Discovering the Potential of Your Language Programs with Avant STAMP Data

Avant’s Regional Account Managers
Roger Burt and Bonnie Peterson

Hear from Avant’s Regional Account Managers Roger Burt and Bonnie Peterson about how they used the data from the Avant STAMP Assessment at Clearfield High School and Davis School District to improve their students’ outcomes and their school’s programs.

Roger:
My experience with STAMP started in my first year of teaching. I arrived at Clearfield High School in Davis School District in mid-December to teach Spanish 1 – AP and International Baccalaureate. The previous teacher had been sick, and the students had a different substitute every day for half of the school year. I had little idea what I was doing, and every day was a struggle to make it to the next day. In February, my District Supervisor told me about the STAMP test, and that she had a theory she would like me to try out.

Bonnie P:
My theory was that AP scores could be predicted using STAMP Data. This was back in 2012, and I had a  hunch that a student who had Intermediate-Mid (a score of 5 on the STAMP scale) they could get a 3 on the AP test. If they were Intermediate-High, they would get a 4 [on AP], if they were in the Advanced ranges, they would get a 5. So,  in February we had the AP students take the [STAMP] test and we saw that only one student averaged less than Intermediate-Mid. Roger worked with that student on their weaker spots, and when AP scores came out, all students passed! Our predictions for scores were nearly 100 percent

Roger:
After the first year, I was able to tell my AP students what the data meant in the past so that they could have an idea of what they needed to improve, and what their odds of passing the AP test were looking like. I realized that I could also use that information, that data, to encourage my Spanish 4 students to continue to AP [Spanish]. I discovered that many students did not continue to AP because they were discouraged by the perceived rigor and challenge of taking an AP course. But when I was able to show them that their data suggested that they would have passed the AP test, even in Spanish 4,  they were put at ease and my AP class size started to grow. I was able to grow my program as well as the junior high feeder programs because students were able to tell their younger siblings and their neighbors that we had a way to accurately predict AP success.

Bonnie P:
With this growth came new challenges. Davis School District had been using STAMP for horizontal alignment within same schools but now were intrigued with the possibility of placing students based on proficiency, rather than seat time across the district. Roger and his colleagues were getting students entering their Spanish 4 course who had taken Spanish 1-3 at the Junior High School, and had received straight A’s but they were still Novice-Mid.

Roger:
felt so bad for these students because many of them had planned on taking AP the following year when they really needed to go back a level or more.  The other Spanish teacher and I had used STAMP data to place students into the appropriate class level, whether that meant repeating a level, or jumping ahead a level,  skipping a level where appropriate. Because of all the growth, We also had some who were ready to enter 10th grade in AP after 3 years of Spanish, based on our proficiency goals.

Bonnie P:
With the success and the momentum at Clearfield High School, we decided to start placing students into the appropriate class based on their proficiency level in more and more of our schools.  At the end of the school year, we would look at the STAMP data of all students, and we would give that data back to the high school, who then placed the students correctly. At the district level, we would send an email to all parents/guardians of these students, and we would state that their student had been placed at an appropriate level, based on proficiency. But we also explained in the letter that students were free to move to a class they wanted, but if they went below the recommended level,  they would like, but if they went below the recommended level, they were likely to be bored and potentially have behavioral problems. If they were to went where they were placed, they were likely to struggle, and that would be reflected in their grades.

Roger:
We were nervous to see how parents would respond to this, but they actually responded very well. After a few days in class, the students also were appreciative of the recommendations and enjoyed being in the appropriate class.

Bonnie P:
The varying levels of preparedness of students caused our district to look at curriculum and proficiency with new eyes. We created targets for each of our levels of that we taught. And, we re-worked our curriculum as well to improve vertical alignment. We also increased our professional development especially when it came to proficiency, and that was really to help ensure that all teachers were on the same page regarding proficiency and how to get students there.

Roger:
Because we had been testing students every year, we were able to track them on their path to earning the Seal of Biliteracy. We had more and more students taking language courses and we had more and more students doing more things with language. Many students were qualifying for the Seal of Biliteracy, and then continuing with AP and IB classes. They would qualify for the Seal in one language and then continue to study another language. Or, they would qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy, and then stop taking language courses so they could pursue classes they needed in order to graduate.

I love what STAMP was able to do for me and my teaching career, as well as that of my colleagues. But most importantly, I’m thankful for what STAMP was able to help students accomplish.

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