We believe our College Tracking data is a critically important outcome indicator of how well Washington State schools are preparing students to attend, persist, and graduate from college. Several newspaper articles in the last few weeks compare graduation data from our College Tracking website with national data. When interpreting college graduation data from College Tracking, it is important to recognize some of the major differences between the data presented on College Tracking and what national organizations, such as the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), report.
From the STAR Online Blog:
It came to our attention last week that there was an issue with the Lesson Planner timing out during long sessions and, in some cases, losing data. This was our highest priority issue as soon as we learned of it. We immediately put our development team solely on this issue and are happy to report that a fix was released by the end of last week. Please let us know if you experiencing difficulty with timing out and/or data retention.
Read the full post for more details.
We have released some pretty significant updates to the Learning Walks module in STAR Online over the last couple of weeks. We realized that because only administrators had access to the Learning Walk functionality, the entire staff was not being given the opportunity to observe and reflect online. We've remedied that by adding two new types of learning walks that are open to all staff members.
For the full details, go read the full post on the STAR Online Blog.
We recently added a new district SMART Goal feature to our STAR Online platform. Now, the central office can create a SMART Goal that is automatically added to the SMART Goals of every school in the district. The central office can also view aggregate observation data. This allows them to be more directly involved in the Powerful Teaching and Learning program by viewing and sharing district-wide progress on alignment with Powerful Teaching and Learning while also reflecting on and sharing their own learning.
Before, if the central office wanted all their schools to implement the same SMART goal, each school would have to manually create the goal for their school. If the central office wanted to check the progress made on that SMART Goal, each school would then have to manually share the data back or the administrator would have to browse to the school.
This is another example of how we are continuing to develop and support teachers as they strive to improve instruction. For all the details, go read the full post on the STAR Online Blog.
Based on our research, classroom observations, and experience working with educators, we’ve developed support materials around Powerful Teaching and Learning. Our primary mission with these products is to give educators the tools they need to learn and implement Powerful Teaching and Learning. In other words, to allow you to put our research into your practice.
The Facilitator Guide Toolkit is a guidebook solution for learning, implementing, facilitating, and supporting Powerful Teaching and Learning in your classroom, school, or district. By the end of it, you will be facilitator of Powerful Teaching and Learning and capable of training others, just like we do.
Aloha! In our last Classroom Clips post we featured Tania Will, a kindergarten teacher at Kaunakakai Elementary School on the island of Moloka’I in Hawai’i. Today, we’re heading back to feature Malia Sakamoto and her first grade class. Thank you, Malia, for opening your classroom and sharing your learnings with us.
From the STAR Online Blog:
You might have noticed that we recently published updated reporting functionality for the Building version of STAR Online. This update enhances the robustness of reporting and makes it available on the Home page. Now, instead of only being able to view a chart and learning walk scores and notes for just one SMART Goal, you can pull from the all the data collected for your building and then filter down by SMART Goal, time range, or STAR Indicators. We've also added a table that shows the n numbers and broken the report up into three modular pieces - Progress, Usage, and Reflections - so that you can view and export any or all of them.
Read the full post.
Learn more about STAR Online.
We think one of the best ways to inspire teachers to change their classroom practices is to observe other classrooms. There is something powerful about watching another teacher teach real lessons with real students. You can’t help but put yourself in the situation. How would you launch the lesson? What questions would you ask the students? What would you do when the little boy in the back row gets confused? These reflections are the foundation for inspiring change.
So how can teachers observe classrooms? Live observations, while valuable, require leaving your classroom and finding teachers willing to let you in. During our work with schools across the country, we’ve found hundreds of teachers willing to open their classrooms to our video team. These are real teachers teaching real students. Our video production team recorded actual classroom lessons, focusing on both the instruction and the student interaction. These lessons were edited into 15-20 minute segments that remove some of the transition time (like passing out assignments or getting into groups) without removing any of the important instruction. The end result is a series of classroom clips that show full lessons, from introduction to conclusion, in segments short enough for a teacher to view in 20 minute sessions.
STAR Online has been up and running for a while now. Many folks across the nation regularly use it to develop Powerful Teaching and Learning in their classrooms. That said, we think we can do an even better job explaining how STAR Online works and how teachers are using it every day.
In a nutshell, STAR Online is an online solution for implementing and supporting Powerful Teaching and Learning in your classroom, school, or district. It is a free service for educational professionals, and a supporting service for those who we help with their School Improvement efforts.
But, What Is Powerful Teaching and Learning?
Powerful Teaching and Learning is a combination of instructional best practices that correlate with student achievement (as measured by test scores) regardless of poverty. Powerful Teaching and Learning is student-centered, builds conceptual skills and knowledge, shows evidence of meta-cognition and personal reflection, is relevant to the learners and is supported by strong relationships.
Put simply, Powerful Teaching and Learning helps all kids learn.
We just published the latest year's worth of student graduation and college attendance data (2011 academic year) to the free report we host at collegetracking.com! The 2004-2010 academic years were also updated.
Every year the Research team at The BERC Group aggregates, analyzes and publishes college attendance, persistence, and graduation data on students in Washington State. Visit the College Tracking page to learn more about the research. Visit the College & Career Readiness page if you're interested in applying this research to your own district or school.
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