Practice Activity: Leading a Problem Clarification Process
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School D

2000 MSPAP data indicate that only 20 percent of students in grade 8 are scoring at the satisfactory level in reading. 14 percent of the male population scored at the satisfactory level, and 27 percent of the female population scored at the satisfactory level. Further analysis revealed that, of the African American population, 12.5 percent scored at the satisfactory level, and 21.6 percent of the Caucasian population scored at the satisfactory level.

2000 MSPAP data indicate that only 45.1 percent of students in grade 8 are scoring at the satisfactory level in writing. 37 percent of the male population scored at the satisfactory level, and 53.8 percent of the female population scored at the satisfactory level. Further analysis revealed that, of the African American population, 21.4 percent scored at the satisfactory level, and 41.9 percent of the Caucasian population scored at the satisfactory level.

2000 MSPAP data indicate that 61.1 percent of students in grade 8 are scoring at the satisfactory level in math. 63.7 percent of the male population scored at the satisfactory level, and 58.2 percent of the female population scored at the satisfactory level. Further analysis revealed that, of the African American population, 42.9 percent scored at the satisfactory level, and 64.4 percent of the Caucasian population scored at the satisfactory level.

The two areas of greatest academic need are reading and writing. A root cause could possibly be the teacher's lack of knowledge or clarity of the type of assessments used on MSPAP. A question we need to ask is if staff at our school know what is expected of students based on Maryland Learner Outcomes and what is tested on MSPAP. Another root cause may be the type of assessment used in classrooms. A question we need to ask may be: "Is the assessment the teacher is using telling you what you need to know about student learning?" Other factors to be considered are:

  1. Lack of individual student accountability
  2. Lack of parental support
  3. Lack of parental responsibility
  4. Students transitioning to the middle school may not be developmentally ready to handle middle school level reading.
2000 MSPAP data shows our school's greatest area of need is reading, followed second by writing. Our data shows us two concerns, one related to gender and the other related to race. In the area of reading and writing our female population scored 13 percentage points higher in reading and 16.5 percentage points higher in writing than our male population. Another area of concern is the gap between our African American students and our Caucasian students. The Caucasian student population scored 9.1 percentage points higher in reading and 27.7 percentage points higher in writing than the African American population. Our satisfactory math score, overall, was significantly higher than the other two areas. A concerning discrepancy in math, though, was the score of our Caucasian student population compared to our African American population. In the area of math, our Caucasian student population score 21.5 percentage points higher than our African American population.

If we look at our MSPAP satisfactory scores, we can assume that the strategies addressed need to include those that reach our male population as well as our African American population.

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