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Insights In Action

Using Standardized Assessments to Target a Program of Individualized Instruction for Students in the Lower School Grades

Christ Presbyterian Academy

The Question

How can standardized assessments be used to target a program of individualized instruction for students in the lower school grades?

The Problem

Christ Presbyterian Academy wanted to create a program of individualized instruction for students in Kindergarten through Grade 5, based on individualized and small group instruction, tailored to each student’s needs and interests—their “What I Need,” or "WIN," program. “The more we learn about each student, the more evident it is that learning profiles are similar to fingerprints: no two learning profiles are the same.”  Though in order to launch this program of individualized instruction, the teachers and academic administrators needed a clear window into each student’s strengths and needs.

The Method

Academic team leaders examined each student’s CTP scores, contrasting the student’s Percent Content Mastery score in each content strand to both the Independent School Norm Mean and the Grade Level Mean for Christ Presbyterian Academy. To fully understand each student’s trajectory, data from the OLSAT admission test, the DIBELS assessment, and CPAA were also reviewed. The team leaders used these data to group students by their comprehension of the material, their accuracy, and their fluency, recognizing that no single dimension captures every aspect of learning accomplishment. Each grade was broken into four groups, for Math and separately for Reading, with some groups focused on improving fluency and others on advancing their analysis skills.

The Plan

Student profiles based on the assessment review were discussed with teachers, whose insights also contributed to the placement of each learner in an appropriate group. Teachers also received supplemental training on how to lead a learning community. Space was developed in the schedule for a 30-minute “What I Need” (WIN) time block four days per week. This was done by shortening regular class periods from 55 to 50 minutes. Plans were created on how to meet each learner in their area of greatest need for 6-week blocks of focused instruction and student work. To augment instructional resources and give the WIN period a special feel, high school students in the National Honor Society provided mentoring support, as did the art and music teachers. WIN programs spill beyond the classroom in order to engage students in their areas of special interest, for example, by using a gardening project to strengthen student math skills. Some of the other WIN programs include a Reading Buddy Program, Social Skills Story Groups, Nonverbal Reasoning Enrichment, Phonemic Awareness Intervention, Study Skills Workshop, and Fact Fluency Intervention.

The Result

The program is now in its third year. Subsequent year CTP results have shown notable student growth in their areas of focus through the WIN program. With success has come even stronger buy-in from teachers and expansion of the WIN program. In the second year, Christ Presbyterian added a full-time intervention specialist and shifted the schedule to include designated days for arts integration and collaboration. Additional possible areas of focus for WIN time include an engineering design lab, outdoor education service learning, arts integration and enrichment, and safety and wellness education.
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About the School

Christ Presbyterian Academy is an independent, coeducational, college-preparatory Christian school for Preschool through Grade 12 located in Nashville, Tennesee. Special thanks to Amy Webster, Assistant Head of Lower School, and Marcia Sutton, Associate Head of School, for sharing their schools’ story. If you would like to learn more about this story, please contact Amy or Marcia directly.

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