Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Mighty Pie Chart

I've written about my fears of the Mighty Pie Chart before (hereafter MPC), as well as my sense of falling short as a teacher last year, and now the data has come rolling in. For those not in the know, the MPC is one of the many ways my district's data analysis program CRUNCHER can report on student achievement. It shows student growth over a two year period, where students who raise their performance level one quintile are coded green, those who remain in the same quintile year-to-year are coded yellow, and those that drop are coded red. Where it gets interesting is this: A student whose scaled score remains the same from, say, 6th grade standards to 7th grade standards is generally thought to have demonstrated a year's growth. On the MPC however, they are coded yellow: no growth. To register as growth, a student must move from quintile to the next. Big time.

You can't run from the MPC. Either you taught well and promoted substantial growth, or you didn't. And when it's over, it's all in front of you, laid out in a green-yellow-red starkness. Now I have no idea how this data is used on the school or district level, but that it exists, the fact that we have conversations about our MPCs, this can only be a good thing.

Highlights from my MPC
  • 80% of my students improved at least one quintile
  • 0% were categorized as a "loss"
  • 10% of students are proficient, up from 0% at the start of the year
  • 96% of students started the year in the lowest two quintiles (Far Below Basic & Below Basic); 31% finished the year in the lowest two; 4% in the lowest
  • 22% of students grew by at least two quintiles

Greatest Success
J. tested into High Point A, a program aligned to 3rd grade standards. He was a CST 2 (Below Basic), and a CELDT 2. Three-fifths of the way through H.P. A he was performing so well we rescheduled him into a H.P. B class. He finished H.P. B, was promoted to H.P. C and completed that program strongly. Starting from Below Basic, he tested Proficient by the end of the year. There were others like him, but this kid's story fully validates the model. It demonstrates that we can group students by ability and language level while allowing for responsivity to their progress within the year, continually move them forward and provide new challenges. It also demonstrates how important it is to provide additional time for High Point to be implemented correctly (two periods is insufficient), while at the same time allowing for the type of standard-based supplementation necessary to fill in the massive instructional gaps High Point allows to exist between curriculum and grade-level standards.

Greatest Success (honorable mention)
The 1 to 3 kids. The Far Below Basic moving to Basic kids. Fifteen percent of my students made this leap last year, and it's a big one. Far Below Basic kids can barely function in classrooms. They typically have little academic abilities, no knowledge of content-specific vocabulary, not to mention very little understanding of how to be a student. Basic kids are not proficient, but they have the skills to respond to instruction. They're not there, no doubt, but they are finally in a place where they can make that next leap.

Biggest Failure
A. and J. missed scoring proficient by 2 scaled points. Usually, I look at that and think justonemorequestion, justonemorequestion, but this was about the writing exam. Both scored Far Below Basic, which I don't know how to think about that given those two were 1) the unqualified best writers in my class, and 2) focused beyond belief for that exam. More and more, I'm coming to question the validity of the STAR writing test.

Biggest Failure (honorable mention)
I wanted to move everyone out of Far Below Basic. No 1s was written over my desk at home. Seventeen kids started the year Far Below Basic, and 15 of em got out. There were two left in the hole and that sucks.

Unrelated Anecdote
ANON: Are you [Archimedes'] friend who teaches at KIPP?
ME: Uh, no. Really, no.
ANON: Oh. Where do you teach?
ME: At my TFA placement school.
ANON: Oh, you're just starting your second year?
ME: No, my fifth.
ANON: (I have no schema in place to process your answers so I will just stare blankly at you until things become awkward)
ME: (I know what you're thinking and will give you no help in easing this social impasse)


Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:54 PM  
Anonymous Lori Jablonski said...

I have never seen any data about student growth over a two-year period. We simply get a print out of the results of the kids in our classes at the time the tests were given. Some folks at my school are working hard to change this. Seems your district is trying to make all the data actually meaningful and useful.

Hope you're feeling good about the work you serve your kids so well.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your results are quite impressive. My district is considering scheduling High Point into three period cores. I'm curious...What materials are you using to supplement?


8:16 PM  
Blogger TMAO said...

Thanks ya'll. This wasn't supposed to be self-promoting, just something I've been focused on.


I use the following supplemental programs/ approaches:
-REWARDS for fluency and decoding
-Step Up To Writing for essay and paragraph construction
-Bridges to Literature for additional lit analysis
-Accelerated Reader for independent reading
-HOLT for spelling and access to grade level standards
-A variety of my own materials for grammar, writing practice, extensions of Step Up To Writing, P.O.V. and literary devices

8:22 PM  
Blogger posthipchick said...

Awesome job!

I'm reading a book now that I want to give you when I'm done.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:22 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home