Step 1: Each teacher uses his/ her own judgment based on student achievement during the current school year to place each student in one of five achievements levels
High Achieving - great at math and reading when compared to their age peers
High Average -great at math or reading, or they are pretty good at math and reading, but not as advanced at both as students identified as high achieving.
Average - achieve in the middle compared to age peers; achievement likely “on grade level”
Low Average - may struggle with reading or math; possibly slightly behind peers; appear to be able to avoid failure with some extra support
Low - struggle with school; risk failure
Step 2: Student data is analyzed
Special Education: These students have already been identified and have an IEP (Individual Education Plan) in place. They can be found in all five achievement categories.
Gifted & Talented (GT): Testing with the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) begins in 2nd grade. These students may also be found in all five achievement categories. Identified GT students will be placed with a minimum of three other GT students in the same classroom.
Measures of Academic Progress (MAP): This national norm-referenced computer achievement test is administered to all students in 2nd through 5th grade three times per year (beginning in 2009). Testing results provide teachers with clear data to help with differentiation.
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA II): All students from 3rd through 5th grade take this state test annually in the spring.
Step 3: Local assessments are considered, including:
Oral Reading Rate tests: These are administered four times per year for students in grade 2-5 and twice per year for 1st graders
Early Reading Literary Assessments: Individual assessments are given four times per year to Kindergarten through 2nd grade students and three times per year to 3rd graders.
Accelerated Reading (AR), Accelerated Math (AM) and Compass Math: AR quizzes are given to 1st through 5th grade students throughout the year. AM and Compass Math activities are assigned to 2nd- 5th graders.
Reading and Math Assessments: Chapter and Unit tests and Standards Based assessments are given at all grade levels.
Step 4: Holistic perspective
After identifying cluster categories for students, then reviewing national, state, district and school data, teachers consider other factors, such as:
- Discipline and attendance issues
- Student strengths outside of reading and math
- Student interests
- Past interactions among students.
Teachers in each grade level team meet to make tentative class placements at the end of the school year. The final class and teacher assignments are made by the principal during the summer.
Identification categories are designed to assist with placement in the Total School Cluster Grouping model, not as definite, permanent labels. Categories change as students grow, learn and develop.