Thursday, December 03, 2009

RI's Draft Strategic Plan

I'm going to try to avoid obsessing over the Rhode Island Department of Education's new draft Strategic Plan, in part because it is so wholly Race to the Top boiler plate. I swear they tore this thing right off a fax from McKinsey.

Apparently business consultants have a really bizarre concept of "strategy." To me strategy is all about the focused allocation of scarce resources. This thing is like a list of wishes. And this plan makes no reference to the ongoing context of school reform in Rhode Island -- nothing about SALT for example, which is a fine foundation for many of the goals described.

I must linger for a moment over this part:

Priority Name: Develop User Friendly Data Systems

Priority Goal: Create a data-driven culture for education decision-making.

Objective 4: Redesign the school and district accountability processes to extend beyond NECAP results to include valid and reliable data against key indicators so that the appropriate supports, interventions, enhancements, and improvements can be targeted effectively to improve student achievement.

Objective Measures:

By 2012, Rhode Island will have implemented a performance management system based on student growth and teacher effectiveness to measure performance of schools and teachers.

By 2015, Rhode Island will be able to demonstrate a 10% increase in student achievement directly tied to a system of supports and intervention.

Strategy 4.1 Develop accountability process that accurately measures the effectiveness of school and district programs, supports, and interventions.

  • Develop systems requirements for collecting data related to student-level supports, including evaluations and individualized supports Develop metrics for growth model, gap analysis, and teacher effectiveness.
  • Develop query-driven reports that apply performance metrics to disaggregated data in order to improve student achievement.

Strategy 4.2 Develop standards and processes for how these metrics are to be used to improve student achievement.

  • Develop methodology for including growth metrics and teacher effectiveness into a system of state performance measures, and possibly into AYP.
  • Develop performance measures for systems requirements of the BEP.
  • Create set of diagnostic metrics to match capacity and systems measures to specific interventions and initiatives that will ensure acceleration of student achievement.

This is weird and absurd in a number of ways, but I'm drawn to this "objective measure:"

By 2015, Rhode Island will be able to demonstrate a 10% increase in student achievement directly tied to a system of supports and intervention.

I'd love to see even a science fiction fantasy timeline about how that is supposed to work (or even mean, what is a "10% increase in student achievement," esp. when you're going "beyond NECAP?"). You get your baseline data in 2013, measure effective new local interventions in 2014, scale them statewide and measure the results in 2015?

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