Student assessment results for the 2019-2020, and into 2020-2021 school year, did not yield the scope of data used for evaluating student achievement and program effectiveness as it did in the years prior to the pandemic. The district did, however, create as many opportunities as practicable to evaluate student progress. The Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan (LCP) that was created in the fall of 2020 specifically directed LEAs to determine pupil learning loss in ELA, ELD, and math and create strategies to address this pupil learning loss. Districts were then charged with accelerating learning, especially for unduplicated pupils (ELs, low-income, and foster youth). Given the suspension of state testing in the spring of 2020, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) assessment data was unavailable and the district had to rely on curriculum-embedded summative assessments in order to determine a student’s level of proficiency (e.g., grade level performance). Other district summative assessments such as the STAR, used to measure a student’s mastery of standards prior to CAASPP, were also used.
Since EPHS teachers are also teachers from the comprehensive high school, departments needed to acquire student data quickly in order to assess learning loss and plan their distance learning-only lessons accordingly. This benefitted EPHS in that the teachers were better prepared to give curriculum-embedded assessments, address skills deficits, and maintain continuity of instruction in order to cover all California core curriculum content standards thought to be essential for an eventual return to state testing in the spring. For EL students, the ELPAC was administered in the spring of 2020, beginning with the elementary grades. Grades 6-12 were scheduled to be tested in March and April of that year but were not tested due to the shutdown after March 13, 2020. For designated ELD instruction, and for embedding/integrating ELD strategies in lessons, teachers had to rely on ELPAC data from the 2018-2019 school year in order to estimate their level of English language acquisition and plan lessons accordingly.
By the time the 2019-2020 LCAP Annual Update and the 2021-2022 LCAP templates became available in the winter of 2021, LEAs were instructed to “use whatever data is available” to measure progress in the Actions of each LCAP goal, using baseline data from pre-pandemic years. This data, and the newly-acquired data from the available assessments described above were used to set new learning goals for students, including EPHS.
EPHS students once again participated in CAASPP and ELPAC testing in the spring of 2021. A modified SBAC (shortened version) was available to 11th grade EPHS students, as well as ELPAC testing for English Learners. Data from these two important assessments were available in the fall of 2021 and yielded scores that were better than expected. For SBAC ELA, two EPHS students scored “Standard Met”, three students scored “Standard Nearly Met”, and the remaining four students scored “Standard Not Met” (n=9). In the past, EPHS students typically scored in the lowest scale score range. For SBAC Math, one student scored “Standard Nearly Met” and the other eight scored “Standard Not Met” (n=9).
ELPAC testing for EPHS yielded the following Performing Level Descriptor results: Level 1 - "Minimally Developed" (n=2); Level 2 - "Somewhat Developed" (n=4); Level 3 - "Moderately Developed" (n=2), and Level 4 - "Well Developed" (n=1).
The analysis of state testing data from spring 2021 illuminated that more emphasis needed to be placed in mathematics instruction. As for EL students at EPHS, the emphasis needs to be placed on developing more effective integrated ELD instruction. EPHS is too small of a school to have a designated ELD program, but teachers delivering academic instruction in English can utilize instructional strategies, techniques, and activities that are shown through research to leverage higher levels of academic learning and English language acquisition. The two strategies that are emphasized include vocabulary development (Tier 2 words considered low-utility for academic language development and Tier 3 words that are subject-specific), and the expanded use of oral language during the instructional period. There needs to be a more conscious, deliberate emphasis on creating a rich oral language environment in all direct instruction classes.
Use of Additional Data
In order to determine learning loss and accelerate academic skills in ELA, math and ELD (as required by the 2020-2021 LCP, the distance learning accountability plan and subsequently in the 2021-2022 LCAP), diagnostic assessment needs to take place as early in the semester as possible. The ELA teachers administered the Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) assessment to ascertain reading skills. Once DRP data became available and the need for remediation became evident in order to mitigate learning loss, the ELA teacher modified curriculum and instructional plans to extent necessary to reach all students while still maintaining the focus of covering the CaCCSS for ELA. The math instructor used diagnostic test instruments available from their curriculum adoption to determine skill levels needed for Integrated Math III and “back-filled” any skills deficits students may have had.
Other additional data used for EPHS students is from the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS). This survey that provides our school district and their parents/community with quality local data can be used to improve student academic performance and social-emotional, behavioral, and physical health of all Firebaugh students. It assesses key indicators linked to success in school, career, and life. Local data gives our district and EPHS staff a better understanding of the relationship between students' health behaviors and academic performance.
Numerous constructs in the CHKS are examined and assessed and are thought to be critical for academic preparedness and for college and career readiness. Overall, female students had a tendency to report higher positive rates than their male peers except in the areas of perceived safety and the frequency of bullying. For all students, School Connectedness and School Environment appeared to hover around the middle of the scale, however, Academic Motivation for our female students was substantially higher than their male counterparts (72% vs 50%). The constructs detailed in the report contained a tremendous amount of percentage data based upon student responses and are too lengthy to mention in this statement, but the overall categories that affect student mental health and academic performance gives the EPHS staff substantive clues as to where to put more emphasis and where to direct resource allocations.
Students participating in alternative education programs in general tend to have less positive data in the CHKS, and the data analysis from this survey is a reminder to EPHS staff that students need to feel connected to their school by having positive relationships with adults, feel safe, and become empowered through a positive social environment and academic opportunities that will prepare them for adult life after they leave EPHS.
Lastly, another type of data that EPHS office staff closely monitored and used in our program for academic progress was attendance data. Because of the tiered pupil re-engagement requirement of the LCP, careful attention was paid to student participation and engagement, especially when they returned to in-person instruction. Alternative education students almost always have a history of chronic truancy so school-to-home connection became critical. Chronic absenteeism was higher in the 2020-2021 school than in previous years, but the need to increase attendance for EPHS students beginning this year (2021-2022) became a revitalized program goal, one that will further develop and improve after the pandemic restrictions are no longer a factor.