Research and Evaluation

December 2015

Questions are More Important than Answers

Final Exams Fall 2015

As of Wednesday afternoon, December 16 over 45,000 Final Exams had been scanned into Illuminate. We will be revisiting the previous End of Course exams and formulating a plan for 2016-17 with the input of key stakeholders across our district. Our goal is to develop a comprehensive assessment framework that will help us make decisions that support teaching and learning using evidence, research and professional judgment to inform our choices.

The Times They Are A Changing (CAASPP Update)

Learning Wins! That was the title of a presentation from the California Department of Education (CDE) at the recent California Educational Research Association (CERA) conference. This message has been repeated up and down the state as California has entered a new era of state assessment, where "accountability as punishment" is transforming to "accountability for learning and improvement". The state is emphasizing three tools that the CDE has designed to support teaching and learning in California. Those tools are: 1) SBAC Summative Assessment, 2) Comprehensive and Block Interim Assessments, and 3) Digital Library. SUHSD schools will be exploring the Interim assessments and digging into the many resources in the Digital Library throughout the rest of this school year.

Accountability Takes a Back Seat to Learning

Quality First Instruction

Dr. Janney has consistently reminded us that we must focus on Quality First Instruction. Therefore, we will bring relevant research to light on this issue. I recently had a chance to review an upcoming book by John Hattie, Doug Fisher, and Nancy Frey in which they listed the qualities of what they call Quality Core Instruction.

Quality Core instruction includes at least the following:

  1. Teacher clarity on, and communication about, the learning intentions and success criteria

  2. Student ownership of the expectations for learning

  3. Positive, humane, growth-producing teacher-student relationships

  4. Modeling and direct instruction of content

  5. Collaborative learning opportunities on a daily basis

  6. Small group learning based on instructional needs rather than perceived ability

  7. Spaced (rather than massed) independent practice and application of content

From Fisher, Frey and Hattie (in publication)
Hattie's 8 Mindframes

Know Your Impact


Illuminate has hit prime time in SUHSD. This year’s Final Exams were the first big test of system wide use as the majority of our Final Exams were entered into Illuminate this week. We also had one Middle School class pilot the online testing aspect of Illuminate with great success. We hope to roll out more online testing with all Middle Schools in Spring 2016.

Training News

In January we will be training CIS coordinators, APs, and Blended Learning Specialists. In February, several district and site teams will attend the annual conference in San Diego. We are following the Trainer of Trainer models, so you will be sure to see these highly trained early adopters coming to a staff meeting or PLC near you in the coming months. You will find many more tips and resources on our Research and Evaluation Canvas page in the coming year.

Below is an Illuminate help video on how to find a Report using filter and search. Enjoy!

Find a report

Every Student Succeeds Act

Looks like we all need to memorize a new acronym: ESSA is the order of the day! It stands for “Every Student Succeeds Act”. This is the latest re-authorization of the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act which will go into effect in 2016-17. This new law shifts the responsibility for accountability back to the states and encourages a more holistic approach to gauge student and school performance. Here is a summary of the law.