Instructors implementing Ascend/Elevate often struggle to determine where they should focus their improvement efforts. Below are a few strategies for identifying an entry point for your improvement journey. Determine which scenario feels most aligned to your context to identify your entry point.
Remember! Continuous improvement is a journey and selecting a starting point doesn’t mean other learning conditions will be neglected. Rather, it can mark the beginning of a meaningful commitment and launching point.
Lowest learning condition: Many educators have the instinct to start by trying to improve on the lowest scoring learning condition, which can be an effective entry point for improvement. You can easily find your lowest learning condition in the Student Experience Overview table at the top of your report. To better understand the meaning of the learning condition, review the individual measures that collectively make up the learning condition in the detailed results section. Because the composite score for the learning condition is the average of the scores on the individual measures, this will also give insight into the areas that are most in need of improvement. The last column in the Student Experience Overview table links to strategies that can be used to improve scores on each learning condition.
Learning condition with large equity gaps: The equity table disaggregates data by gender, race, and one additional subgroup (financial stress in Ascend and Focal Group in Elevate, if selected). Equity gaps of 10 or more percentage points are highlighted in red. It is worth looking closely at this table even if there are no numbers highlighted in red because there still may be differences in student groups’ experiences that are worth reviewing. If you notice that there is a large difference in how one group is experiencing the class as compared to another group, this might be an effective place to start your improvement journey.
Lowest or low score on an individual measure: Scores on the individual measures are averaged together to determine the percentage of students who rated each learning condition positively. Looking closely at how students responded to each question in the “detailed results” section of your report is another effective way to identify an entry point for improvement. As you review your detailed results for each learning condition, note specific measures that have especially low scores. You may have a few measures that stand out within a learning condition that is not your lowest. As you select an individual measure, interrogate what it means to students and use this to derive strategies for improvement. The principles in the learning condition’s associated practice guide may also support you to identify practices and activities to try out to improve.
Align your scores with other personal, department, or school priorities: As you review your report, look for learning conditions or measures that align to an area that you are personally invested in improving. For example, is your school committed to elevating student voice and you want all of your students to feel that they have agency and that their voices are heard? Is there room for improvement on a related learning condition? If so, this might be a great entry point for improvement even if there are no noticeable equity gaps and/or it is not your lowest scoring learning condition. Ascend/Elevate is designed to be used for improvement, so any of the learning conditions that matter to you can be entry points for improvement.
Lean in on your strengths or existing efforts: You may notice that a few learning conditions stand out as more positively rated than others. Consider what you’ve done that may have contributed to those high scores and make a commitment to continuing to implement those strategies across the school year. For example, if you notice that your scores on Meaningful Work are particularly high right after a unit that incorporates project-based learning, think about how you might integrate project-based learning into upcoming units that past students have found to be less meaningful or engaging.