As a high-performing K-12 district in suburban Chicago, Kaneland School District administrators recognized that to continue to improve, the district needed to use assessment data on a daily basis. Dr. Sarah Mumm, Kaneland’s director of educational services K-5, said how the district identifies elementary students as candidates for either gifted or intervention services became a key area of focus.
When placing students, the district had heavily relied on a teacher’s perspective – instead of data-driven process. It was not the fault of the teachers, either, Mumm said, but more the effect of not having data that was centralized in one place. Still, it can be difficult to rely on a teacher’s perception because it could be subjective. Instead Kaneland needed a better way to identify both students who were high performing and needed to be challenged more as well as those who were struggling and needed specific intervention services.
In late 2012, Kaneland administrators began working with AllofE project managers, who implemented Matrix, AllofE’s data-warehousing and dashboarding system. A key custom component of the project became elementary Running Records that allow teachers to enter scores for their students into Matrix and save them, giving them instant access to reports and graphs using the data at various levels. In addition, AllofE automated a paper-based rubric that Kaneland teachers were using to grade elementary writing assessments, allowing them to speed up the grading process and centralizing the data in one place.
Matrix allowed Kaneland to centralize the district’s Running Record data into one place and eliminated the amount of work it took in the past for teachers to enter the data. Mumm said Matrix’s gradebooks have helped the district achieve its key goal: Identifying kids who are ahead and need challenged and those who are behind and need extra support.“This is so much more streamlined,” Mumm said. “It really has helped us find kids that we wouldn’t have found without it just sitting there staring at us.”Because teachers and administrators can view reports once scores are saved, the analysis begins instantly. For example, a teacher could see immediately that a student at the beginning of the year is already reading 10 levels above his or her grade level, meaning that student is likely a candidate for advanced placement. The less time and work the data collecting process takes on the district’s part, the more time administrators and teachers can devote to actually strategizing and working to help these students, in turn improving the district’s performance.
“This is so much more streamlined,” Mumm said. “It really has helped us find kids that we wouldn’t have found without it just sitting there staring at us.”