Student Progress & Growth Monitoring
Westonka uses a variety of methods to evaluate each student’s progress toward state and local academic goals. This information drives decision-making and programming to help every student meet grade level and course academic benchmarks.
Specifically, the FastBridge assessment program in math and reading is used for progress monitoring of students that are not meeting grade level benchmarks. Through the use of FastBridge assessment tools, district staff are able to pin-point specific gaps in student learning and provide timely interventions and supports for students. The FastBridge assessment program is also used by the district to screen Westonka students for Dyslexia.
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
The Westonka School District uses the Professional Learning Communities (PLC) model to:
- Set high academic expectations for all students;
- Provide teachers a collaborative working environment to achieve better results for the students they serve; and
- Focus on results – making data-driven decisions to improve student achievement.
Using the PLC model, academic goals at the district and building levels are addressed by staff through their PLC meetings each week. The PLC model provides the structure and a framework for staff to make improvements with programming, instruction and curriculum to provide high levels of learning for all students.
The district has identified specific literacy benchmarks for elementary and middle school students to ensure they are making the academic progress needed to be college and career ready by the time they graduate from high school. The areas of literacy measured include: 1) Oral Reading Fluency, 2) Comprehension and 3) Reading Level.
For students not developing their literacy skills at an adequate pace, support is available through systematic reading intervention programs at all levels of instruction.
Academic Standards & Assessments
In the Westonka Public Schools, the curriculum and academic focus is standards-driven. All K-12 curriculum is aligned to state and/or national standards and student attainment of these standards is measured by the following assessments:
- The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA);
- FastBridge Assessments in Math and Reading;
- NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments;
- Literacy assessments measuring oral reading fluency, reading level and comprehension;
- Cognitive Abilities Test measuring a student’s reasoning skills for placement into gifted and talented programs
- Pre-ACT and ACT assessments to measure college preparation
- Advanced Placement exam data
- Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering exam data
- College in the Schools (CIS) Spanish course exam data
The use of student performance data is an important tool to raise achievement for all students. Student data also includes formative assessments that are used while learning is occurring. They are used to diagnose student needs, to plan instruction and to provide feedback to students on their learning and on how to make improvements. These assessments include curriculum-based assessments, FastBridge Learning and NWEA MAP assessments to diagnose student academic needs.
Through careful analysis of student academic performance data, each building’s School Improvement Team has developed specific academic goals to support their focus on high levels of learning for all students. Review of student academic performance data allows Westonka teachers to identify their students’ strengths and gaps and adjust instructional goals to maximize individual student academic growth.