build skills around the collection and use of data...

Which means first that 37% did not.   Over one out of three did not agree that the Professional Learning Communities, (data coaches) helped them build skills in regards to data collection.  Furthermore when one considers that in polls which are relatively neutral, the line usually falls at the 50/50 mark, so 50% unless they have an overwhelming desire to not agree, will be favorable anyways.  Therefore only 13% really were persuaded from being naturally skeptical in the first place over to pulling in a positive.

Nearly 60 per-cent of all respondents, reported feeling more confident in making data-based instructional decisions as a result of participating in the PLCs.

Now we see the cracks.

Whereas 63% responded the Professional Learning Communities (data coaches) helped them build skills, only “nearly” 60% (a lowers number between 55.0% and 59.99%) actually felt more confident after the event.  A drop of 3 to 8 percent.  In fact, to get a higher number for publication they reports tweaks it this way.

Eighty-eight percent of those respondents (of the 63%), and nearly 60 percent of all respondents, reported feeling more confident in making data-based instructional decisions

Meaning the actual number is  just 55.44% of the TOTAL respondents who felt more confident after coaching. Wouldn’t one expect 100% to feel more confident after coaching? I mean if I knew nothing about education, and you told me at least something, anything would be an improvement, Wouldn’t I feel more confident than before you spoke?  I would think so. I should hope so. Not proficient, mind you, but slightly more confident than when I came in the door. These results are not good at all.  They scored just 5.44% over the medium.

Reports from teachers explain why;  Some comments.

“Instructors were almost as young as my students”. “Instructors had no real life experience having just graduated college and this was their first job”.  “Was not confident in someone’s interpretation who had only 10 hours of training”. “Instructors were too blind that multiple interpretations could be gleaned from the data, not just the one they chose.”

Nearly 60 percent of elementary school teachers said administrators frequently or almost always attended the PLCs, whereas only 36 percent of high school administrators did.

Meaning 40% of elementary school administrators did not, and 64% of high school administrators did not.  Does one think that the peace and quiet of ones schools, thereby freeing them up from necessary duties, may have played a factor?

Finally from the Gate’s report these were the lessons learned…

A) The state initially failed to provide enough support to school leaders in building teachers’ workdays around Professional Learning Communities. That strained teachers’ capacity to participate in the PLCs on top of their regular responsibilities.

B) Not every teacher who was selected as a school coach was effective in that role. Some principals who became data coaches also needed more training and support on data use and on coaching methods..

C) Every school needed an effective champion of the project if it hoped to succeed. This typically came from a school principal or other leader.

As one would expect from those with corporate mentalities, very little concern is being exhibited over the quality of the actual product.  Instead, it’s all about the marketing….

Getting back to the product:  37% of teachers responses were negative.  That corresponds roughly to 48,100 of the state’s students.

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