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

Gathering data on student performance is an essential element that, when used effectively, can lead to sound instructional decisions and extraordinary student performance. If a client has not chosen a testing and data gathering tool, our consultants can help choose an efficient and worthy tool for the job. If a client has chosen a progress monitoring tool and data management system, it needs to be used effectively to deliver data that is meaningful and accurate. Making instructional decisions with faulty data is an inefficient use of resources. Our consultants can help clients use their curriculum-based measurement tools effectively so data is accurate and helps drive instruction.

Data entry and creating reports are essential but time-consuming. Even when time is taken to enter data, that data needs to be reported in a way that makes sense to administration and instructors so good instructional decisions can be made about each student. We find that even when data is present and reports are generated, student grouping remains a daunting task. Winsor Learning experts advise our clients how to use the leading data management systems to enter student data, analyze the data, and create necessary reports. Some of the data management systems provide thousands of reports. Our experts will guide our clients toward the appropriate reports so that quick but precise conclusions can be reached. Our experts also provide student grouping advice that leads to better instructional decisions and, ultimately, to student success.

Step 2: Plan the intervention

Creating an intervention plan for each student and allocating resources to meet the needs of that student 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 to help plan their intervention strategies, and allocate resources (both human and monetary) so schools are able to 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, the most important part is yet to come – instructors working with students to improve deficits. Because our instructional materials are easy to use and effective, teachers are able to implement the program immediately. That 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 the experts who visit with instructors and administrators have worked with students in an intervention setting, so they can look school staff in the eye and say “I’ve been where you are – trying to help struggling students succeed – and I will show you how to help these students.” 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 instructor 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

Once instruction is happening, the cycle starts over by evaluating the student progress. 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 used with each student. Adjustments to the teacher’s instructional materials and training as well as student grouping are all essential to the continued success of each student. Winsor Learning experts help administrators and teachers make these adjustments based on the student data and reports.

While data-driven decisions should be a part of the strategy that schools employ to strive for student success, there is need for a methodology that overlays the effort. Whereas Response to Intervention (RTI) provides guidelines for schools to follow, the implementation of those guidelines leaves room for interpretation and therefore a chance for challenges to arise that impede successful implementation. A daily, monthly, and yearly work plan combined with support from experts who have experience overcoming RTI challenges is a major element of the methodology.