Wolcott's Weekly Whats Up

Office of Teaching & Learning 1.14.2015

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Quote of Note

It seems the growth mindset has run amok. Kids are being offered empty praise for just trying. Effort itself has become praise-worthy without the goal it was meant to unleash: learning. Parents tell her that they have a growth mindset, but then they react with anxiety or false affect to a child’s struggle or setback. “They need a learning reaction – ‘what did you do?’, ‘what can we do next?’”

-- Carol Dweck (See article below)

Teaching and Learning Updates

PARCC Resources

PARCC announced in the fall a great resource for schools to begin preparing for the April administration. Interested staff are encouraged to go to www.prc.parcconline.org. To access this resource, Illinois educators enter the code IL1818 after filling out the log-in screen.

The following items can be found to assist teachers and administrators:

  • PARCC Released Items
  • Item Bank
  • Assessment
  • Technology Readiness
  • Professional Learning
  • Library

Attention Kindergarten Teachers

Full implementation is still scheduled for 2017-18, however, what will be required for state purposes is still being decided. The following changes are being considered :

  • A reduction to 14 measures of school readiness that, based on the research literature, were determined to be most predictive of school success. All domains and measures in the KIDS instrument will be available for local use.
  • All kindergarten students rated in the first 40 days of enrollment and data reported to the state through the KIDStech rating system to provide comparable data. The second and third rating periods will be available for local use, but not required.
  • Local assessment systems, which continue to be determined by local districts, can offer evidence utilized to report psychometrically valid and reliable ratings in the KIDS rating system.

We are in conversations with KIDS staff to begin training all D68 kindergarten teachers later this Spring.

Science Assessment Update

Illinois stopped giving a science test several years ago. This past summer Illinois was charged by the US Department of Education to begin testing students in science again. Although previous testing was in grades 4 and 7, the new assessment will be for students in grades 5 and 8. The new test will be delivered to students in an online format. We received word on Wednesday that the test window will be open all of May. Once further information is given to us, we will share with all of you.

Fun Thursday Parody Video

Musical Morning Announcements with Gabrielle Union


We have partnered with First Education US to offer a two-day Standards, Assessment and Grading conference here in Woodridge this summer. The Institute brings some of the best in the field right here to our backyard.

Staff interested in attending the Illinois SAG Institute below will receive one internal University credit. More information will come in early February.

Leading and Learning Resources

Keys to Effective Implementation of RTI

In this Education Week article, Amanda VanDerHeyden (Education Research & Consulting), Matthew Burns (University of Missouri), Rachel Brown (University of Southern Maine), Mark Shinn (National Louis University/Chicago), Stevan Kubic (National Center for Learning Disabilities), Kim Gibbons (University of Minnesota), George Batsche (University of South Florida), and David Tilly (Iowa Department of Education) say that starting in 2001, RTI spread among U.S. schools “like the latest diet fad.” Response to Intervention “is designed to remove the oh-so-human temptation to speculate and slowly mull over learning problems and instead spur teachers into action to improve learning, see if the actions worked, and make adjustments in a continuous loop. Guided by assessment data, children progress through a series of instructional tiers experiencing increasingly intensive instruction as needed.”

Sounds pretty straightforward. “However,” say the authors, “knowing what works and doing what works are two different endeavors. It is difficult for people to successfully follow diets, stick to budgets, and, yes, to implement RTI.” VanDerHeyden and her colleagues suggest four “implementation pearls” to avoid ineffective implementation of RTI:

  • With screening, less is more. Over-testing is a problem in many schools, say the authors, chewing up as much as 25 percent of instructional time and producing far more data than can be used. Teachers need to select the most accurate, strategic assessment tools and use every bit of the data they generate
  • Focus on Tier 1 instruction. “Every teacher should be supported to know exactly what students are expected to learn within their grade level, to map a calendar of instruction onto that timeline using resources beyond the textbook, and to assess student mastery of skills,” say VanDerHeyden et al. “When core instruction is strong, a majority of students perform in the ‘not-at-risk’ range on screening.” When a significant number of students (20 percent or more) don’t show mastery on an assessment, the best thing is for the teacher to rethink the segment and teach it again for the whole class. “Improvements to core instruction require serious teamwork, trust, and a paradigm shift in schools in which teachers may be accustomed to working in isolation,” say the authors.
  • Use interventions matched to students’ needs. “At the surface level,” say VanDerHeyden et al., “targeting reading fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, phonics, and phonemic awareness for the weakest students sounds great. But intervening without consideration for what a student specifically needs is like choosing an antibiotic without identifying the bacteria causing the infection.” Implementing a poorly chosen Tier 2 or 3 intervention for 20 weeks is not very strategic, yet that’s what many schools are doing.
  • Intervention intensity is not the same as “longer and louder.” The key is aligning effective interventions with what struggling students need and constantly fine-tuning with an eye to what’s bringing each student to proficiency.

"RTI Works (When It Is Implemented Correctly)” by Amanda VanDerHeyden, Matthew Burns, Rachel Brown, Mark Shinn, Stevan Kubic, Kim Gibbons, George Batsche, and David Tilly in Education Week, January 6, 2016 (Vol. 35, #15 p. 25), www.edweek.org

How To Help Every Child Fulfil Their Potential

Principal Reminders

  • PARCC 1. Please make sure staff that are involved with PARCC testing have their passwords and can log into both the TestNav and PARCC Live sites. If password assistance is needed, please contact Kim Superits.
  • PARCC 2. Kim will be sending each principal a PARCC Assessment Pre-ID Report on Tuesday. Please make sure all students who need a PNP are listed on this report and accommodations are correct. If problems, contact Kim by Monday, January 25th by 8:00 am so she can upload to the state by noon.
  • District Spelling Bee. The Bee is on Tuesday, January 26th beginning at 6:30 in the Jefferson Main Gym. Please plan on attending.
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