Georgia District Implements Student Learning Objectives Module

Approximately 70 to 75 percent of all Georgia teachers — for at least part of the instructional day — teach subjects that are not assessed by state tests. To meet the Student Growth and Academic Achievement component of Georgia’s Teacher Keys Effectiveness System, teachers of non-tested subjects must implement Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) to gauge student growth. As a result, schools and districts are now responsible for crunching the data for SLOs to determine if students achieved the academic goals set at the beginning of a course, and to determine an effectiveness rating for each teacher and school leader as part of their annual evaluations.

To streamline the SLO process and ensure accurate calculations for end-of-year ratings, Bibb County School District is implementing the SLO Module from Performance Matters™, along with the company’s flagship assessment and data management system. The district is launching the SLO Module in all 41 of its schools this month to assist in the creation, management and monitoring of SLOs, which the district calls Growth Learning Objectives (GLOs).

“As one of the original 26 Race to the Top districts in Georgia, we had to implement GLOs last year. We created 52 GLOs and gave the pre- and post-assessments for each GLO via paper and pencil, which took a great deal of time to administer and even more time to grade. We then managed all the data — from collecting it to applying the GLO growth formulas to disaggregating the data — by hand using an Excel spreadsheet,” said Dr. Jo-ne Bourassa, Race to the Top coordinator for Bibb County School District. “When I saw the Performance Matters system and the SLO Module in particular, I knew it was exactly what we needed.”

To date, Bibb County School District has created 115 GLO assessments, which are managed using Performance Matters. Schools will test students via plain paper scanning and online testing, and the results will be automatically available in the system.

Using the SLO Module, educators can access the target score and the results data from pre- and post-assessments for each student under each SLO. With the tool’s automatic calculations, they can easily see whether or not each student met the SLO, as well as the overall percentage of students achieving the SLO by class or by course. In addition, the SLO Module ensures accurate mathematical calculations, which school leaders can use to group teachers into the appropriate ratings category — Exemplary, Proficient, Needs Development, or Ineffective— on the SLO portion of their annual evaluations.

“Working with Performance Matters has been absolutely amazing,” said Bourassa. "I’ve never worked with a company that’s been so hands-on and involved before. With many companies, when you purchase a product, they leave it to you to make it work. With Performance Matters, we feel like we have a partner that understands exactly what we need and is working alongside us to help us achieve our goals.”