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Ohio Data Primer

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Module 2: Tutorial—Where Have We Been? Where Do We Want to Be?

To guide decisions, we compare data. We do this to see if differences exist. If we see differences, we need confidence that the data are relevant and meaningful, that the differences seen are big enough to warrant action, and that the differences are reasonably consistent and stable. After all, we don't want to risk making major decisions on idiosyncratic or momentary aberrations. We want to be guided by the true signal, not by the noise.

Page 2 of the Enhanced Class Score Report (you may download your own from Success Portal) contains a graphic that reports the percentages of students in each of Ohio's five performance levels (i.e., Advanced, Accelerated, Proficient, Basic, Limited/Below Basic) for a single classroom and compares those to the results for the school, the district, and the state. Take a moment to study the example graphic at right to find all the pieces.

This is a floating-bar graph. It floats the bars on the base of the Proficient category. Everyone above that float point—the horizontal line that forms the bottom of the blue Proficient category—is proficient or above, everyone below has not yet reached proficiency. The height of the floating bar indicates performance relative to the other bars. The sections within each bar tell the proportions of students in each performance category.

At a glance we can see that the performance of students statewide is quite a bit better than in our district, our school, and this classroom. (The state bar "floats" higher, meaning performance is better.) Our school and district perform similarly, although the school's proportion of Accelerated students is greater than the district's proportion. The best news in the chart may be that your class outperforms both the school and the district. One reason for this is that your class has relatively fewer students in the Limited category, which is more in line with the proportion statewide. However, one third of your students are in the Basic category, which is more than three times the rate statewide. Statewide, 80 percent of the students at this grade level score Proficient or better. In your class, 61% score Proficient or better. Clearly, you have more work to do with your own students.

This information is denser and richer than the bar graphs shown in Module 1. However, these are still one-point-in-time data. We need to see where we are—and where we have been. Only by tracking performance over time can we see how the work we do influences the outcomes we seek. Students learn at different rates, and those rates fluctuate. Some instructional topics are more motivating (for some students and for some teachers). This suggests that we need to track more than just average performance or percentage proficient. The detail that the Ohio performance levels provide will let us see better how we are growing and help us construct better, more specific strategies to meet our targets.

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