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High Leverage Concepts: One District’s Story

This blog post, by Shayna Kalintsky, shares the story about how the High Leverage Assessments have been implemented in the School District. It is one example of how these assessments can be used to determine students' math understanding and provide information for planning instruction. Shayna is an Instructional Coach and Virtual Elementary Math Teacher in Windsor Central Supervisory Union. 


Like all of us, starting school this year was stressful; for obvious reasons but also because we were wondering where we were supposed to begin teaching? There were good guidelines from the Priority Documents but how many kids were actually ready for grade level material? There was this balancing act necessary: deliver core content but concurrently build capacity and proficiency with high leverage concepts that would provide the pathway for students moving forward in their math skills.

So in September across the district our teachers administered the High Leverage Assessment (HLA) for the previous grade to each student and grades kindergarten through grade 6. Teachers then planned instruction to address the needs of the students while still exposing them to and having them interact with grade level content. Many teachers also referenced guidance from the curriculum publishers on how to supplement instruction of this year's content with key activities from last year. 

Then, for the winter benchmark assessments, we administered the HLA tasks in which students were not proficient in the Fall as well as the current grade level HLA tasks. This helped tweak the plan for each student and allowed the teachers to plan instruction that was not only strategic, but developmentally appropriate.