Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mime the Results

The way you present data should slef-explanatory enough that a mime could walk most people through the reports.
At a keynote address I attended last Thursday Tom Guskey said, "If parents don't understand what we are trying to tell them it is our problem, not their problem." Tom Guskey went on to demonstrate that even when we think we are sending a straight-forward message to parents (e.g. end of term grades) there is hidden meaning and unintended messages. Guskey pointed out that grades frequently are inconsistent and include multiple dimensions (e.g. homework, attendance, participation, test perfromance). So a student who knows and understands the content could easily earn a C if they refuse to do home work. A couple of years ago we compared ACT and CSAP performance with student grades within relevant subjects. Guskey said this relationship was weak, but we found no relationship at all (for you stat nerds I believe the correlation was around 0.04). This study led to a re-examination of grading procedures and relationship to the standards.

No matter what assessment or performance related material we are sending home to parents we should be sure that we are clear about the following things: (1) What is the test, when did your son/daughter take the test, and why the results are important. (2) How your student scored some comparison data (e.g. how did the rest of the state, district, or school score). (3) How you can support your student to improve or maintain high performance. (4) When the student will test next. (5) What is the best way to contact their teacher to get more information.

How often are we successful at all of these steps?

No comments: