Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Michael Wischnowski

Second Supervisor

Gloria Jacobs

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine student achievement in middle school English Language Arts (ELA) through the use of predictive assessments, standard testing, and academic interventions. The researcher determined whether and how teachers at the Benford Middle School use the ThinkLink assessment results to change their instructional practices for students who have scored at levels one and two on the NYS assessment, scores that indicate these students are not proficient in reading at their grade level. Furthermore, the researcher identified teachers' perceptions about the usefulness of the Discovery Education ThinkLink Series. Specifically, the following research questions have guided the investigation: How do middle school teachers use data from ThinkLink, a predictive assessment system, that indicates that certain sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students will not perform at proficiency on the NYS ELA exams? The second research question is: How do middle school teachers describe their experience with the Thinklink Predictive Assessment System? A review of test scores, teacher survey, and focus groups were conducted to gather information regarding teacher perceptions, beliefs, and strategies used to address student achievement needs. The major findings in the study are: (a) Thinklink is used by teachers to identify skills and provided remediation to students, (b) ThinkLink predicted ELA scores with accuracy between 80 and 90%, (c) the predictive element had little or no value to more than a third of the teachers, (d) the middle school teachers use a range of assessment methods for informing instructional practices.

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