As a report developer, it can be tempting to get caught up in fancy interactive visualizations with drill down and all the bells and whistles. The longer I do this work, however, the more it seems that the reports that have the biggest impact for educators are simple reports that streamline and automate existing processes. The EL Reclassification and RFEP Monitoring reports that Brian Curwick highlights in this blog post are a perfect example of that.
There are a couple phrases from Brian’s post that really stand out to me: “helps teachers” and “helps principals.” There’s really not much else to say. That’s the end-game of our work here at Illuminate. If we can build things that help teachers and help principals, then we’ve done our job.
Riverdale Joint Unified was one of the very first school districts to use the BI Tool and the Report Building Service to streamline EL reclassification and RFEP monitoring. Now, many more districts are jumping on board because the benefits are so clear and so concrete.
Brian’s post below tells the story well. If you’re curious about using Illuminate’s Report Building Service to get similar reports built for your district, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can chat.
Director of Data Visualization Services
BI Tool: Meaningful Reports for English Learner (EL) Reclassification & Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) Monitoring
By: Brian Curwick, Riverdale Joint Unified School District
When I initially joined Riverdale Joint Unified SD as Director of Instructional Services, one of my first tasks was to revise the district’s English Learner Master Plan. This document is meant to be a full accounting of our district’s practices to ensure the success of our English Learners (ELs), including instructional strategies, procedural details, and assessment tools, as well as a detailed description of how we meet California’s state requirements around EL reclassification.
The process of reviewing the state mandate specifications and our own Master Plan revealed two key insights to me. First, that the data and processes encompassed by these documents could not live in the back of the filing cabinet. If our Master Plan indeed articulates and outlines how we support our ELs–who indeed comprise a significant portion of our overall student population–all stakeholders need to readily understand what those supports look like. At the time, that was not yet the case in our district.
Second, I suspected that the complexity of the requirements and decision making processes probably made it very difficult for teachers to make meaning of the data we gather with our ELs–a hypothesis that proved to be correct. We needed to find a way to not only support educators through the process of reclassification but also to help them use the data to visualize students’ current strengths and needs to guide the right next steps, and ultimately, help ELs reclassify sooner.
Upon the recommendation of a colleague, I decided to start working with Franck on a Business Intelligence (BI) Tool report in Illuminate DnA to do just that. Over the years, we have completed a few different iterations. Today, our EL Reclassification Report is both a data report and a workflow tool that guides educators through the decision making process and drives instructional decisions.
In California, students are required to meet four criteria in order to reclassify. Some of those indicators are fixed, such as the ELPAC score, and some can be chosen locally by each district, such as how students are measured against their grade level peers in English Language Arts. The image above shows the first two criteria, which determine eligibility:
- All student must meet the ELPAC criteria
- All students must either a) receive a passing proficiency level on the state Smarter Balanced (SBAC) English Language Arts assessment or b) perform at grade-level on their FastBridge reading score, barring an ELA score of 1 on the SBAC
If the student meets those eligibility criteria, there are two other requirements:
- Teacher evaluation, earning a 2 or above in each area of evaluation
- Parent consultation
This report has done a number of things for our district.
- It streamlines the data collection and helps us see where specifically a student is struggling or not meeting the reclassification requirements. Knowing where a student’s need is helps us meet the student where they are and provide impactful supports that accelerate growth with our ELs.
- It helps teachers quickly understand their students’ levels so they can create thoughtful student groupings in their classroom that support student success–whether grouping students across different levels or within similar levels.
- It ensures that reclassification decisions are indeed based on the four criteria–not other factors, such as homework completion or engagement. It’s not that those factors aren’t important to student success, it’s just that they aren’t criteria for reclassification. Therefore, students shouldn’t be held back from reclassification based on those types of concerns; those issues should be addressed through other appropriate supports.
- It helps teachers facilitate conversations with students to help them engage as stakeholders in their own data.
In addition to our EL Reclassification Report, we also developed a Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) 4 Year Follow Up Report. This report helps our principals monitor and track the progress of newly reclassified students, which the state mandates must be done for four years.
The report pulls together data for each of our four RFEP Follow Up criteria: (1) GPA (2) District Assessment Level (3) CAASPP ELA Level, and (4) Attendance. It also automatically calculates whether adequate progress has been made, based on our district’s unique cut points.
The color coding in the report helps principals quickly understand which students are making adequate progress and who is not. Importantly, for students who are not progressing, the report helps our principals determine where specifically those supports should be aligned. It’s an extremely efficient way to not only comply with RFEP accountability reporting requirements, but also drive meaningful supports for the students who need them.
It helps the principals to determine what district interventions to put into place for the student/s in need.
Although still a work in progress, these reports have already helped solidify our support processes for ELs and increased teachers’ ability to use those data in the classroom. Without these visualizations, it was almost impossible to get a holistic view of where students were in their reclassification progress and determine where to provide more support to help them reclassify faster.
In completing this work, I realized that these reports felt very personal to our district, because they reflect our unique criteria, measures, and cut points–both in the report design and in the calculations behind the scenes. But really, this is a common need in our state. If you are a California district, I recommend reaching out to Illuminate about customizing the report around your unique measures and cut points.
Illuminate Education equips educators to take a data-driven approach to serving the whole child. Our solution combines comprehensive assessment, MTSS management and collaboration, and real-time dashboard tools, and puts them in the hands of educators. As a result, educators can monitor learning and growth, identify academic and social-emotional behavioral needs, and align targeted supports in order to accelerate learning for each student.
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