District Administration August 2017 - 10

BeyondtheNews
Moving to a mastery-based
assessment system
Five years ago, Windsor Locks Public Schools in northern Connecticut
was designated an Alliance District,
meaning it was one of the 30 lowestperforming academic districts in the
state and needed help.
The good news was that the designation came with funding to improve
instruction, inspiring district leadership to go in a new direction-doing
away with traditional letter grades
and report cards for a mastery-based
approach. The approach stresses the
mastery of content and such skills as
problem-solving and communicating
-in all subjects and grades.
"If learning is truly the measure,
then time becomes the variable," says
Susan Bell, superintendent at Windsor Locks, which serves 1,530 students
at four schools. Assessment should be
predicated on whether a student fulfills
a standard, not when a school year
arbitrarily ends, she says.
Most parents were enthusiastic, but
some who were unfamiliar with the
concept of competency-based education were apprehensive. The district
held meetings and public forums with
families and teachers to explain the
new approach, eventually getting all
stakeholders on board.
The genesis
The first step for the district was to
assess its grading practices, including
weighing the pros and cons of traditional average-based grades. Teachers
and administrators worked together in
formulating a new approach.
"We quickly realized those gradebased systems don't serve students,
it serves our need to have something
we consider very concrete versus what
mastery can lead to," says Bell.
Key behaviors (or "brownie points,"
as Bell calls them) that tend to be
10 August 2017

NUTS AND BOLTS

By Ray Bendici

Windsor Locks Middle School-Academic Performance Levels
Performance
Level

ES
Exceeding
standard

MS
Mastering
standard

PS
Progressing

toward standard

LP
Limited progress
toward standard

NE

No evidence
of progress

Description
* Demonstration moves beyond standard
* Demonstration shows a sophisticated understanding of standard
* Standard is authentically applied in different contexts or disciplines
* Student demonstrates the standard consistently and independently
* Student demonstrates standard in various ways
* Criteria for mastering the standard are the same for all students
* Student is making constant progress toward mastery
* Student is moving toward independence
* Some adult or peer support may be needed to demonstrate mastery
* More time or opportunities may be needed to demonstrate mastery
* Student does not demonstrate evidence of growth
* Student's progress toward mastery may have slowed or stopped
* After instruction, student demonstrates minimal evidence of learning
* Student is unable to show learning, based on absence, other factors
* No evidence is available to determine progress

included in a typical grade-such as
arriving prepared to participate or completing work on time-were removed
and designated as "habits of scholarship." Those behaviors are now evaluated separately from subject mastery.
Educators also worked to ensure
that lessons across schools maintain
consistency in terms of subjects covered
and approach.
The new initiative was first implemented in the 2013-14 school year with
incoming sixth-graders. These students
hadn't received letter grades in elementary school so they were not affected
by the change, and they will be the
first class to graduate from an entirely
mastery-based program in 2020.
The initiative is being rolled out
annually grade by grade as the initial

group progresses through their education. And a mastery-based teaching
approach has already been introduced,
if not fully adopted, in all grades.
Building through PD
Instruction across the district has
evolved to meet the new approach,
requiring significant PD. Teachers
needed to give up traditional grading
and instructional practices in favor
of exploring expeditionary learning,
where students lead their own education experiences through tools such as
project-based learning.
For PD, the district contracted with
EL Education, a nonprofit K12 education organization. Training focuses on
its assessment in daily instruction modules, which provides models of teacher
District Administration



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration August 2017

District Administration August 2017 - Cover1
District Administration August 2017 - Cover2
District Administration August 2017 - 1
District Administration August 2017 - 2
District Administration August 2017 - 3
District Administration August 2017 - 4
District Administration August 2017 - 5
District Administration August 2017 - 6
District Administration August 2017 - 7
District Administration August 2017 - 8
District Administration August 2017 - 9
District Administration August 2017 - 10
District Administration August 2017 - 11
District Administration August 2017 - 12
District Administration August 2017 - 13
District Administration August 2017 - 14
District Administration August 2017 - 15
District Administration August 2017 - 16
District Administration August 2017 - 17
District Administration August 2017 - 18
District Administration August 2017 - 19
District Administration August 2017 - 20
District Administration August 2017 - 21
District Administration August 2017 - 22
District Administration August 2017 - 23
District Administration August 2017 - 24
District Administration August 2017 - 25
District Administration August 2017 - 26
District Administration August 2017 - 27
District Administration August 2017 - 28
District Administration August 2017 - 29
District Administration August 2017 - 30
District Administration August 2017 - 31
District Administration August 2017 - 32
District Administration August 2017 - 33
District Administration August 2017 - 34
District Administration August 2017 - 35
District Administration August 2017 - 36
District Administration August 2017 - 37
District Administration August 2017 - 38
District Administration August 2017 - 39
District Administration August 2017 - 40
District Administration August 2017 - 41
District Administration August 2017 - 42
District Administration August 2017 - 43
District Administration August 2017 - 44
District Administration August 2017 - 45
District Administration August 2017 - 46
District Administration August 2017 - 47
District Administration August 2017 - 48
District Administration August 2017 - Cover3
District Administration August 2017 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0420
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0320
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0220
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0120
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1119
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1019
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0919
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0719
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0619
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0519
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0419
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0319
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0219
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0119
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/TechX_1218
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1218
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1118
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1018
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0918
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0818
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0718
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/TechX_0618
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0618v3
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0518
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0418
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0318
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0218
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0118
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1217
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/TechX_1217
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1117
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1017
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0917
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0817
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0717
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0617
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/TechX_0617
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0517
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0417
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0317
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0217
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_SR0117Final
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0117
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1216
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1116
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1016
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0916
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0816
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0716
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0616
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0516
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA0416
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0316
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0216
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/1215
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201511
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201510
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201509
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201508
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201507
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201505
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201505_AudioVisualSolutions
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201504
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201503
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201502
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201501
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201410
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201409
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201408
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201407
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201406
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201405
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201405_AudioVisualSolutions
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201404
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201403
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201402
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201401
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201310
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201309
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201308
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201307
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201306
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201305
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201303
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201302
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201301
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201301_AudioVisualSolutions
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1012
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0912
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0712
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0612
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0512
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da_avguide0112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1111
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1011
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0911
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0711
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0611
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0511
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0111
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1110
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1010
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0710
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0610
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0510
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0410
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0310
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0210
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0110
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1109
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1009
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0909
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0809
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0609
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0509
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0409
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0309
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0209
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0109
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1208
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1108
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1008
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0908
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0808
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0608
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0508
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0408
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0308
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0208
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0907
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0807
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0707
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0607
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0507
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0407
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0307
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0207
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0107
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1206
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1106
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1006
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0906
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0806
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0706
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da-palm0606
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0606-av
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0606
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0406
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com