Measuring Outcomes & Celebrating Successes

Preparing to Close Out School Year 23-24

Congratulations, teacher! You’ve worked hard all year long to hone your craft and deliver high-quality instruction to your students with disabilities. By now, you know them better than you could have imagined when the school year began last fall. We’re willing to bet you can easily answer these questions about every student you teach –

  • Favorite fidget toys? Check.
  • Best time of day to administer assessments to get the most accurate progress monitoring data? Check.
  • Preferred way of engaging with new content (technology, hands-on materials, books, other)? Check.
  • Names of siblings, pets, stuffed animals, favorite sports teams, and what they ate for breakfast? Also check.

You’ve built strong relationships and seen inspiring growth in their academic and personal goals. Now, you’re in the home stretch with summer vacation just around the corner.

With all the hard work you’ve poured into this school year, let’s be sure to end well. Wrapping up the 2023-2024 school year with good data will leave you with a clear picture of the progress your students have made and a great sense of pride in all their accomplishments.

Check out the strategies below for how to measure outcomes and celebrate student successes. Focusing on these two things will help you walk out the door on your last day with a clear mind ahead of a well-deserved break!

Measuring Outcomes

The last quarter of the school year is a critically important time to gather good data on student progress.

What do we mean by ‘good data’? 

Good data accurately reflects students’ academic achievement and functional performance. It represents student work across a variety of sources and settings over a period of time. Informative data should tie directly to a state/national standard and specific learning objective, and offer clear information about a student’s ability. Student progress can – and should – be measured in a number of different ways. Here are some of the most common means of measuring outcomes:

  • Benchmark assessments (progress on an individual skill over time)
  • Summative assessments (end-of-unit or posttest assessments)
  • Formative assessments (teacher-led and student-led technology lessons, worksheets, other activities that track progress on specific learning/IEP objectives)
  • Observational notes
  • Parent interviews
  • Student interviews
  • And plenty more!

Gathering data from multiple sources will provide the most accurate picture of a student’s academic achievement and functional performance when finalizing report cards and IEP progress notes. Doing so before the school year concludes ensures compliance documentation is set and next year’s teachers are equipped with the information they need to hit the ground running with effective instruction.

Plan Ahead!

The end of the school year is a busy time with many competing priorities. Between field trips, schoolwide assemblies, special schedule days, and more, it’s important to schedule the assessments you need as well as time to pull reports and analyze the data well before end-of-year report cards and progress notes are due. If you find yourself crunched for time and in need of metrics, err on the side of fewer questions/assessments in favor of getting authentic data that speaks to a student’s true abilities. Trying to cram too many lessons into a short period of time is stressful for you and your student.

enCORE Data Collection and Reporting

enCORE is our K-12 adapted core curriculum that offers a blended learning approach, including print-based lessons and materials as well as technology-facilitated lessons. The technology lessons automate data collection and reporting to make it easier than ever to measure student outcomes. In fact, across the nation, students have mastered 493,000+ lessons and 1.4+ million skills to date through enCORE.

For our enCORE users:

To look at your students’ progress, head over to the Reporting tab to decide which kind of data you want to look at. You can choose to focus on reports for your classroom or for individual students. Choose the reporting option that aligns with the type of data you are looking to analyze. You can pull reports by usage (time spent in program), growth (from pretest to posttest), mastery (on specific lesson objectives), standards, and IEP goals, and other metrics.

  • Individual Lesson Reports
  • Lesson Progress Graphs
  • Session History Reports
  • Standards Alignment for Student Work
  • IEP Goals Summary Report
  • IEP Goals Usage Report
  • Progress and Units and Books

enCORE also includes many paper-based data sheets as an option for manual data collection for anyone who prefers to use paper-and-pencil. These data sheets help teachers track progress by level of prompting, constant time delay for individuals and groups, event recording, and more.

Interventions Data Collection and Reporting

If you have access to TeachTown’s key interventions, be sure to dig into the data there, too! TeachTown Basics, Social Skills, and Transition to Adulthood provide excellent reporting for students’ progress on adaptive skills, social skills, and transition skills. The data from the interventions should inform IEP goals in these areas, and be shared with families alongside academic reports.

Communicate with Families

Just as you work to establish rapport with families at the beginning of each school year by sharing classroom routines and positive notes about students, aim to connect with families as the end of the year approaches, too. End-of-year chats are separate from formal IEP meetings and may include sharing a brief anecdote of what you have enjoyed about having the student in your class, how you have seen them grow throughout the year, and perhaps a suggestion for how to continue learning throughout the summer. Many students with disabilities will participate in Extended School Year (enCORE ESY releases April 26🎉🎉). Whether or not a student is participating in ESY, all families appreciate suggestions for creative ways to supplement learning at home and in the community throughout the summer months. Wherever possible, share specific metrics to communicate detailed, specific progress.

For example, instead of saying: “Hi Mr. Vasquez, your son Nathan made a lot of great progress in reading this year!

Try this:

Hi Mr. Vasquez, I’m so proud of Nathan’s hard work in reading this year. He is consistently reading Level 2 books (which equate to a Lexile Level of 410 for his grade level) with about 85% accuracy. I see him using his word solving strategies every day! You should ask him about The Adventures of Robin Hood – we just finished reading it in class and he seemed to love it!

Celebrating Success

While success looks differently for everyone, all students deserve to be recognized for their effort. Celebrating student successes, both big and small, can significantly boost classroom morale and a student’s sense of belonging at school. Plus it just feels good! There are many ways to celebrate successes based on the unique personalities and interests of the students in your class. Think well beyond traditional recognition like honor roll ceremonies and consider all the ways to shout out your students’ efforts:

  • Personalized shout-outs, notes home, and individualized certificates 
    Check out these TeachTown certificates we created just for you! Download, print, and use today!

Amazing Growth – Primary  Exceptional Effort – Primary  Team Player – Primary

Amazing Growth – Secondary  Exceptional Effort – Secondary  Team Player – Secondary

  • Display student work both in the classroom and throughout the hallways 
  • Host a school-wide event to highlight achievements in various domains, not just academic

One TeachTown school in South Carolina worked through the units, Let’s Make Lime Juice and Kitchen Tools for Measurement, which each focused heavily on connecting concepts of measurement with recipes and ingredients in addition to an emphasis on bar graphs and tally charts for data collection. To review the concepts students learned and mastered throughout the unit, the class constructed their own limeade stand out of boxes collected by the custodians (and copious amounts of duct-tape!) and followed the limeade recipe included in the enCORE text to run their own limeade stand at school. To incorporate data collection using bar graphs and tally charts, the class invited other classes to sign up for a time to taste-test the limeade and tell the students whether or not they liked it. In the end, the school overwhelmingly enjoyed the limeade, and students gained an engaging generalization opportunity to allow them to exercise mastered concepts from enCORE Unit 24. In addition, this was an amazing, structured activity to encourage peer relationships between students with extensive support needs and their typically developing peers.

Read more about this success story!

Share Your TeachTown Success Story!

Do you have a success story to share? We’d love to hear it. Email us at Tell us about the growth you’ve seen in your students and how you’re choosing to celebrate their successes. If you’d like us to consider highlighting your story in an upcoming newsletter, let us know!

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