4) Performance Measurement

4) Performance Measurement.

Note: The Department is particularly interested in seeking public input and suggestions on rigorous, relevant, and actionable performance measures that will assist grantees and the Department in managing both leading indicators of implementation success and outcome measures of performance.

The extent to which the applicant has established annual ambitious yet achievable annual targets for:

  1. The number and percentage of participating students, by subgroup (as defined by this document), who have daily access to effective and highly effective educators (as defined in Race to the Top);
  2. The number and percentage of participating students, by subgroup, who are on-track to college- and career-readiness based on the LEA on-track indicator (as defined in this document);
  3. The number and percentage of participating students, by subgroup, who were not on-track at the beginning of the school year but who have caught up by the end of the school year based on the LEA on-track indicator(as defined in this document);
  4. The percentage of participating students who access their personalized learning plan (as defined in this document) on a weekly basis;
  5. The graduation rate (as defined in this document) of participating high-needs students (as defined in this document);
  6. The number and percentage of participating educators who complete a survey on working conditions; and
  7. The number and percentage of participating students who complete a student survey (as defined in this document).

Comments

In-class performance (in the form of the delivered instruction and curriculum) are readily measurable.

Academic engagement time (the percentage of time in which students appear academically engaged) can be measured to fairly high precision using sophisticated timing devices (http://standardsco.com/mobile_sapphire), as discussed in "Bell to Bell: Measuring Classroom Time Usage" (ERIC #ED519030) . The use of research-based teaching strategies (e.g., cognitive rigor of in-class questions, use of scaffolding, relevance development) can also be measured during classroom observations and used to generate an instructional quailty index. (See "Modeling Achievement by Measuring the Enacted Instruction" (ERIC #ED516290).

Curricular materials can be collected and analyzed for alignment to standards and cognitive rigor [see "Cognitive Rigor: Blending the Strengths of Bloom's Taxonomy and Webb's Depth of Knowledge to Enhance Classroom-Level Processes" (ED517804)], as well as its ability to adequately sample topics on the state assessments. [See "Congruence Function for Measuring the Extent of Coverage of the Enacted Curriculum and District Pacing Calendars to State Assessments" (ERIC #ED516362).]

All five measures (i.e., alignmetn to standards, cognitive rigor, state assessment sampling, academic engagement time, and use of best-practices) can generate a classroom-level quality index, which is modeled on the old Walberg model but stripped of its non-strategic variables. Teacher evaluations can be based (at least partly) on this index. Most importantly, each variable that forms the indices lies within the teacher's control and for which can be linked to professional development.

Regarding the Performance Measurement component under District capacity and success factors, one of the proposed measures is “The extent to which the applicant has established annual ambitious yet achievable annual targets for:…The number and percentage of participating educators who complete a survey on working conditions;”

There is also a measure described as “The number and percentage of participating students who complete a student survey (as defined in this document).”

However, unlike student surveys, which are incorporated into other provisions of the RTT-D proposal, there is no mention, nor incorporation of, working condition surveys anywhere else in the RTT-D proposal. We strongly support completion of working surveys as a performance measure, but suggest that it also be incorporated into other provisions of the proposal to strengthen its relevance and connection to the overall proposal. For example, it could be included in the superintendent and school board evaluations, as both these categories of individuals have a great deal of influence over working conditions in a given school district.

A performance measurement should include a requirement that the district/consortium “capture” the best practices developed under the project and create a specific, measureable plan to disseminate the information to other districts and stakeholders. Data can certainly provide a successful measurement of the project but if the project is not replicable as a training tool (ie, professional development, modeling by highly effective teachers, web based training modules), it seems a missed opportunity to implement the successes in other districts.