Teacher Focus GroupsTwo Teacher Groups – Primary teachers and secondary teachersFormal recruitment process and facilitationRepresentative cross-section and high participation rateKey FindingsTeachers understand the value of assessments but do not rely on them exclusively to evaluate student achievementMany identified areas of potential improvement (administration, alignment, results, etc.) Key Findings (continued)Largest criticism was the time they take away from classroom instructionDifferences in perceptions across grade levels, and tested versus non-tested subjectsInitiative fatigueParent Focus GroupsTwo Parent Groups – English speaking and Spanish speakingFormal recruitment process and facilitationRepresentative cross-section and high participation rateKey FindingsParents lack awareness of any assessments beyond CSAP, and they do not understand the results Spanish-speaking parents do not conceptualize a distinction between assessments and other testsChanging parent perceptions requires changing teachers’ communicationsTeacher SurveySent to all DPS teachers (except charter schools) via email and the Teacher Portal1,338 overall respondents:794 elementary school, 311 middle school, 304 high school541 tested, 263 non-tested, 549 bothKey FindingsAssessments take too much time and the district does not listen to teachers’ opinionsPerceived usefulness of assessments varies by grade levels and subject taughtTop priority is meeting the needs of an individual studentSecondary ResearchHeld interviews with numerous district leadersGained understanding of what the district has communicated about assessments to dateConducted academic analysis of perceptions and opinions around assessment
People care about ECE in different ways, for different reasons.What information do you have/need about audience perceptions (e.g. public opinion polling)?What information do you have or need that will help support your messages (e.g. prevalence data, economic impact)?
PersonalizedHow DPS is Improving AssessmentsProgress monitoringChange instruction and drive student growthInsight into current gaps in a student’s learning before those gaps become compounded and more difficult to addressComprehensive, in-depth, and complete picture of an individual studentTesting of specific skills and concepts throughout the yearAccurate trajectory of where a student is headedPersonalizedWhy These Improvements Help TeachersAccount for the wide diversity of studentsAllow them to help students in a timely mannerBetter inform and adjust classroom instructionProvide a clearer and more precise portrayal of an individual student’s strengths and weaknessesEfficientHow DPS is Improving AssessmentsImmediate results to inform teaching More time for classroom instructionMore integrated into the flow of the lessonImproved internal communicationsEfficientWhy These Improvements Help TeachersProvide more information to better inform the time spent teaching
MeaningfulHow DPS is Improving AssessmentsMore useful and meaningful results Timely and accurate sense of where a class and individual students standSingle to go in order to find information about and results for individual studentsCommunicate the needs of a student in a timely mannerWhy These Improvements Help TeachersAllowing for immediate and direct action, increasing the relevance and applicability of assessmentsEnable adjustment of instruction and teaching to fit the needs of the classroom Customize instruction for different studentsGive the ability to help a student while that student is still in the teacher’s classroomConnect teachers with resources that can help them meet the needs of individual students ConnectedHow DPS is Improving AssessmentsConsistent standards across that serve as the foundation for all district assessmentsMake the results more relevant and meaningfulConsistent expectations for what all students should be taught to ensure quality education Insight into a student’s specific learning gaps Why These Improvements Help TeachersProvide better information to inform teaching and make that time more impactful Use as a teaching tool to meet the needs of individual studentsAllows for actionable responses within the classroomHelp teachers better identify what students do and do not know and aid in the creation of teacher-led assessments
Activity 1: Come up with examples of stories and how you would use the messages.
Your messages should serve as the foundation of all of your communications and be reflected in materials, presentations, interviews and advertising.
Activity 1: Come up with examples of stories and how you would use the messages.
Message training without video slides 10.10
DPS Assessment Communications Training October 10, 2011
About SE2• Communications firm that works on issues within the public arena• Expertise and significant experience in education• Numerous DPS projects• Hired by Accountability, Research and Evaluation office to lead communications about the value of assessments
Communication Objectives• Communicate that assessments provide meaningful results in a timely manner and explain their value• Show how teaching can be adjusted to meet the needs of the individual students based on assessments• Demonstrate that the district has listened to teacher concerns and criticizes and is selecting assessments that are easier and faster to administer• Reinforce the importance of evaluating teacher effectiveness in accurate and useful ways• Remind teachers and parents of the tools (e.g. portals) available to improve access to information about individual students
Todays Objectives• Articulate the importance of assessments and the critical role you play in communicating this message• Gather background information about the research the district has conducted over the past few months, understanding teachers and parents perceptions of assessments• Convey the main vision and goals to promote the value of assessments• Understand how and where to talk about these goals, and tools to help you do so effectively
Todays Objectives• Understanding the importance of assessments and the critical role you play in communicating this• Background information about the research the district Research – Summary has conducted over the past few months looking at teachers and parents’ perceptions of assessments• The main messages behind assessments• How and where to deliver these messages
Types of Research Conducted• Teacher focus groups• Parent focus groups• Teacher survey• Secondary research
Todays Objectives• Understanding the importance of assessments and the critical role you play in communicating this• Background information about the research the district Communications Strategy has conducted over the past few months looking at teachers and parents’ perceptions of assessments• The main messages behind assessments• How and where to deliver these messages
What Teachers Care About• The district is developing and implementing helpful assessments that are easier and faster to use• The district has listened to their input regarding assessments and responded with assessments that are based on standards and align with classroom instruction• Assessments benefit the growth and overall achievement of individual students through progress monitoring and personalized information
What Parents Care About• The growth and achievement of their individual child• How they can help their child achieve• That their child is prepared for tests• What they hear from teachers
Assessment Communications Strategy• Focus on teachers• Parents depend on teachers for communications and understanding regarding academic performance• Teachers understanding is key for parent understanding – teachers are the messengers• This strategy lays the groundwork for LEAP• Additional resources and tools (e.g. new Parent Portal) for parents are not available yet
Todays Objectives• Understanding the importance of assessments and the critical role you play in communicating this• Background information about the research the district The Vision and Goals has conducted over the past few months looking at teachers and parents’ perceptions of assessments• The main messages behind assessments• How and where to deliver these messages
Context• DPS assessments are: o Developed through an intentional and purposeful process o Driven by teacher feedback o Focused on the ultimate goal of student achievement o In accordance with guidelines set by SB 10-191 o Part of 2011-2012 roll out of assessments in response to feedback o Part of a continuous process of updates and enhancements
How and Why DPS’ Improved Assessments Will Promote Student Achievement By Being More: How Why Personalized Efficient Promoting Individual Student Achievement Meaningful Connected
Personalized • More frequent assessments measure individual student growth and progress, allowing teachers to evaluate and address students’ needs more precisely
Efficient • Administering assessments through an online platform takes less time and is easier, giving teachers more time with students and less time grading papers and entering data.
Meaningful • Assessments have improved reporting capabilities, producing faster results with clear graphs, so teachers can use the information in a timely and impactful way
Connected • Assessments align with standards and curriculum, providing an accurate and more complete picture of what a student should know each day
Parent Message Framework DPS’ Improved Tests Will Promote Student Achievement By Being More: How Why This Helps Why This Helps Teachers ParentsEfficient and Meaningful Promoting IndividualConnected and Personalized Student Achievement
Efficient and Meaningful • Efficient and meaningful results and tests mean more teaching time
Connected and Personalized • Connected and personalized tests reflect curriculum and get integrated into classroom instruction
Todays Objectives• Understanding the importance of assessments and the critical role you play in communicating this• Background information about the research the district Tools for Communicating has conducted over the past few months looking at teachers and parents’ perceptions of assessments• The main messages behind assessments• How and where to deliver these messages
The Role of Stories• Messages need stories• For audiences to fully appreciate the value of district assessments, it is critical that you provide them with examples• The general structure of effective message delivery is: o The claim is the compelling, high-level message o The fact is the specific action and method through which the message comes to fruition o The illustrative examples are actual stories and quotes that demonstrate the reality of the message being delivered
Example CLAIM: Assessments take less time and are easier to administer through an online platform. FACT: In order to better focus the time spent teaching, the district introduced K-5 computer-based ,adaptive reading assessments, which will be easier to administer, will take less time, and will be integrated into classroom instruction. ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE 1: “Love it! It is about time we get a tool like this – quick, informative, manageable and data driven.” (Teacher) ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE 2: “School was really fun today because we got to go to the computer lab and take a test.” (Elementary Student)
Recommended VocabularyTry This• DPS tests• State and district tests• “Help individual students”• “Help you help your child”• Growth• Progress• Achievement• Connected to classroom curriculum• More accurate
Recommended VocabularyTry This• Personalized• Tied to what students are taught in the classroom• Teachers can help parents with the results and what to do with them• Test scores and grades go hand-in-hand• Faster results• Clear reports• Quick pulse checks to diagnose and adjust
Recommended VocabularyInstead of That• Assessment (especially with parents)• Acronyms and jargon• Specific tests’ name (especially with parents)• CSAP (now TCAP)• Frequent testing, more testing
Keep In Mind• Think about what you say and how you say it• Put on your “instructional hat” (i.e. be a teacher) when you are speaking• Remember that assessments are a work in progress; continue to talk to teachers, ISs, ARE, etc.• WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR FEEDBACK