Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and Measuring Student Growth Part 2

We are currently in the final week of a three week unit looking at measuring student growth in my VanderCook MECA class entitled Teaching Music in a Common Core World. Our assignment over the past two weeks has been to develop two Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) as a means of measuring student growth as part of our teacher evaluation. This post contains the second of my two SLOs as well as a comparison between Illinois' requirements for an SLO and my district's (Ankeny, Iowa) requirements for our Individual Teacher Professional Development Plan (ITPDP).

Student Learning Objective #2

Due to privacy laws, I am not permitted to post the data referenced in Elements 3 and 4.

Comparing SLOs to ITPDPs

In a previous post, I describe how the teacher evaluation system works in my district in Ankeny, Iowa. To briefly summarize, our Professional Growth Model occurs over a three year period and revolves around our Individual Teacher Professional Development Plan (ITPDP). Within our ITPDP, we identify individual goals for our students' academic achievement and behavior achievement. These goals may be the same as our Professional Learning Community's goal(s). All of these goals are aligned with building goals, include 2-5 Danielson components, and connect with the Iowa Teaching Standards. The Professional Growth Model also includes peer review, collecting evidence for the Department of Education, 8 informal walkthroughs, 6 annual conferences to review the ITPDP, and 1 formal observation with a pre- and post-observation conference. At this time, the state of Iowa does not require student growth to be included in a teacher's evaluation.

While developing these two SLOs, I found that our ITPDPs are quite similar to the expectations the state of Illinois has for measuring student growth.

Illinois SLO Ankeny ITPDP
Element 1: Learning Goal - description of what students will be able to do at the end of a specified period of time aligned to appropriate learning standards. Learning goals include one big idea that integrates multiple content standards, and links units of instruction together. The big idea chosen should be representative of the most important learning and typical student growth in a specific content area, grade level, or classroom. Individual Teacher Academic/Behavior Goal - identify goals as an individual teacher for student academic and behavior achievement. These goals may be shared with the PLC Team Goal.
Element 2: Assessments and Scoring - describe the assessments and scoring procedures that measure students’ understanding of the learning goal. Data should be formatively collected prior to and throughout the unit of instruction and summatively at the completion of the unit of instruction. It is recommended to use rubrics to score assessments. Indicators of Progress - determine how teacher will measure students progress towards achievement of the Academic/Behavior Goals. Document the effect of each of the chosen indicators.
Element 3: Growth Targets - determine goals for individual student or groups of students growth.
  1. Teachers collect baseline data at the beginning of the school year or interval of instruction. Baseline data provides measures of student understanding and ability to apply content knowledge. Baseline data may include: early coursework, pre-assessment(s), student surveys, IEP, English language proficiency, attendance
  2. Student growth targets are then differentiated according to starting group or individual student.
  3. At the midpoint in the SLO cycle, the collected data should be examined to determine if students are on track to meet their growth targets.
Individual Teacher Academic/Behavior Goal - All goals must be SMART:
  • Specific - target a specific area for improvement
  • Measurable - quantify an indicator of progress
  • Assignable - specify who will do it
  • Realistic - state what results can be achieved given available resources
  • Time - specify when the results can be achieved
Element 4: Growth Targets - document how many students meet their growth targets. This step is discussed during Step 6, final review, of the SLO Cycle. Indicators of Progress - final indicators should determine if students met the Academic or Behavior goals.
Element 5: Teacher Rating - This portion of determining a teacher rating based on the SLO is still being developed by the ISBE. Illinois’ goal is that student growth will represent 25-30% of a teacher’s performance evaluation. There is not currently a formal teacher rating in the Ankeny system. An Integrity Checklist is provided to HR documenting the completion of the various elements of the ITPDP, Danielson components, and Iowa Teaching Standards. A summative evaluation form is submitted to the Iowa Department of Education regarding evidence of the teacher meeting all of the Iowa Teaching Standards.
Danielson Components are linked to the various SLO Elements:
  1. 1a, 1c, 1e, 3c
  2. 1d, 1f, 3d
  3. 1b, 1c
  4. 3e, 4a, 4b
Teachers select 2-5 Danielson Components aligned with the Individual Teacher Academic and Behavior Goals for administrators to provide formative feedback on during informal observations.
SLO Cycle
  1. Develop SLO
  2. Initial Review
  3. Monitor Progress
  4. Midpoint Check-In
  5. Monitor Progress
  6. Final Review
While Ankeny does not have specific steps, many parts of the Professional Growth Model correlate. Teachers in Ankeny must:
  1. Develop an ITPDP
  2. Review the ITPDP with an evaluator during the annual Fall Meeting
  3. Discuss the effectiveness of the Indicators of Progress from the ITPDP and be informally observed 2-4 times per year.
  4. Review the ITPDP with an evaluator during the annual Spring meeting.
  5. Continue to observe the Indicators of Progress during the period of time specified in the ITPDP.
  6. Be formally evaluated at the end of the third year of teaching.

Burton Hable

Burton Hable is an instrumental music educator from Central Iowa. In 2013 he helped open Centennial High School in Ankeny, the first time in forty years that a school district in Iowa expanded to two high schools. He served there through 2018 as Assistant Director of Bands: conducting the 10th Grade Symphonic Band, directing the varsity Jazz Collective, co-directing the Centennial Marching and Pep Bands, teaching music theory, and providing individual and small group lessons to brass students in grades 6-12 at Prairie Ridge Middle School, Northview Middle School, and Centennial High School. During his tenure in Ankeny, enrollment in band grew from 450 to nearly 700, the jazz program expanded from four to seven ensembles, and ensembles under his direction were invited to perform at Iowa State University, Harper College, and the Veterans Day Parade in New York City.