Archived Story

A data-rich county

Published 6:47pm Saturday, September 7, 2013

In a day and age when the loudest cries are for less testing in schools, one local school is tear-free.

Chocowinity Primary School was recently recognized as one of the top Title I schools in the state.

Title I schools receive federal funds to meet the needs of low-income and at-risk students. Principal Alicia Vosburgh said the funding is based on the number of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches. The school uses Title I funding for tutors.

CPS was named a “highest performing school” based on test scores for three consecutive years ending in 2012. The distinction is given to the top 10 percent of Title I schools with the best assessment scores.

For the three years the Title I officials examined, overall test scores constantly improved. There were also measurable improvements in subgroups, when each demographic was examined separately.

Chocowinity Primary’s staff has not only utilized the state assessment results but also administered their own assessments.

Vosburgh calls it “data rich.” Schools have so much data available to them, but few take advantage of all of it.

Vosburgh described a process in which each teacher gets involved in tracking the students’ progress. Students are identified on a data wall with color-coded stickers for things like transfer students, test scores and reading comprehension. Staff members break down the data available to them into a visual aid by which the staff, as a whole, can track the progress of each student and plan their lessons accordingly. They determine where students are weak and the week’s lesson plan accordingly.

This diligent monitoring wasn’t the only practice that led to improved test scores. But, it was a practice that could easily be duplicated at other schools. Every student has a right to instruction keenly adapted to his or her needs.

So, why aren’t all schools using Vosburgh’s model and witnessing similar results? There is no clear answer to that question. Perhaps, a data-rich assessment is in order.


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