Private Jewish Day School - Why DDI?
Private Jewish School - “Data-driven decision-making is about gathering data to understand if a school is meeting its purpose and vision"
During this self-analysis, we discovered that despite the teachers knowing the scope and skills that each student was expected to learn, it was not clear what skills were taught to the mastery level and what was simply introduced. We also discovered that even though rebbeim and moros were teaching to the school standards there was no system in place to see if the students were absorbing the skills. Obviously, each teacher had their methods to assess student knowledge. However, since these assessments were developed and deployed by each teacher individually, there was no method to check student progress uniformly.
One way this manifested was in the referrals to the resource room. A disproportionate number of students were sent for support in general studies as opposed to limudei kodesh. To many, this was troublesome. A student’s deficiency in some area of cognition or ability to succeed in such area is usually just as relevant to limudei kodesh as it is to the general studies curriculum. Was this discrepancy due to Chumash teachers having better teaching skills or resources at their disposal? Perhaps it was because they didn’t know exact grade-level expectations and had ineffective ways of testing for these skills. Moreover, while parents might resist their children being pulled from class for support, if we were able to show non-judgmental, standards-based data to parents concerning their child’s struggles, they would be more accepting of the advised intervention.
Another problem YTCTE (Private Jewish School) had was that recent rapid growth of the school brought an influx of new limudei kodesh staff, and it became challenging for the administration to determine if parallel classes were all on the same level. The administration knew what each class covered in Chumash and the report card grades for each student in the class. Yet, they were unable to pinpoint the level of progress for each student objectively. One cannot manage what one cannot measure. As an educational institution, we felt it was our responsibility is to ensure student learning, and as such, it was incumbent on us to find the means to measure that.