Thursday, January 5, 2012

KNIGHTDALE - A SAS-developed data analysis system meant to help boost student performance has improved teacher effectiveness in Knightdale through special training sessions, educators say.This year, Knightdale schools – Knightdale High, East Wake Middle, Hodge Road Elementary, Knightdale Elementary, Lockhart Elementary, Forestville Road Elementary, and Lake Myra Elementary – were chosen to pilot a new SAS Institute training program meant to help principals and teachers understand the teacher-efficiency data.
The Education Value-Added Assessment System, or EVAAS, uses a student’s past test scores to determine the probability of having success in a subject. It also measures an instructor’s ability to effectively teach specific subjects or student learning-levels.
EVAAS is used throughout Wake County schools. But SAS needed to measure how effective their program developers were in training teachers to use EVAAS data. Knightdale 100, an educational advocacy group, lobbied SAS and Wake Schools for the pilot and won.
So during the fall semester, EVAAS trainers held instructional sessions for Knightdale educators – hoping to maximize the system’s potential.
“The educators gave us direct feedback as to whether they were understanding what they were being taught,” said Sandy Horn, who developed EVAAS with SAS.
SAS reps said feedback was “overwhelmingly positive.”
“In some cases, teachers told us that they had used the student projections a great deal. But they hadn’t used the part that shows student progress,” said Stefani Barbero, SAS manager of educator support services for EVAAS. “They broadened their knowledge.”
EVAAS shows teachers how effective they are at teaching certain subgroups of students. The subgroups are broken down by low, moderate, and high-achieving students.
So if tests show that a teacher is not as effective teaching, say, high-achieving students, the teacher can change his teaching methods with those students.
Knightdale High this fall learned about subgroups for the first time.
“In the past we only focused on the overall proficiency rating. The EVAAS training allowed our department to look deeper and determine how successful we are at each of achievement levels,” said Melody Solomon, Social Studies Department Chair at Knightdale High. “We reviewed the data in our PLT (Professional Learning Team) meetings and discussed how to differentiate based on the past performance at each achievement level.”
“Our teachers really appreciated the opportunity to learn more about EVAAS and how to use the data to inform instructional practices,” said Carla Jernigan, Knightdale High principal. “The training materials were well designed and easy to follow and the help windows within each report provide even more information to assist with understanding the reports.”
Added Nancy Allen, East Wake Middle principal: “The training was extremely valuable to us ... I learned a lot, which says something because I was pretty well-schooled on (EVAAS) already.”

http://www.easternwakenews.com/2012/01/04/14775/educators-get-extra-training-in.htmlTimeline: Knightdale 100 lures SAS
Specht: 919-829-4826


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