One of Florida’s Race to the Top initiatives is that all districts will implement a local instructional improvement system (LIIS) to provide teachers and administrators with the information and resources they need to improve their instructional practices, decision-making, and overall effectiveness. To systematically manage continuous instructional improvement, regional educational consortia across the state are turning to Performance Matters, a web-based solution that provides an integrated platform for student assessment, data management and teacher effectiveness.
The Panhandle Area Educational Consortium (PAEC) and the Heartland Educational Consortium (HEC) are the most recent consortia to make the Performance Matters assessment and data management system and the FASTe(Formative Action System for Teacher Effectiveness) platform available to their member districts.
To date, all six HEC districts and 11 of 13 PAEC member districts, as well as two PAEC participating districts, have purchased the Performance Matters assessment and data management system. The web-based system, which is currently in use in 47 percent of Florida school districts, helps educators improve student learning by providing an integrated solution for data-driven decision making, from the individual student level to the district level. Using intuitive, interactive dashboards and color-coded reports, educators can easily slice and dice data to monitor student performance and growth in real time, evaluate instructional impact, and analyze policies and programs.
The districts also purchased FASTe, a turnkey system for evaluating educator effectiveness, with an easy-to-implement framework that can be customized for each school district. Accessible year-round, the FASTe online platform enables educators to “progress monitor” their performance against the multiple measures that make up their annual evaluations and link to relevant, timely professional development resources. At the end of the year, educators can then produce summative rating reports, based on the school system’s criteria.
Heartland Educational Consortium
In HEC in central rural Florida, the DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, and Okeechobee county school districts began using the Performance Matters assessment and data management system during the 2011-12 school year, and plan to launch FASTe in 2012-13.
“Heartland Educational Consortium’s partnership with Performance Matters could be summed up as one of the most effective and pleasant business relationships I’ve ever been involved with,” said Tom Conner, executive director of HEC. “Early on when Hardee County Schools began using Performance Matters, we took at look at the consortium level and everyone decided this was direction they’d go. That’s not that ordinary — to have six school districts find a single solution that’s viable for each of them. What sold our districts is that the interface is very teacher-friendly. It allows teachers to easily drill down and look at data from our state assessments and from the formative assessments developed individually in each district and collectively within HEC, so they can adjust their instruction throughout the year. Overall, it’s made the use of data in our districts much more streamlined and effective. And, the feedback I’ve received is that it’s one of most user-friendly software applications we’ve ever had, which is a nice change from other systems we’ve used in the past.”
Panhandle Area Educational Consortium
Since its creation in 1967, PAEC — Florida’s oldest regional educational consortium — has been a leader in multi-district initiatives incorporating leading-edge technology, such as the FloridaLearns Academy professional development center and the Florida Education Channel. After reviewing several LIISs, PAEC selected Performance Matters as a preferred provider for its member districts. To date, member districts including Calhoun, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington county school districts, as well as participating districts including Florida State University (FSU) Schools and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Developmental Research School, have purchased the Performance Matters assessment and data management system and FASTe. They plan to fully launch the systems at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year.
“Of the different systems our districts reviewed, Performance Matters was the one solution that met their needs and at a cost they could afford,” said Sharon Mitchell, administrator of instructional services for PAEC. “The data analytics functionality is very important to our districts, and Performance Matters makes it easy to access and view data in several different ways, from the teacher level to the principal level to the district level. Our districts also anticipate using the FASTe platform to make it easier to conduct evaluations and connect teachers to differentiated professional development resources.”
“Our districts tell us they have a very positive relationship with Performance Matters,” said Patrick McDaniel, executive director of PAEC. “They say their implementations have gone smoothly and their communication with the company has been great. We believe the Performance Matters and FASTe systems will be very beneficial for our teachers and students, and will tie in nicely with our professional development efforts.”
About Performance Matters
Performance Matters helps K-12 school systems improve student learning by providing comprehensive, integrated solutions for assessment, data management and teacher effectiveness. Based in Winter Park, Fla., Performance Matters’ solutions are used by school districts across the country. For more information, visi twww.performancematters.com.