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We finished up the last of our pre-state testing data conferences yesterday. Looking at the 111 students from my reading labs, the majority of them still have standardized testing data that is inconclusive as to what they may or may not do on the upcoming test. While some of our remedial students have gained two or more years of growth and are reading on or above grade level, there are still a lot who are showing growth but are still below grade level. What I learned from talking to students this week was that sometimes even the smallest gain can be a big victory.
For the students showing growth but still testing below grade level in middle school, even one year’s growth is a major victory. There have obviously been years where these students have not shown growth, or they would not be behind at this point. Many of these students are being raised by divorced parents, adoptive parents, grandparents, or other relatives. Many of these students are from low-income families. And most of them have things going on in their lives or learning issues that get in the way of them being able to make school a priority.
These students have worked hard for me, and I know that many of them still won’t be “proficient” once the testing is all said and done. Regardless of that fact, this week during data conferences, we let them know that we believe that they are working hard, that we believe that the growth they are showing is something they should be proud of, and that who they are matters more to us than their numbers.
Their little gains are big victories for all of us.