A study was conducted to review student achievement data at the School of the Future (SOF), a 6-12 grade public school in Community School District 2 in New York City. SOF’s School Leadership Team directed that an evaluation of the multiple measures of student achievement data result in suggestions for ways to improve how the school’s community of parents, teachers and students understand student achievement.
The study found that although student achievement data was plentiful, some of it was not well understood, and some of it was unknown to the community at large even though it was available online. The study identified how this achievement data could be reorganized so that it could be known and used by the community. The study also found that commonly reported student achievement data such as aggregated test score data did not help teachers or parents to understand the quality of the learning experience at SOF.
The work of this school, the teaching and learning experiences, were better reflected in data about student projects, exhibitions of mastery, performance assessments of student work, and observations of individual stories of student progress. The evaluation recommends combining regularly reported student achievement data with performance assessment data under a wider definition of “student progress” data. The new data collection suggestions begin to point to a need for changing how the community looks at student work from static snapshots of student achievement scores summarized and averaged each year to dynamic stories of student progress that include longitudinal data of individual student progress over seven years of attendance at SOF. Further examination of student progress data might include understanding student demographic data, equity issues, student access to quality teachers, closing the achievement gap for minorities, and the value-added experience that leads to the public perception that this is a good school.
The evaluative outcome is a recommendation that the school work towards a better and more diverse collection of data that would drive an improved understanding of how and why successful students succeed at SOF, and a further recommendation for how more diverse data collection of student progress might help ignite early intervention with unsuccessful students.