At a Glance
The Franklin County Career and Technology Center recognized that the COVID-19 Pandemic may have resulted in a gap in learning for students from the onset in 2020 up to and including the 2023 school year. Therefore, the leadership team began to discuss learning gaps with teachers and staff as early fall of 2020.
The conversations began with the following focus questions:
- What is “learning loss” or a “learning gap”?
- How can learning gaps be tracked consistently across all programs?
- How do we find data to indicate learning gaps?
- How would we know where students should be when they return in the fall of 2020?
- How do we measure a learning gap?
- What methods could we use to close the gap if one existed?
These early conversations established the foundation for understanding and approaching the issue of learning gaps between what teachers expected of students and what they would actually achieve by the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
From the outset of the 2020-2021 school year, teachers began to maintain a task tracking system. At intervals throughout the year, teachers met in small groups to analyze the evidence developing in regular and sustained task tracking. To determine if a learning gap existed, each instructor used a Task Tracking Tool to measure levels of student achievement. They had to identify in a typical year which tasks level one and level two students were expected to complete by the end of the school year. To maintain consistency, they needed to construct a consistent rubric to be used by all teachers for rating tasks. The rubric, developed and copyrighted in 2021 by consultant Daniel Perna, Ed.D., reflects four categories of task completion; Advanced; Proficient; Basic; and Below Basic.The criteria for each category is reproduced below.
- The student volunteers to do this task as it was taught.
- The student willingly accepts an assignment with this task because he/she can do it as it was taught.
- The student can articulate all the terminology related to completing the task.
- When the student offers to do it or is assigned to do it, the teacher is confident that the student can take on a job with this task without the teacher’s intervention to reteach or re-assess the student’s competency to do the task.
- The teacher knows that the student can state all necessary terminology in context of performing the task.
- The teacher is assured that the student will do the task as was taught and the student can complete the task without direct supervision.
- The student volunteers to do this task as it was taught.
- The student willingly accepts an assignment with this task because he/she has experienced performing the task.
- The student can articulate the terminology related to the task with minimal prompting from the teacher.
- When the student offers to do the task or is assigned to do the task, the teacher realizes that the student can take on this assignment if the teacher provides reminders and direction prior to and during the implementation of the task.
- The teacher is assured that the student will do the task as was taught, and the student can complete the task with a minimum of intervention supervision during the task completion.
- The student may volunteer to do this task but cannot articulate all the terminology as it was taught.
- The student has limited cognitive knowledge related to the task as it was taught.
- The student knows some of the procedure but cannot articulate the procedural steps as they were taught.
- The teacher recognizes that the student is moving toward accomplishment of the task, but the teacher has little to no confidence that the student can complete the task without direct or sustained teacher supervision.
- The teacher’s observation is that the student is not ready to do the task, therefore the teacher would not allow the student to do the task without constant supervision.
- The task has not been taught.
- The task has been taught but the student has never been assessed.
- The student knows little to none of the correct terminology related to the task.
- The task has been taught but the student has failed the assessments of the task.
- The task has been taught but not assessed.
- The teacher would not assign this task to a student under any circumstances.
All teachers were asked to use the Task Tracking Rubric during semester two of the 2020-2021 school year to rate their students’ progress. During that semester, administrators monitored the progress of the tracking. Following the completion of the ratings, the leadership team and teachers reviewed the data, comparing the number of tasks completed by seniors to similar data from 2019 and 2020 graduates. They scored each student to determine the student rating on task tracking and rated the percentile chance of the students achieving proficiency during their career at the school.
The data analysis revealed that fewer tasks are being completed but the quality of completion was high. In addition, it was discovered that a learning gap was not evident, rather students performed at different rates as in non-pandemic years. However, the lack of time for performance assessment during the pandemic actually resulted in a learning stoppage. The real “learning gap” actually was a “learning delay,” as students did not achieve as much as they did in previous years. Overall, the use of a consistent rubric supported rich conversations around student learning that actually helped the Franklin team get to the root cause of gaps or delays in student learning.
An impactful result of the study was the work done by Kevin Grove, a Diesel Technology instructor. Mr. Grove developed a specific approach for task tracking that involved Pre-instruction for what was going to be assessed, a specific time goal for proficient demonstration of the respective tasks being assessed, and ultimately a final assessment approach to completing the task list as students learned. Kevin developed a procedure and routine that made it possible for a parent, an administrator or the students themselves to know where they were rated on individual tasks at any time during the student’s career. Also, this procedure provided a predictable timeframe for task list completion. With Kevin’s designed approach, all stakeholders are able to accurately review the student’s progress and anticipate the student’s ultimate level of achievement.
Terry Miller, Administrative Director
Lesli Shuman, Assistant Director
Daniel Perna, James Daniel & Associates, LLC, Owner and President