At NTN results matter. All results. Not just those that are state mandated, but a full range of results that tell us how students feel, think, respond to and engage in a range of cognitive, emotional, behavioral and social activities associated with their educational experience.
How students perform on standardized tests is important, but state tests are only one measure of a student’s ability. It is equally important to measure how well students are able to think critically, problem solve and work in teams in order to accurately assess a student’s proficiency and preparedness. This year NTN has renewed its examination on data and accountability, increasing its efforts to collect data that demonstrates how effective the New Tech Model is in preparing young people for success in college.
Data is a tricky thing, and, if collected narrowly, it tells only a small part of the story about what students are and are not learning. That’s why the NTN School Design and Implementation Team have been working closely with several universities to develop data points that tell the full story of how well the New Tech model works while at the same time helping schools develop data points that also effectively measure individual students success.
In other words-NTN is hard at work determining the best way to use data to demonstrate what many principals, teachers and students know as the New Tech Effect—that thing that happens every day in classrooms across the New Tech Network when students connect to their learning, engage in new projects and work in teams.
According to veteran NTN Assistant Director, Paul Curtis, NTN collects data for many reasons. First, to measure fidelity to the New Tech Model, second to help schools assess how well individual students are doing, and finally to monitor progress centrally across the Network.
Why fidelity to the model?
“If we get schools to fidelity, it will help to improve both individual student success and strengthen the network,” said Paul. “You can’t do one without the other. A strong school, implementing all key aspects of the model is going to have better outcomes for students”, he explained. “Our goal is to give students the best schools possible and to help shape a national debate around how we define a successful secondary school. We need a range of data to do that.”
Over the last year, the NTN team has worked with a set of schools to increase the accuracy and reliability of the data collected to create a uniform set of data points across the network. This includes the measuring of 21st century skills using the College Work and Readiness Assessment (CWRA) - currently administered as a pilot in 10 schools. Using the National Student Clearing House, NTN is tracking students after they enter college, to see how well they faire in their college experience and whether or not they graduate.
“Of the students that went to the original New Tech in Napa, more than 70% went on to college, that’s much higher than the national average which is 50%,” said Paul. “But, there is a 50% dropout rate in college, [worse for community colleges] and so we need to know how well our students do once they get to college.”
This winter NTN will also generate individual school performance reports summarizing achievement data as well as network wide evaluations. This data will include performance measures that enable schools to assess whether a student possesses the knowledge, strategies, and skills to successfully compete in college and the workplace. In addition, over 20 schools will take part in the Youth Truth Survey which is designed to measure student levels of engagement, relationships with adults and peers, and challenges.
“As a parent if you had a choice that empowered your kid and one that didn’t, wouldn’t you choose the one that had them come home excited about their day at school? Wouldn’t you want to feel confident knowing that that school was really preparing them for their future? That’s what we’re trying to show with the data,” explained Paul.
NTN continues to expand its collection of multiple data points and deepen its evaluation efforts, increasing the use of data for continuous improvement. The data helps tell the story of the New Tech Effect; it redefines learning in the 21st century by giving students the skills necessary to graduate high school, complete college and move into successful careers.
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