This is part 3 of a blog series on how Lubbock Independent School District (Lubbock ISD) uses SAS® EVAAS to improve teaching and learning by promoting self-reflection and aiding instructional and administrative decision-making.
This is done in a district that, in the past decade, has experienced dramatic increases in the percentage of Hispanic and African-American students, and the percentage of students living in poverty. These shifts precipitated a focus on meeting the unique needs of all students, whether low, middle, or high achieving. In 2009, Lubbock ISD joined a group of 10 Texas districts, which has grown to 23, using EVAAS for value-added reporting.
For a district administrator, analytics enable independent teaching effectiveness research
A 25-year veteran educator in LISD, Dr. Kathy Rollo is currently the Associate Superintendent for Lubbock's elementary schools. Her doctoral research, using EVAAS, expands the knowledge base of how and why teachers improve their practice as measured by their value-added teacher effectiveness measures and what role the campus principal played in that documented growth. By examining eight teachers with consecutive growth in their value-added estimates from 2010-2012, Dr. Rollo examined the following research questions:
- What changes did teachers who improved in their value-added effectiveness scores make in their instructional practice?
- What professional learning facilitated the changes in instructional practice made by the teachers?
- What role did principals have in the professional growth of the teachers who improved in their value-added effectiveness?
- In what ways did teachers who improved in their value-added effectiveness use the data to inform instruction?
Dr. Rollo’s findings are vast and her dissertation warrants a thorough read. Without the space to dig into all of the details here, some concluding findings are below:
“The teachers attributed learning to the use of humor in the classroom and building their own capacity to use multiple resources, including their own creativity, with their professional growth. With regard to professional development, teachers appreciated training that was both practical and included active learning. Ongoing collaboration with colleagues, both formally in professional learning communities and informally through casual dialog, was also considered important to their progress. The teachers valued trust and recognition from their principals and the fact that principals were visible in their classrooms on a regular basis.”
It is noteworthy that the teacher with the highest amount of consecutive improvement in EVAAS measures “understood the data and used it to guide instructional practice. She was also diligent about reflecting upon every lesson and determining what had worked and what had not worked in order to improve student learning in the classroom.” Dr. Rollo deemed it “most important that districts and schools ensure that principals and teachers know how to use value-added data to drive instructional decisions in order to obtain maximum growth in effectiveness.”
An example to follow
As Texas begins to incorporate student growth data into educator evaluation systems, Lubbock ISD educators provide a wealth of experience to share in how to accomplish this positive culture shift. These data can become a part of instructional and administrative decision-making as well as facilitate research for continued school improvement. We know that teaching is more than a job. It’s a life devotion that deserves ever-improving sources of support and insights to meet the needs of today’s dynamic learners.