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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

For Teachers in Grades 3-6 (Saxon Common Assessments)

Thank you for getting the results of the Saxon Common Assessments to me. We all now see how the mechanism works as far as entering data and reporting it to your principal and the central office. As we approach the next common assessment, here are a several questions you may have:

What do I do with the answers from the last assessment?

The easiest thing to do is make a copy of the spreadsheet. (Right click on the icon. Choose “Copy.” Click somewhere else. Right click and choose “Paste.”) Rename your new spreadsheet. (Right-click on the icon and choose “Rename.”) That way, you still have your old data. You can look at it and disaggregate it any way you wish.

What about the students who are no longer with me?

If you want to simply leave them on the spreadsheet, you can. It will not hurt anything and having their names on your spreadsheet will not impact your scores. If you want to get rid of extra student, highlight the name and other data about that student and delete the information. Be sure to do this on the tab that says “Enter Answers.” The entire “Results” tab is protected so that you cannot make any changes. On the “Enter Answers” tab, you will also not be able to delete the student’s average. Deleting the answers will automatically get rid of the average automatically.

What will happen with the data?

From the moment you entered data in the spreadsheet, you could begin to see strengths and weaknesses in your class without going through a lengthy process of conducting item analysis. For those who have significant subgroups, you have been able to see a graph of each of those subgroups with the click of a mouse. Your principal has been able to see how all classes in the school are performing.

At the district level, I will be putting together graphs that show how our district as a whole is doing. At each grade level, we will be able to tell question-by-question how our students performed and also break down that data to show how various subgroups performed on each question. I will send your principal information on how each grade level at your school performed. What I will not be doing is sending any rank order of teacher or school. You will be able to see how your class performed versus the school system as a whole. No other teacher will know your scores.

Can I use this spreadsheet for things other than Saxon common assessments?

Yes! That’s the beauty of it. You can use it on any multiple choice test. Just make a copy of the spreadsheet, give it a new name, and use it with any multiple-choice test.

Could junior high or high school teachers use this spreadsheet?

Absolutely! We had the immediate need at the elementary level of a tool that would conduct item analysis. We have one, it requires no special equipment, and it’s free. Any teacher in our school system can download it from here.

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