Leader of Instructors
Great leaders recognize the importance of keeping a finger on the pulse of an organization—always. The same holds true in education for leaders of instruction. Researchers agree that increased focus has been placed on the instructional leadership abilities of school principals due to the increased expectations and accountability measures for student achievement (Mayfield, 2018). The nuts and bolts of a thorough instructional program include sound instructional content and strategies, along with meaningful, high-quality assessments. As educators, we are charged with preparing students for optimal performance on assessments no matter how we feel about standardized testing.
Giving maximum attention to student achievement and improvement of instruction is central to the mission, vision, values, and goals of the school leader and organization (Kafele, 2015). Ponder these three questions while reflecting upon the instructional program at your school:
- Did students learn what they were taught?
- If they didn’t, how can they be taught differently so that they do learn it?
- What evidence is available to support or prove said learning took place?
Instructional Rigor through Assessment
Bambrick-Santoyo (2012) contends that assessment provides and defines the road map for instructional rigor and paints a clear picture, standard-by-standard, of how students are performing. When using assessment as the road map to rigor, he suggests beginning with the end in mind. Writing the assessment first enables the instructional route we travel to come into focus more clearly.
Consider the following three guidelines regarding assessment. High-quality assessments are:
- Interim—Give schoolwide interim assessments four to six times a year within eight weeks or less of one another to identify problems while change is still possible without overwhelming students or teachers;
- Common—Administer assessments across all classes and grade levels to guarantee equal rigor in each classroom; and
- Aligned—Develop sufficiently rigorous assessments aligned to the end goal determined for students (e.g., curriculum scope and sequence, state assessment, college readiness exams).
Data-Driven Instruction Model
Guaranteeing data-driven instruction is the single most effective use of a school leader’s time. Ongoing efforts to monitor and assess student performance are of chief importance in ensuring unquestionable readiness. Any assessment program put into place to help raise student achievement is worthless without evidence of effectiveness (Kafele, 2015).
Key steps to a successful data-driven instructional program include (Bambrick-Santoyo, 2012):
- Assessment—Administering high-quality assessments that define rigor;
- Analysis—Determining where students are struggling and why;
- Action—Implementing new teaching plans to respond to the analysis; and
- Systems—Creating systems and procedures to ensure continual data-driven improvement.
Begin again with assessment and the end in mind to repeat the cycle for continuous improvement! Top-tier schools expect students to consistently demonstrate academic success and achievement at high levels across the board.
Measuring Up is a great option when looking for a program that supports stellar instructional delivery, designs prescriptive practice, and delivers customized high-quality assessments. Measuring Up Live is a state-customized digital program that offers assessment and adaptive practice options for teachers and students. Use the library of assessments or build your own with an extensive item bank that ranks items by difficulty and cognitive level. This is the go-to program that offers a solid choice when implementing a data-driven instructional model that supports student achievement.
To learn more about Measuring Up and how it helps students to build standards mastery, visit us at masteryeducation.com today!
Bambrick-Santoyo, P. (2012). Leverage Leadership: A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Kafele, B. K. (2015). The Principal 50: Critical Leadership Questions for Inspiring Schoolwide Excellence. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Mayfield, S. V. (2018). Professional development experiences for assistant principals aspiring to the principalship as perceived by principals of effective Title I schools (Doctoral dissertation).
Zoul, J. (2010). Building School Culture One Week at a Time. Larchmont, NY: Eye On Education. Retrieved from Proquest (10689503)
Learn more about the author, Dr. Shauntee Mayfield, Ed.D.
After working in the hospital environment as a hematologist and microbiologist for several years, Shauntee Mayfield pursued her passion of becoming an educator by teaching science for Dallas Public Schools in 1996. She later earned a Master of Education degree in Educational Administration and served three elementary school communities in Cedar Hill Independent School District simultaneously as a traveling assistant principal. She was named an elementary principal within two years and subsequently moved to the intermediate school level. Ms. Mayfield completed the Principal Leadership Academy at Lamar University which led to her acceptance into the Doctoral Cohort where she earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Dr. Mayfield’s 20-year career in the school setting culminated in 2016 after four years at the helm of W.S. Permenter Middle School. Under her leadership, Highlands Elementary and Wilson Intermediate reached the Texas Education Agency’s Recognized status and Permenter consistently earned multiple Academic Distinctions, all Title I campuses. She currently serves as an Educational Consultant for Mastery Education.