Recommended Big Goals

Note – this post is for the 2013-2014 school year. For information on the 2014-2015 school year see this post.

For all classes, we recommend your quantitative goals consist of two components:

  • Growth or mastery on a traditional end-of-year assessment. See more guidance below.
  • Growth on rubric scores from performance tasks. Please see the performance task page for more information.

Suggested end-of-year assessments with quantitative measures

3rd – 8th: The “high-performing benchmark” for your classroom is 40% gap closure. For historical context for what that looks like in your district, please see this spreadsheet. If you have questions about how to calculate your own goal, please consult your MTLD. To see what your assessment will look like, download released items. See also Problem Attic for items from other states and tests.

Remedial Algebra: You should set a goal of at least 3 points of growth on the ACT EXPLORE. See the ACT notes below. You may also choose to set a goal of 80% mastery on this summative assessment.

Algebra I: The “high-performing benchmark” for your classroom is 40% gap closure. For historical context for what that looks like in your district, please see this spreadsheet. To see what your assessment will look like, download released items. Depending on your context, you may choose to have a growth goal on the ACT EXPLORE  or the ACT. See the ACT notes below. See also Problem Attic for items from other states and tests.

Geometry: You should set either a goal of 80% mastery on our summative assessment, or a growth goal on the ACT, or a combination of both. See the ACT notes below.

Algebra II: You should use EITHER a goal of 80% mastery on our summative assessment, or an ACT growth goal, or a combination of both. See below for ACT guidance. See also Problem Attic for items from other states and tests.

Precalculus: You should use a goal of 80% mastery on our summative assessment. You may also choose to set a goal on the ACT; if you do this, you should aim for at least an average score of 21.0 (college ready). See also Problem Attic for items from other states and tests.

Trigonometry: You should use a goal of 80% mastery on our summative assessment. You may also choose to set a goal on the ACT; if you do this, you should aim for at least an average score of 21.0 (college ready). See also Problem Attic for items from other states and tests.

Calculus: For a non-AP class, you should set a goal of an average score of AT LEAST a 2.3 on a released AP test. We are waiting for national guidance on the high-performing benchmark for AP classes; it will either be an average score of 3.0 or 4.0. Find the materials for the test here. See also Problem Attic for items from other states and tests.

Statistics: For a non-AP class, you should set a goal of an average score of AT LEAST a 2.4 on a released AP test. We are waiting for national guidance on the high-performing benchmark for AP classes; it will either be an average score of 3.0 or 4.0. Find the materials for the test here. See also Problem Attic for items from other states and tests.

Note on using the ACT:

The national “high-performing benchmark” for ACT growth within Teach For America is an average growth of 3 points. However, we have seen in Mississippi that students start classes further behind than their national peers, making larger growth both more essential, and more feasible. We suggest you set a goal of 5 points of growth and/or a minimum score of 21 (college ready).

The ACT EXPLORE test is aligned to the ACT, but is recommended for use with 8th and 9th graders. Depending on your students’ diagnostic scores, a goal of 3 points growth is most likely an appropriate goal on this test. You can find released ACT EXPLORE tests here. We are currently researching scoring guidelines.

If you are using an ACT growth goal, you should buy an ACT study guide that contains multiple practice tests. So long as you consistently use tests created by the same publishing companies, we consider these to be valid assessments. If your book does not have a conversion guide for scores, you should use the formula 0.575*(# correct) + 1.5, rounding to the nearest half point.

The full ACT requires 60 minutes to administer, but most classes do not last this long. You can choose your own testing conditions (giving students 30 minutes each over two days, or 40 minutes and then 20 minutes, etc.). Just ensure you use the same testing conditions each time you give the test so your growth data is valid.

You can find released ACT items (useful for planning purposes) here. The ACT has also released extensive guides about connecting the ACT’s “college readiness standards” to your classroom. They have separate guides for the ACTPLAN, and EXPLORE.

There is no single diagnostic assessment that is widely available and that we consider truly effective for math. Unfortunately, complete information about what your students know and don’t know tends to be very nuanced; given this, we recommend that you give quick, unit-level diagnostics throughout the year to gauge students’ preparedness for the content you are about teach.

We do recommend using a basic one-page skills diagnostic to see how students do with key computational skills. You can find that here.

We also have a more complete remedial skills diagnostic can be downloaded here. If you are interested in helping us innovate ways to implement this in classrooms, please email Boyce. You will want to enable macros when prompted. You can see a word document describing the sequence of skills and their alignment to grade levels here.

Performance tasks

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