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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ugh...I hate data!


That's what I feel after looking at my teaching goals and the associated data for the year.

I know how hard I have worked with some of my students and all the extra work that my paraprofessional has put into interventions with some of my students. 

I have one child that is going to be retained.  His parents have the paperwork to sign as I type.  I have another child with some health issues that I would like to retain.  His health and lack of attendance (partly due to doctor appointments, partly not) combined with his progress basically stalling out in January doesn't bode well for first grade.  He is not meeting goals for kindergarten and will sink in first grade.  His parents have put off the meeting to determine a health plan and best placement for him for next year.  I am hoping to get it rescheduled by the end of the week.  I have another child that is finally, slowly making progress.  She's not meeting end of year goals but is making steady progress toward them.  Her parents, even after talking about the possibility of retention at our March conference, seem startled by the fact that we would like to meet with them to discuss next year's placement.  So, yes, that is a total of three possible retentions from my class of 18.

Of my other 15 kiddos...there are some very high students, some who are right at grade level.  I'm pretty happy with the progress of most.  However, there is a group of kids (about 5) that did not meet the end of year goal for writing.  Three of those five are only a half-point away on the rubric, which, in most cases, means that they either didn't have enough details or style and voice wasn't quite strong enough.  My readers were similar.  There were 7 that didn't meet the end of year goal.  6 of those 7 were one level below the goal.  All 7 of those students came to school without knowing more than a handful of letters (mostly just those in their name or less) and zero sounds and all but one made it to a level C.  I think that's pretty good, but it's not the end of year goal.


I understand we need goals for students to be sure they will learn everything they need to learn.  However, I also know that the kids that are struggling now, most likely, will be just fine by second grade.  They will take off in their reading once they get to levels with more interesting books.  They will take off in their writing also, once it becomes easier to hear the sounds and write them down rather than having to put so much thought into each and every letter they put onto the page.

I know these things.

I still don't feel great about my students not all meeting the end of year goals.  It's never happened.  Not once, in all my teaching years...oh my, 13 years.  Every year we come close, every year I feel disappointed because I know that "people" will look at the numbers and not know the child.  They will see that there are kids that didn't meet the goal but they will not know who's parents divorced during the school year, who had health problems, who's parents were involved at home and who's parents were not.  They don't know how hard my littlest peanut worked to pass the first text level this year.  They don't know that after working hard all year and being in intervention groups all year, he finally passed the first level on May 30th and we celebrated and gave him high fives.

They just don't know.

But I do. 

I have to remember the huge amounts of growth my students made this year even when they didn't meet the end of year goal.  I have to help them celebrate what they did and learned this year.

Because I know and I am proud of them!


  1. I'm sure I don't have as much data to do as you - but preschool is fast approaching these levels. These words resonate with me - "They will see that there are kids that didn't meet the goal but they will not know who's parents divorced during the school year, who had health problems, who's parents were involved at home and who's parents were not." This is the heart of what is difficult about data - numbers don't tell the whole story.

  2. That is why the story also matters as much as the data! Good work!

  3. That is when you look at individual goals for children and you ' know' they did great :-) So much happens for kids in first and second grade and you've provided them with a strong foundation it sounds.