As high school administrators and teachers you need to be strategic in your approach to helping students prepare for high stakes assessments. You need to look beyond item analysis for formative assessments. Lean six sigma toolkit offers some reliable and cost effective analysis tools to identify areas of weakness, potential for growth and continuous improvement models. Over the last few decades it has been used in manufacturing, hardware and software development, and customer service environments to improve product and service quality by identifying and helping to reduce defects. Online platforms that leverage lean six sigma are better at informing teachers the content areas that offer the most opportunity for improvement. Using this approach you can customize your instruction time. Research has shown that scheduling 40 to 50 mintues of instruction and practice over 8 to 10 weeks helps students on high stakes assessments when most of this time is spent on addressing specific student needs. Now is the time to embrace the six sigma toolkit to identify and remediate deficiencies - if you are still not convinced, the top three reasons are listed below.
- Allow students the opportunity to test online:
Students mostly take end of course assessments online and high stakes assessments like ACT using paper and pencil. Online assessments for end of course and ACT will vary from vendor to vendor, but they provide a cost effective and less disruptive approach to formative assessments. Students get the opportunity to understand the concepts being tested and administrators and teachers receive meaningful insights quickly. Administrators can use the feedback to identify specialist teachers required to teach students the concepts they need to master.
- Implement improvement programs that rely on personalized online content:
Online platforms should be able to provide teachers and administrators relevant feedback to structure their improvement program i.e., feedback based on score range, deficit areas and other sub-population measures to enhance program structure. Students and teachers need access to content tailored to address deficiencies identified by the assessment. Using lean six sigma approach improvement programs only need to last 8 to 10 weeks and not an entire year. Tools that allows the classroom to be flipped provide additional benefits - specialist teachers can work with multiple students at the same time – helping individual students work on their deficit areas.
- Collect data for continious improvement
It is possible to get overwhelmed by the reporting capability of online platforms. Teachers and administrators should focus on reports that monitor student effort, student proficiency in content, and efficacy of the instruction as evaluated by the questions in the databank. Teachers should be able to identify students who are falling behind and grade students using a rubric. After students take a post assessment, the platform should lend itself to identifying opportunities for continuous improvement.