Frankfort Ind. board briefed on new "dashboard" of classroom behavior data collected by U of L researchers; superintendent: plan in place to use information to help students improve

State Journal, Frankfort, Feb. 28, 2017

Frankfort High School measures progress

by Alfred Miller

Hark back to high school and you might recall that dread of walking into class not having done your homework. Sometimes you got called on it and perhaps you learned your lesson. On at least some of those occasions, though, you got lucky. Maybe the teacher wasn’t calling on as many students as normal that day.

At Frankfort High School, there is now a way of quantifying the chances of getting lucky. At the Frankfort Independent School District board meeting Monday, Principal John Lyons presented board members with a new “dashboard” of classroom behavior data collected by researchers at the University of Louisville.

Since September, the number of times teachers “invited” individual students to provide a response rose 32 percent to 0.29 “opportunities” per minute from 0.22.

Other metrics being tracked include the amount of time spent teaching (i.e., not doing administrative tasks like taking attendance) and the ratio of positive to negative feedback given to students. Teaching time hovers somewhere above 97 percent and the ratio of positive to negative feedback rose to 7.57:1 from 1.5:1 in September.

“We want to motivate with a carrot instead of a stick,” Lyons told the board.

The district, which has struggled academically in the past, still has its work cut out for it. Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments of math advances for 10th-graders registered a dip in performance compared to their grade level between fall and winter. But Superintendent Houston Barber said he was excited that there was at least now a plan being executed to use data to help his district’s students. Progress in math for ninth-graders improved over that time and progress in reading for ninth- and 10th-graders also improved when compared to their grade level.

Board Chair Becky Barnes is also optimistic about the data-driven approach.

“We’ve been working really hard to make sure we have a continuous effort to judge where we are and where we need to be, as we move those goals to higher levels,” she said.

In other business, the board chose Compass Municipal Advisors as its fiscal agent, renewed its mentoring program with Kentucky State University and approved an agreement with ProCare Therapy to have the firm find the district a new school psychologist.

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