School Reform to the MACS
Even schools in good standing within the city can find themselves struggling to meet AYP on State Tests. This is what happened to Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies (MACS) in the Bronx. Despite high scores on their NYC Progress Report, missing AYP goals by just a few points positioned them as a SINI school, partially because of scores on the ELA Regents exam.
The school considered this data carefully and the CPET coach worked with English teachers to analyze the data and identify leverage points for targeting students at different performance levels. Because the school has been part of the CPET Design Your Own Periodic Assessment program, we were able to combine the efforts and goals of the DYO with the goal of an increased Regents pass rate. We designed our DYO rubric to align with the Critical Lens Rubric and monitored student performance across grade levels. Teachers analyzed their DYO data to identify strengths and struggles throughout the year and used the assessments as predictive Regents scores. Further analysis of the DYO and the ELA Regents demonstrated a 91% correlation between the two exams—confirming that these mid-year assessments were valid and reliable methods of monitoring student progress.
Teachers took to heart the lessons learned from the DYO assessments and implemented new approaches and new instructional strategies to help the students meet the needs of the high stakes exam. Though the collaboration of the coach and the teachers, these lessons became a part of the fabric of the curriculum—informing teachers’ long term planning and instructional practices. And the proof of their effectiveness is in the data. The number of students who failed the exam decreased the next year, while the number of students who scored in the levels 3 and 4 increased significantly.
The good news is that progress is rewarded. Morris Academy came off the SINI list after the schools’ review and the NCLB waiver. When asked about their progress, the Principal said, "First as a teacher, then as an administrator, I have witnessed how CPET's support has helped our school streamline data analysis processes to inform instructional practice with an efficiency and effectiveness that would be very difficult to achieve on our own."
MACS hasn’t stopped this meaningful work, in fact—they’ve expanded it. In 2012-2013, with guidance from the CPET Coach, all subject areas are participating in the DYO program, using the opportunity to design assessments and analyze student work as powerful vehicle to prepare students for high stakes Regents exams, align curriculum to Common Core Standards, and engage in the deep inquiry that leads to long lasting transformative change.