Section 4: Using this System for Planning and Instruction
OGT data can help school teams create and evaluate intervention strategies to help students achieve proficiency in all subjects. This section will help you by defining intervention, describing strategies for helping students who need to retake the OGT, and assessing current intervention strategies.
For example, by viewing students who scored below proficient in a subject, Intervention Teachers and Grade 11 Teachers can use the Data Interpretation template and Intervention Strategies Evaluation Checklist to develop intervention strategies. School Leaders can also use these templates to make infrastructure choices on professional development and course availability.
When reflecting on the performance of students who have taken the OGT multiple times, teachers and school leaders need to analyze not only the OGT data but all existing student performance data, including class work, homework, classroom assessments, and portfolio or project work. For a detailed list of the different sources of data you may use to get a holistic picture of a student’s academic performance, download the Multiple Sources of Data Template.
In order for intervention strategies to help students succeed when they retake the OGT, both the instructional materials and the instructional approach should be based on scaffolding, where the instructor gradually decreases the level of support until the student is able to work on his or her own.
Intervention instruction should begin with materials that are easy for students to understand and then systematically increase in difficulty as students progress to grade-level proficiency. Intervention strategies should follow a similar path and
- provide students with explicit strategies for comprehending the material they are working on, such as modeling, thinking aloud, and using graphic organizers and concrete materials;
- encourage students to gradually internalize these strategies so that they can process the information without explicitly using the strategies.
The Intervention Strategies Evaluation Checklist is another useful tool for School Leaders and Teachers to consider additional instructional components that are essential for an intervention program to succeed in raising the performance level of students who need to retake the OGT.
Providing focused intervention to build skills and confidence in weak areas. Students who retake the OGT need support so that they will build confidence and score at Proficient or higher on all five tests. Use Online Score Report and View All Students’ Scores data to pinpoint the instructional needs of students retaking the OGT. Teachers and School Leaders can then view individual student data online. Discussing individual data with students in a confidential setting can help motivate students who need to retake the OGT.
Intervention can be accomplished in a variety of ways. An intervention program may include the following:
- Intervention courses during the school day
- Intervention courses after school
- After-school tutoring by content teachers
- Peer tutors
- Community mentors
“It is more effective to help students develop the knowledge and skills they need, so that they will feel confident when they encounter these topics on the test” (Ergene).
Students Retaking the OGT Multiple Times. When analyzing the OGT data of a student who has repeatedly struggled with the test, look for patterns of performance between the different administrations of the OGT.
- Is the student having difficulty with the same content standards in each administration, or does the student’s performance on the content standards vary from test to test?
- If the student is struggling with the same content standards, what types of questions is the student missing? Are there particular skills that the student needs to improve? What strategies can you use to target these skills?
- If the student’s performance on the content standards varies, what other factors, such as test anxiety or particular learning disabilities, could be causing the student to repeatedly struggle on the test? What resources are available to you to explore this further and pinpoint how you can best help the student improve?
Helping Students Reduce Their Test Anxiety. Test anxiety can reduce the efficacy of tests in measuring what students actually know. The research on reducing test anxiety indicates that pursuing psychological or social interventions to make students feel better about themselves is not the best approach. Rather, students need help developing the knowledge and skills that they will need to feel confident about a test (Ergene).
OGT data provide you with specific academic content standards, allowing teachers to see where their students need help, as well as individual student data that shows each student's performance on the OGT at the subject level.
In addition, you can also help motivate students by giving them positive reinforcement. For example, you can chart each student’s progress and explicitly point out the areas in which the student is progressing and celebrate his or her achievements, even if the student is progressing by only a small amount. This attention to student successes, rather than failures, will motivate them to keep trying.
As their teacher, you are also the coach and cheerleader for these struggling students. Let the students know that you believe in their ability to succeed on the OGT and that you will not give up on them.
School leaders provide support to teachers to prepare students to retake the OGT and to evaluate program offerings. By providing oversight you can ensure that teachers use OGT data to inform planning and instruction. When you schedule observations with individual teachers or attend collaborative teacher team meetings, you should review what you and your staff have done with data from this site. Following are some tools to help you in this process:
In your next School Leadership Team meeting, use the Data Interpretation Template and Action Plan with the Intervention Strategies Evaluation Checklist to help your team discuss your current intervention strategies. With this checklist, consider your team’s next steps to improve or add to your school’s intervention plans.
Although the bulk of planning and instruction happens at the school and classroom level, it is important for School Leaders to be aware of new methods and strategies that are being used at the high school level. School Leaders may complete the Intervention Strategies Evaluation Checklist with their School Leadership Team and then discuss possible high school course additions or adaptations with their principal(s). After this discussion, refer to the Professional Development Planning Checklist to plan any additional professional development at the district level.