By now, many of you have already come in for your first parent conference of the year. If you haven’t yet, don’t worry! Division heads are working through their student rosters and individually reaching out to families.
As some are already aware, a new addition to the Pilot program this year is the use of the aimsweb Plus benchmarking and progress monitoring tools. These assessments are short (1-2 minute), highly sensitive measures that are able to track small improvements in areas of reading and math. Not only does the system allow us to consider our students using nationally normed data, but we can also carefully watch a student’s progress toward their reading and math goals on a weekly basis. The reports give teachers nuanced information about where students are succeeding and struggling, and allows us to be laser-focused in our programming.
So why not just rely on intuition? Indeed, I speak with great conviction when I say that education is as much an art as it is a science. But data helps us to check our gut feelings about students. In a recent article we considered as a faculty, Mike Petrilli of The Fordham Institute reported on the college gender gap and tracked the lower enrollment of boys in college all the way back to kindergarten. In light of his findings, Petrilli emphasized the need for teachers to use formative assessments (like aimsweb Plus) to help fight implicit bias that seems to bubble up across both racial and gender lines.
At Pilot, our use of these micro-assessment helps us to make programmatic decisions from as informed a place as possible. While it is certainly not the only data point we would consider for the students in our care, it offers one more facet to our intricate and individualized program design.
As many of you have come to know, I love talking data! So if you are interested in talking more about the aimsweb testing–in general or specifically about your own child–don’t hesitate to reach out.