Four Steps to Student Success
As a result of our work with school districts throughout the country, Winsor Learning has developed a methodology that helps schools implement a successful literacy program. We find the methodology relies on four elements that need to be in place and practiced well for students to be successful. We find it to be an iterative and cyclical process, known as the Four Steps to Student Success.
Step 1: Evaluate—Gather, enter, and analyze the data
Effectively gathering and evaluating data on student performance is essential to making sound instructional decisions that lead to extraordinary student performance. If a client has not chosen a testing and data-gathering tool, our consultants can help clients choose one worthy of the job. If a client has chosen a progress-monitoring tool and data management system, it needs to be used effectively in order to deliver data that is meaningful and accurate, and to avoid making ineffectual instructional decisions based on faulty data, which wastes resources. Our consultants can help clients use their curriculum-based measurement tools effectively so data is accurate and helps drive instruction.
Entering data and creating reports are essential tasks, but time-consuming. Even when time is taken to enter data, that data must be reported in a way that makes sense to administrators and instructors so good instructional decisions can be made about each student. Winsor Learning experts advise our clients on how to use the leading data management systems to enter and analyze student data, and create the necessary reports. Some of the data management systems generate thousands of reports, but our experts guide our clients toward the most appropriate ones so precise conclusions can be reached quickly.
We find that even when data has been gathered and reports generated, the task of student grouping remains daunting. Winsor Learning experts also provide student grouping advice for better instructional decisions and, ultimately, student success.
Step 2: Plan the intervention
Creating an intervention plan for each student, and allocating resources to meet that student's needs, is a job that is perfected with experience. When the reading team gathers to discuss the deficiencies of each student, those decisions are more efficient and accurate when data from assessments and data management reports are on the table. Winsor Learning experts work with reading teams and administrators on planning their intervention strategies and helping allocate human and monetary resources so schools can take their existing staff and realign them to meet student needs. This process sets instructors and students up for success.
Step 3: Implement the intervention
Once the plan has been set, next comes the most important part: instructors working with students to improve student deficits. Because our instructional materials are easy to use and effective, teachers are able to implement the program immediately. This is the key to success. Professional support on the use of the tools leads to better use and better results. The intervention process is a Winsor Learning core competency. Our roots are in reading intervention. All of our experts who visit with instructors and administrators have worked with struggling students in an intervention setting and can honestly say “I’ve been where you are. Here's how to help.”
Professional development for administrators and instructors focuses on training that is useful in the short term, but is also implemented throughout the school year. We have found that ongoing coaching leads to better instructional fidelity as instructors' knowledge and skills improve. Winsor Learning coaches spend time with instructors in their setting to help foster this all-important fidelity.
Step 4: Monitor progress—evaluate effectiveness
As instruction is taking place, student progress is evaluated and the cycle starts over. We ask, “Is it working?” Schools must periodically gather and analyze data on student performance and view reports on the literacy program to gauge the success of the interventions being conducted with each student. Adjustments to teachers' instructional materials and training as well as student grouping are all essential to continued student success. Winsor Learning experts help administrators and teachers make these adjustments based on the student data and reports.
While data-driven decisions should be part of a school's strategy for student success, an overlaid methodology is needed. Although Response to Intervention (RTI) provides guidelines for schools to follow, the implementation of those guidelines leaves room for interpretation, and this opens the door for obstacles to arise that impede successful implementation. A daily, monthly, and yearly work plan combined with ongoing professional support from experts who have experience overcoming RTI challenges is a major element of our methodology.