Reflecting on the 2019-2020 school year is going to look much different than years in the past. It is going to require a different mindset and process than what we have previously done. Instead of analyzing assessment data from the end of the year standardized test and planning schedules, we are trying to wrap up Distance Learning and giving grades the best we can with what we have.
As we move into next year, we have got to do our best to be proactive in preventing potential learning gaps caused by Covid19 and Distance Learning. There are many schools who were able to carry on lessons virtually and carry on their school year with new content, but school systems like mine, who are Title I and unable to provide devices and hotspots, probably were unable to cover any new material and continue on with standard coverage and teaching. With not being able to cover new content while completing distance learning, our teachers still had standards they were not able to teach or review for mastery with the students.
If we fail to create a plan to cover any missed standards from this past school year, we are doing the students a disservice. Missing standards, especially in subjects where the content builds off the previous year’s content, can lead to significant learning gaps in students. In order to prevent these learning gaps, vertical planning is imperative. We have to establish a clear line of communication with the teachers in the grade levels before and after to make sure we are all on the same page in what needs to be taught.
In our school system, we decided to dedicate the last two weeks of school to professional learning and curriculum planning for next year. While vertical planning is difficult during this time since we cannot all come together, it is not impossible. We are using a Curriculum Recovery Guide to reflect on our previous year’s pacing guide and assessments to determine standard coverage and mastery levels to share with the next grade level.
The Curriculum Recovery Guide process will walk teachers through using their pacing guides to reflect on standard coverage and any assessment data from the year to determine standard mastery levels. It will give the teachers a spreadsheet they can share with the next grade level teachers so they can start planning to embed any missed or minimally mastered standards into their pacing guides for next year.
Steps to Completing the Curriculum Recovery Guide:
- Creating the Spreadsheet:
Create a spreadsheet for documenting standard mastery tailored to your school needs. You will want to include a place for the standards, pacing guide coverage, assessment standard mastery levels, and any other information you’d like to include.If you’re interested in this process already put together into a spreadsheet with the presentation guide included, you can find mine HERE)
- Reflect on Pacing Guide & Lesson Plans:
Determine the standard coverage level by reviewing the pacing guide and lesson plans for the year. If the content was fully covered prior to Distance Learning beginning, then I would mark it as “Fully Covered,” but if it was not covered in full prior to that date, then I would mark it as “Partially Covered.”
- Assessment Data Analysis:
Complete the Assessment Item Analysis process to determine the Standard Mastery Level for each standard. During this step, you will use all summative assessments from the school year. Make sure each assessment is labeled by standard, and break down each standard to determine the percentage correct based on the students’ assessment data. This part of the process can seem tedious if it hasn’t already been completed, but the information you get from it is valuable.If you have already completed an Item Analysis or if you tested on an online platform that gives you a standard breakdown, you will want to analyze this data and determine the percentage correct for each question based on the data.
After determining the percentage correct per standard, you can then move forward with the Standard Mastery Analysis. You will use the percentages to place your “X” in the box that aligns to the Standard Mastery Level. You will want to determine what percentage each level looks like for your school. For example at our school, we use 80% and above as mastered, 50-79% as partially mastered, and 49% and below as minimally mastered. These numbers can change according to your school or system’s mastery levels.
- Additional Commentary:
Leave any additional comments for the next grade level teacher here. Think about any extra information that could be beneficial to the teacher. Maybe you want to let the teacher know that you covered a standard in the beginning of the year but didn’t have a chance to review it any before in-school learning started, or maybe you taught a portion of a standard but still had other elements of that standard to cover prior to the end of the year. These kinds of comments will help the teacher better know the level to review or teach the standards next year.
- Share the File:
At this point, you will share the file with your administrative team and/or the next grade level teachers. Your school should have a set protocol on the sharing expectations.
I Got My Sheet from the Grade Below — What Now?
Once you have your spreadsheet and data from the grade below, you will want to start embedding missed and low mastery level standards into your curriculum for next year. Look at your pacing guide, and find where these standards can fit into your content.
I would be especially mindful of any power standards for your content. Think about the prerequisite standards that students need to know and understand prior to being able to learn your content standards – set these as your priority standards to embed into next year’s pacing guide.
As the Leader
It is so important that you are ready to be supportive of your teachers during this process. This process can be both intimidating and seem like a hoop if not done with the proper amount of support.
You will want to:
- Create a safe space for this process. Teachers need to know that the spreadsheets and information they turn in are non-evaluative and will only help the next grade level teachers be able to best reach their students. There cannot be any shame or guilt for teachers having to admit that standards were not covered or mastered. You want to create this judgment-free culture in your school prior to starting this process so the teachers can feel safe in being honest in all their data analysis and standard reflection
- Practice this process yourself. As your teachers complete this process, there will be questions and possibly some confusion. I highly recommend that you as the guide for this process practice it yourself so you can be well-versed in the steps when teachers contact you for help. This way, you can relate to the teachers and can easily guide them
- Value this process. As with any professional learning, the teachers will not value the process and time unless you do as the leader. When introducing the Distance Learning Recovery Guide, make sure you have stressed the value in this process and the high impact it can have on students achievement for next year. Bring up the potential learning gaps caused by Covid-19 and stress how this process can help combat these gaps by providing teachers will what standards need covering
- Set clear expectations. As you communicate your expectations to the teachers, make sure you have a solid plan for what data they will use, for the steps you want them to complete, the spreadsheet they will use, and who they will share it with. By front-loading all of this information and being clear in it from the beginning, it will help eliminate some of the intimidation and confusion during the process.
Compassion Over Compliance
Lastly, our governor in Georgia sent out an email not too long ago reminding teachers to practice compassion during this time. Students have endured new experiences, and some may not have been very good. His email served as a reminder for teachers to practice compassion as they graded assignments and looked at what each student has completed during Distance Learning. These words truly spoke to me, but I also thought about our teachers and our leaders.
During this time, please remember to practice the same compassion with our teachers and leaders in education. We are all traveling on uncharted territories and trying to make the best of it. Most decisions being made are for the benefit of the students, and we are never going to always agree with every decision being made. Remember this compassion.
Please try to stay positive during these trying times, and if your school is implementing this process and has any questions during any part, please feel free to email me. I would love to be able to help in any way I can. [email protected]