Sophia, a speech and language pathologist, wrote seeking help creating a measure of student growth. I forwarded her DESE’s latest Implementation Brief SISP, designed to support specialized instruction support personnel in building DDMs.
When Sophia responded, she questioned how she could follow the Implementation Brief’s advice to conduct a peer review or administer checklists to measure the quality of collaboration. She writes, “When would [I] have the time to collect the data outside the workday? [I am] not given time in the schedule for this.” Note: Sophia has a caseload of 39.
As an alternative, I sent Sophia this plan to build a DDM based on assessments and data she is already collecting.
1) Assemble a group of students working on the same sort of challenge, say articulation. Use your most populous service area to create as large a cohort as possible.
2) Identify a screening tool that measures how these students are functioning (preferably one you are already using).
3) Select a time period (one school year, a half-year, or whatever best aligns with your work). Administer the screen at the beginning and end of that time period (as you are probably already doing).
4) Determine one year’s expected growth for a student as measured by this screen (you may already define this in the IEP). Students who achieve that expected growth show moderate growth, significantly less show low growth, and significantly greater show high growth.
Even though you already expect different amounts of growth from each of your students (based on the nature of their identified disability), track growth for each and label that growth low, mod, or high based upon your individual expectations for them. Essentially, you’d be taking a moment at the end of the year to step back from your work, look at a cohort of your students, and make a general statement about their rates of growth. Sticking with data you already gather helps avoid an undue extra burden.