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Study Guide

Field 109: School Building Leader Part One 
Sample Performance Tasks

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Sample Directions

For each of the assignments in this section, you are to prepare a written response and record it in the on-screen response box presented with each assignment. You should use your time to plan, write, review, and edit your response for each assignment. You must write responses to all of the assignments in this section.

Read each assignment carefully before you begin to work. Think about how you will organize each of your responses. You will be provided with a felt pen and erasable notebooklet, which you may use to make notes, write an outline, or otherwise prepare your response. However, your final response to each assignment must be typed in the on-screen response box presented with the assignment. Each assignment contains directions for the suggested length for an appropriate response. You may use the word-count feature in the lower left corner of the response box to monitor the length of your response.

Your response to the written assignment will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

COMPLETENESS: The degree to which the response addresses all parts of the assignment

ACCURACY: The degree to which the response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills accurately and effectively

DEPTH OF SUPPORT AND UNDERSTANDING: The degree to which the response provides appropriate examples and details that demonstrate sound reasoning and reflects a strong understanding of the relevant knowledge and skills

Your responses will be evaluated on the criteria above, not on writing ability. However, your responses must be communicated clearly enough to permit valid judgment of your knowledge and skills. Your responses should conform to the conventions of edited American English. This should be your original work, written in your own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work.

Be sure to write about the assigned topics. You may not use any reference materials during the test. Remember to review your work and make any changes that you think will improve your responses. You may work on the assignments in any order you choose, but be sure to finish all three assignments before the end of the test session.


Assignment 1: Instructional Leadership

Competency 0001 
Instructional Leadership for Student Success

Use the information below and the six documents provided to complete the assignment that follows.

You are the new school building leader of Branson Heights Middle School. The school is located on the outskirts of a relatively affluent suburb. Over the past three years, the school has maintained a steady enrollment of approximately 750 students in grades  6 to 8.  Staffing has not changed over the last two years. Approximately  25 percent  of students at Branson Heights are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and the community has experienced a slight economic downturn with the closing of a few major employers. School faculty and staff strive to provide a positive environment for all students and families. Branson Heights enjoys strong community and family support.

The district's new superintendent has charged you with developing an instructional change plan for the middle school. Many of the district's professional learning sessions have focused on reevaluating the mathematics curriculum to align it to the New York State Learning Standards ( N Y L S ), looking at formative assessment data to measure student growth, and conducting cross-curricular planning sessions to embed more complex text in all lessons. Branson Heights has redesigned its mathematics curriculum to reflect the  N Y S L S  and to align with the focus topics identified by the  N Y S L S  as the major work of each grade. Your teachers have been very active in supporting the curriculum redesign and have asked for professional learning to support its implementation.

It is October and you have received the first round of formative assessment data.

Document 1

Student Performance Indicators for Branson Heights Middle School

State Assessment Results for All Students
Two-Year Comparison

This table displays the percentage of students in all groups scoring at or above Level 3 ("meets proficiency standard").

Subject School District State
2 Years Ago Last Year 2 Years Ago Last Year 2 Years Ago Last Year
E L A 62 percent 67 percent 62 percent 60 percent 57 percent 58 percent
Math 48 percent 49 percent 47 percent 50 percent 49 percent 50 percent

State Assessment Results by Student Group
Two-Year Comparison

This table displays the percentage of students, by group, scoring at or above Level 3 ("meets proficiency standard").

  Percent of School Population 2 Years Ago Last Year
E L A Math E L A Math
Female  51 percent   67 percent   44 percent   72 percent   44 percent 
Male  49 percent   59 percent   52 percent   62 percent   54 percent 
Grade 6  31 percent   64 percent   53 percent   72 percent   54 percent 
Grade 7  33 percent   65 percent   50 percent   70 percent   51 percent 
Grade 8  36 percent   61 percent   45 percent   64 percent   46 percent 
Economically Disadvantaged  25 percent   50 percent   41 percent   53 percent   44 percent 
English Language Learners  19 percent   40 percent   36 percent   36 percent   37 percent 
Students with Disabilities  20 percent   41 percent   30 percent   44 percent   34 percent 

Document 2

Formative Assessment Results, English Language Arts (E L A) and Mathematics

Formative Assessment Results for  E L A  Grade 6 through 8 
(end of 1st quarter)

(percentage of students answering more than 65 percent
of formative assessment items correctly)

This cell intentionally left blank. Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8
Reading Closely & Writing to Learn 51 percent 50 percent 47 percent
Working with Evidence 50 percent 51 percent 47 percent
Understanding through Research 48 percent 53 percent 55 percent
Forming Positions 45 percent 48 percent 45 percent

Formative Assessment Results for Math Grade 6 
(end of the 1st quarter)

(percentage of students answering more than 65 percent
of formative assessment items correctly)

Ratios and Proportional Relationships 63 percent
The Number System 51 percent
Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities 44 percent

Formative Assessment Results for Math Grade 7 
(end of 1st quarter)

(percentage of students answering more than 65 percent
of formative assessment items correctly)

Ratios and Proportional Relationships 55 percent
The Number System 36 percent
Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities 34 percent

Formative Assessment Results for Math Grade 8 
(end of 1st quarter)

(percentage of students answering more than 65 percent
of formative assessment items correctly)

Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities 29 percent
Functions 37 percent
Geometry 40 percent

Document 3

Student Survey Results for Branson Heights Middle School (last year) 

English Language Arts (E L A) and Mathematics Classes, Grades 6, 7, 8

Student Survey Results 
(average percent agreement)
 This cell intentionally left blank.  Grade 6 E L A Classes Grade 7 E L A Classes Grade 8 E L A Classes Grade 6 Math Classes Grade 7 Math Classes Grade 8 Math Classes
My teacher in this class cares about me as an individual. 92 percent 88 percent 80 percent 74 percent 69 percent 57 percent
Students in this class stay focused and don't waste time. 86 percent 83 percent 90 percent 92 percent 88 percent 86 percent
My teacher in this class explains difficult things clearly. 77 percent 75 percent 72 percent 47 percent 43 percent 38 percent
My teacher in this class expects me to explain my answers and clarify why I think what I think. 52 percent 41 percent 35 percent 34 percent 36 percent 30 percent
My teacher in this class makes learning enjoyable. 76 percent 64 percent 55 percent 38 percent 32 percent 27 percent
My teacher in this class wants us to share our thoughts. 84 percent 82 percent 78 percent 28 percent 35 percent 22 percent
My teacher in this class takes time to summarize what we have learned during each lesson. 42 percent 46 percent 50 percent 65 percent 62 percent 51 percent

Document 4

Excerpt from Teacher Survey Results (last year)

Branson Heights Middle School 
Results of Anonymous Teacher Opinion Survey
When considering your experiences at Branson Heights Middle School over the past three years, how much do you agree that: English Language Arts (E L A) Teachers (percent agreeing or strongly agreeing) Math Teachers (percent agreeing or strongly agreeing)
You enjoy working in this school. 83 percent 75 percent
You feel effective in your role. 81 percent 73 percent
All students are receiving instruction appropriate to their needs. 68 percent 53 percent
You are interested in professional learning opportunities to help you develop your ability to achieve instrumental goals for all of your students. 76 percent 84 percent
You have access to ideas, support, and materials to effectively differentiate instruction for students of various ability levels. 72 percent 51 percent
You possess the knowledge and skills needed to help students from all economic backgrounds and family circumstances progress academically at an adequate pace. 64 percent 47 percent
You possess the knowledge and skills needed to help English language learners progress academically at an adequate pace. 58 percent 46 percent
Diverse learners are welcomed and appreciated at this school. 89 percent 86 percent
English language learners are generally receiving effective instruction. 61 percent 52 percent
The school provides appropriate enrichment opportunities for higher-achieving students. 72 percent 78 percent

Document 5

Teacher Evaluation Data

Composite Evaluation Scores: All Teachers (last year)

(as assessed through multiple measures, including measures of student achievement and other measures of teacher practice)

  Ineffective Developing Effective Highly Effective
Subject Area Total Teachers N percent N percent N percent N percent
Grade 6 E L A 6 0 0.0percent 0 0.0percent 4 66.7percent 2 33.3percent
Grade 6 Math 6 0 0.0percent 1 16.7percent 5 83.3percent 0 0.0percent
Grade 6 Special Education 4 0 0.0percent 1 25.0percent 2 50.0percent 1 25.0percent
Grade 6 Non-Core (G&T, Library Media, Health) 3 0 0.0percent 0 0.0percent 2 66.7percent 1 33.3percent
Grade 7 E L A 6 0 0.0percent 1 16.7percent 3 50.0percent 2 33.3percent
Grade 7 Math 6 0 0.0percent 2 33.3percent 3 50.0percent 1 16.7percent
Grade 7 Special Education 3 1 33.3percent 0 0.0percent 2 66.7percent 0 0.0percent
Grade 7 Science, Social Studies, LOTE 9 0 0.0percent 1 11.1percent 6 66.7percent 2 22.2percent
Grade 8 E L A 6 0 0.0percent 0 0.0percent 4 66.7percent 2 33.3percent
Grade 8 Math 6 0 0.0percent 2 33.3percent 3 50.0percent 1 16.7percent
Grade 8 Special Education 2 0 0.0percent 0 0.0percent 2 100percent 0 0.0percent
Grade 8 Science, Social Studies, LOTE 10 0 0.0percent 0 0.0percent 5 50.0percent 5 50.0percent
Grade 6-8 Specialty Areas (PE, Art, Music, FACS) 10 1 10.0percent 1 10.0percent 4 40.0percent 4 40.0percent

Key:

E L A – English Language Arts 
 G and T  – Gifted and Talented 
L O T E – Languages Other than English 
 P E  – Physical Education 
 F A C S  – Family and Consumer Sciences

Document 6

Teacher Observation Summary Data (last year)

(number of teachers scoring at each level of performance on the teacher practice rubric)

Chart showing the teacher Observation summary data from last year with the number of teachers scoring at each level of performance on the teacher practice rubric in domain one planning and preparation in e l a there was one unsatisfactory one basic ten proficient and six distinguished in math there were two unsatisfactory three basic ten proficient and three distinguished in domain two the classroom environment in e l a there were two unsatisfactory two basic nine procient and five distinguished in math there were three unsatisfactory five basic seven proficient and three distinguished in domain three instruction in e l a there was on unsatisfactory three basic ten proficient and four distinguished in math there were two unsatisfactory six basic eight proficient and two distinguished in domain four professional responsibilities in e l a there was one unsatisfactory four basic eight proficient and five distinguished in math there were three unsatisfactory four basic seven proficient and four distinguished

Read the six documents provided. Based on the information provided, respond to each of the following prompts. Be very specific in your answers, citing evidence from the scenario and documents as appropriate.

  1. Identify one strength of this school, citing evidence to support your response.
  2. Identify three areas of need in the instructional program, citing evidence to support each need.
  3. Which area of need would be your highest priority? Explain why.
  4. What are two important questions you must answer to address your highest priority area of need? Explain why each question is important to address.
  5. How will you go about getting answers to EACH question?
  6. What actions would you take to address the school's priority need? Explain why.
  7. How would you leverage the identified strength of the school (see Part A) to address the priority need?
  8. What possible challenges might your actions create and what are some ways that you could manage these challenges?

Your response should be approximately 600 to 800 words and may be in a format of your choice (e.g., paragraphs, bulleted list).

Sample Response to Assignment 1

(733 words)

  1. A major strength at Branson Heights Middle School is the staff's support of students and dedication to improvement. Teachers have supported the curriculum redesign and over 75% of all math and English Language Arts ( E L A ) teachers would like professional learning to improve their practice. Moreover, staff are aware of areas where improvement is needed such as their ability to meet the needs of English language learners.

  2. 1. Student performance in mathematics is stagnant, with just under 50% of students meeting proficiency on statewide assessments and minimal growth for each grade level and student subgroup. Formative assessment results suggest limited understanding of NYSLS-aligned math concepts. 47% of math faculty report lacking the knowledge and skills to teach all students. Student survey results suggest low teacher expectations, minimal explanation, and failure to engage students in higher-level thinking.

    2. Students who are English language learners and students with disabilities score substantially below the general population and below students who are economically disadvantaged on statewide assessments. While students with disabilities showed some improvement over the past two years, the performance of English language learners declined in  E L A , to 36% meeting proficiency, and remained flat in math.

    3. Discrepancies exist between teacher evaluation and teacher observation summary data. A majority of teachers received ratings of "effective" or "highly effective" last year. Teacher observations indicate weaknesses, however. For example, 8 of 18 math teachers were rated "basic" or "unsatisfactory" in the classroom environment and instruction domains.

  3. The highest priority is low achievement for English language learners and students with disabilities. 19% of students are identified as English language learners and 20% as students with disabilities, well above the state average. Less than 45% of these populations are meeting proficiency standards in  E L A  and Math. A substantial portion of the student population thus does not receive adequate instruction. Support for these subgroups is needed to increase their access to the curriculum, improving equity and overall school performance.

  4. 1. What professional learning opportunities and instructional resources would be most effective in helping teachers reach English language learners and students with disabilities? This information is essential to ensure teachers gain the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of all students. For example, only 58% of  E L A  and 46% of math teachers feel they possess the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of English language learners. Generalized professional learning will not be sufficient.

    2. What steps can be taken to align teachers' self-perceptions with evidence indicating weaknesses in instructional practices and skills? A majority of teachers feel they are effective, despite evidence that English language learners and students with disabilities are not receiving adequate instruction. Teachers who recognize the need for improvement are more likely to adopt new practices and skills.

  5. The first step is conducting a needs assessment to determine what professional learning is required for faculty to meet the needs of English language learners and students with disabilities. In addition, teachers should engage in reflection and cycles of inquiry to recognize discrepancies between their perceptions and evidence of instructional weaknesses. The principal's role will be to facilitate data analysis and the development and implementation of action plans.

  6. 1. Utilize grade level and/or departmental teams to review student performance data, examine student work, assess instructional practices, and commit to improvement in instruction for English language learners and students with disabilities. Staff must own the performance of students in these subgroups and understand each teacher's role in improving their achievement.

    2. Implement job-embedded professional learning activities related to improving instruction for these subgroups. Teachers should spend the majority of their team planning and meeting time focusing on student learning and instructional improvement.

  7. Branson Heights's positive learning environment can be leveraged to address this need. In particular, strong interest in professional learning opportunities to achieve instructional goals for all students (76% of  E L A  and 84% of math teachers) could encourage staff to commit to instructional improvement.

  8. 1. Tension from teachers with inflated self-perception of instructional effectiveness when confronted with contradictory data.

    2. Communicating the need to improve instruction and achievement for English language learners and students with disabilities as part of an overall school improvement plan.

    Managing these challenges will require full staff involvement. Working with teacher leaders and implementing effective data analysis throughout the school will be important. The goal is to instill a heightened sense of commitment to improvement for all students.

Analysis of Response

The response demonstrates strength in the following Performance Characteristics.

Completeness: The degree to which the response addresses all parts of the assignment

The response thoroughly and completely addresses all aspects of each prompt, including actions to be taken, rationales for these choices, and evidence from the documents. The evidence cited is sufficient in quantity and quality and reflects an accurate interpretation of the data. The response illustrates the inquiry stance of a strong instructional leader. Taken as a whole, the multiple sections of the response draw upon all sources of data provided in the documents.

Accuracy: The degree to which the response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills accurately and effectively

The response reflects an accurate interpretation of the data provided, as well as the content of the scenario. Student and teacher survey information are cited to support the identified school strength, and the issue identified as the highest priority—low achievement for English language learners and students with disabilities—is clearly essential in promoting achievement for all students. Assessment data are used accurately to identify concerns and establish appropriate priorities related to instruction. Information drawn from the teacher survey data is used to identify steps which are likely to ensure that all students, including English language learners and students with disabilities, have full and equitable access to educational programs and curricula. The response further demonstrates an understanding of the need for specific, targeted professional learning in response to individual teacher needs, as well as the actions the school building leader should take to support and monitor plans for teacher growth and provide effective feedback.

Depth of Support and Understanding: The degree to which the response provides appropriate examples and details that demonstrate sound reasoning and reflects a strong understanding of the relevant knowledge and skills

The response illustrates the depth of understanding needed by a school building leader to act as an effective instructional leader and to establish the culture and foundational structures that would enhance the professional growth of the staff. Rationales provided for decisions about immediate priorities and areas for further inquiry demonstrate a balanced use of objective and subjective data to guide leadership actions. By raising questions that distinguish between the availability of instructional resources and teacher perceptions of their efficacy and needs, the response illustrates a problem-solving approach that effectively utilizes both materials and staff motivation. In addition, the analysis of challenges is logical and significant, and conveys a school building leader's respect for staff, willingness to engage teacher leaders in distributed leadership, and awareness of potential biases. Overall, the response demonstrates understanding of the scenario, appropriate use of data, and sound, logical reasoning.


Assignment 2: Educational Equity

Competency 0002 
School Culture and Learning Environment to Promote Excellence, Equity, and Social Justice

Use the information below to complete the assignment that follows.

You are the school building leader at an elementary school located in a rural district with an enrollment of approximately 610 students in grades  K to 5.  Over the past three years, a population of refugees from the same country has settled in the district. As a result of this development, the population of students who are English language learners at your school has significantly increased, from a low of approximately 5% of the student population three years ago to approximately 14% of the population at the beginning of the current school year.

The students who are refugees are fairly evenly distributed across grades  K to 5.  Developmental baseline assessments have been administered to students who are refugees as they have entered the school. While some students who are refugees are performing at or above grade level, results of the baseline assessments indicate that a majority have arrived in the district performing below grade level. For many of the students who are refugees, baseline performance is stronger in mathematics than in English language arts ( E L A ) and literacy. Over the past three years, the district has increased English as a new language ( E N L ) staffing at all schools in the district. In addition, faculty and staff have been provided with professional learning activities focused on culturally responsive instruction and pedagogy.

Throughout this period, you have been monitoring the school's efforts to meet the educational needs of these students. You have conducted numerous discussions with faculty members and have learned that teachers at the school are aware that students who are refugees have varied instructional needs. However, many teachers are uncertain about how to adjust instructional techniques to engage students who are refugees in learning activities that will effectively address their diverse needs. Some teachers acknowledge that they are improvising in an effort to engage the students who are refugees. In addition, a number of regular education teachers have expressed uncertainty about how they can best co-teach with the  E N L  staff who are in their classrooms. In separate discussions,  E N L  staff members have reported that some classroom teachers seem overwhelmed in their efforts to meet all students' needs and are not always able to collaborate effectively with  E N L  staff.

In an effort to further address the needs of all students and support the school's teachers and staff, you conduct a series of walkthroughs to observe instructional practices used by teachers when working with students who are refugees. You create a summary of your observations, which is shown in the table below.

Walkthrough Summary Data
(October, current year)

This cell intentional left blank Walkthroughs in Grade
K 1 2 3 4 5
Total Number of Walkthroughs1010810810
Classroom teacher directing instruction toward students who are refugees1010810810
Classroom teacher using differentiated instruction targeting students who are refugees1010810810
Students who are refugees actively engaged in learning775454
Students who are refugees interacting with classmates875444
Classroom teacher using varied groupings and cooperative learning strategies that encourage students who are refugees to interact with classmates564435
Classroom teacher providing strategic scaffolding (e.g., graphic organizers, visual aids, peer help) for students who are refugees676768
English as a new language ( E N L ) staff working directly with students who are refugees9879810
Classroom teacher working collaboratively with  E N L  staff to provide direct instruction454645
Classroom teacher and  E N L  staff consulting while students work independently or transition564556

Based on the information provided, respond to each of the following prompts. Be very specific in your answers, citing evidence from the scenario as appropriate.

  1. What is the primary issue presented in this scenario, and why do you believe this to be so?
  2. What are two important questions you must address in order to explore this issue? Explain why each is important to address.
  3. How will you go about getting answers to EACH question? What challenges might you face in getting answers to your questions?
  4. Describe one possible finding of your inquiry process and the potential action that finding would imply.

Your response should be approximately 300 to 400 words and may be in a format of your choice (e.g., paragraphs, bulleted list).

Sample Response to Assignment 2

(400 words)

  1. The primary issue is that the staff seems inadequately prepared to address the diverse needs of an increasing population of students who are refugees. In conversations with teachers, many indicated that they are uncertain about how to adjust instructional techniques to engage these students. In addition, regular education teachers and  E N L  teachers have reported that not all of them are always able to collaborate effectively. Both perspectives are supported with the walkthrough summary data.

  2. One important question that must be addressed is "What further professional learning is needed?" This information is necessary to plan for the professional learning and related activities that would benefit the staff in successfully meeting the needs of the population of students who are refugees.

    A second important question is "What are the obstacles preventing effective co-teaching between the  E N L  staff and the classroom teachers?" Evidence from the walkthroughs and the narrative indicate that the co-teaching approach is not consistent. Because the students who are refugees are fairly evenly distributed across all grade levels, successfully responding to this question would benefit the majority of the teachers and their students.

  3. To determine the professional learning needed, I would administer a survey to the staff. One purpose of the survey would be to gain information on what training the teachers may already have had, either through the school or independently, and where they see their areas of need with respect to additional training. The survey would also help establish what type of professional learning is still needed to make teachers successful in the instruction of students who are refugees. This information will be shared and discussed with staff in order to collaboratively plan for targeted professional learning. One challenge is creating a comprehensive survey that will be effective in gathering pertinent information. Another could be the amount of time necessary to administer the survey and then analyze and respond to the results.

    To answer the second question, I would engage staff in discussions with an emphasis on hindrances to co-teaching they could identify. A challenge could be the validity of the teachers' responses due to their lack of familiarity with the co-teaching model.

  4. One possible finding could be that teachers do not have effective strategies to further support the changing population of the school. This finding would imply that I should take action to provide targeted professional learning in the areas identified by the survey and discussions with teachers.

Analysis of Response

The response demonstrates strength in the following Performance Characteristics.

Completeness: The degree to which the response addresses all parts of the assignment

The response is fully addressed. A primary issue—staff "inadequately prepared to address the diverse needs"—is addressed and supported with evidence from the documents provided. Two important questions are identified and justified. Process to get answers to these questions are fully addressed, as are potential challenges. One potential finding is also fully described as well as a potential action that this finding would imply.

Accuracy: The degree to which the response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills accurately and effectively

A primary issue—"staff seems inadequately prepared to address the diverse needs of an increasing population of students who are refugees"—reflects an accurate interpretation of the information provided. The questions asked—regarding further professional learning needs, as well as potential obstacles preventing effective co-teaching—are appropriate, significant, clearly related to the issue, and accurately defended. Actions for obtaining answers, including surveying staff and discussions with staff, are thoroughly explained and appropriate. A possible finding of need for more training is accurate, and strategies to be addressed with additional professional learning are appropriate.

Depth of Support and Understanding: The degree to which the response provides appropriate examples and details that demonstrate sound reasoning and reflects a strong understanding of the relevant knowledge and skills

The response demonstrates a thorough understanding of the role of the school building leader in the given situation. The focus is on working with the staff to provide a better learning environment for the students. There is an accurate and thorough analysis of the documents provided, and relevant examples are provided in the response. Reasoning is sound.


Assignment 3: School Culture and Learning Environment

Competency 0002 
School Culture and Learning Environment to Promote Excellence, Equity, and Social Justice

Use the information below to complete the assignment that follows.

You are the school building leader at a high school enrolling approximately 460 students in a rural district. During the third quarter of the current school year, you receive a report from the school counselor regarding parent/guardian concerns about a new social media website that is popular with teenagers. Several parents/guardians have informed the counselor that their children have been the victims of online harassment perpetrated on the website by other students at the school.

Following the requirement of the New York Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), you initiate an investigation of the alleged cyberbullying. You meet with the school counselor, the parents/guardians who reported the harassment, and their children. The students confirm that they have received frequent harassing messages through the social media website. These students are reluctant to identify the perpetrators of the cyberbullying but indicate that only a small clique of students is involved. At least one student acknowledges receiving messages time-stamped during school hours.

Following this meeting, you speak with several of the students' teachers, who indicate that they have not been aware of the cyberbullying. Only a few of the teachers are familiar with the website where the bullying is taking place. The teachers report that they have not observed any bullying occurring in their classes. However, some of the teachers say they have observed incidents of apparent social isolation elsewhere in the school, such as in the lunchroom and in the hallways between classes.

You are aware that although discipline reports have not increased, both excused and unexcused absences have increased by approximately 5% during the current school year. As part of your ongoing investigation, you review the results of a school climate survey administered to students earlier in the year. An excerpt of the survey results is shown below. Before you are able to identify the perpetrators of the cyberbullying, unflattering pictures of the original victims are posted on the same website with cruel and insulting captions. You become aware of this incident only after word of the pictures spreads widely among the student body.

Excerpt from School Climate Survey Results (current year)
(88% of students responded)

This cell intentional left blank Strongly Agree Agree Unsure/No Response Disagree Strongly Disagree
I feel safe when I am at school.17%48%11%17%7%
Other students tease me at times.9%27%9%39%16%
Other students are mean to me at times.6%19%14%47%14%
I have teased other students in school.8%19%18%39%16%
I have teased other students online.3%13%21%42%21%
During school hours, I am distracted from my schoolwork by bullying that happens in school.5%22%12%45%16%
During school hours, I am distracted from my schoolwork by bullying that happens online.9%40%8%37%6%
I feel left out of social groups at times.8%36%10%39%7%
Sometimes I do not want to go to school because of the way other students act.4%19%14%41%22%
Teachers help students with their problems.12%49%11%19%9%
The school counselor helps students with social problems.10%43%16%23%8%
I feel that I can seek out a teacher or the school counselor for help with a social problem.7%37%15%30%11%
I have been teased or mistreated by another student online.6%29%20%34%11%
I feel that learning is a priority for students and teachers at our school.14%43%11%24%8%
I feel that I am part of a group in our school.16%39%15%23%7%

Based on the information provided, respond to each of the following prompts. Be very specific in your answers, citing evidence from the scenario as appropriate.

  1. What is an important school culture and learning environment issue presented in this scenario? Explain why the issue you chose is important.
  2. What are two important questions you must address in order to explore this issue? Explain why each is important to address.
  3. How will you go about getting answers to EACH question? What challenges might you face in getting answers to your questions?
  4. Describe one possible finding of your inquiry process and the potential action that finding would imply.

Your response should be approximately 300 to 400 words and may be in a format of your choice (e.g., paragraphs, bulleted list).

Sample Response to Assignment 3

(387 words)

  1. An important school culture and learning environment issue is that students are reporting that they are being bullied both on the internet and at school. This issue is important, since bullying has a negative impact upon student success at school, because students who do not feel safe are not going to be able to focus on their schoolwork.

  2. The first question to be addressed is "What is the extent of the bullying problem at the school?" This is important to address since before a problem can be dealt with, its severity needs to be assessed.

    The second question is "Are the systemic safeguards already in place for responding to incidents of bullying being communicated and understood?" Procedures to respond to bullying, both in and out of school, should be clear to all.

  3. To answer the first question, surveys need to be developed and distributed to all concerned parties. The questions on the survey would vary and would be targeted to obtain information from different groups (students, parents/guardians, and staff). For example, questions could focus on the frequency that bullying takes place, the locations/situations where students experience bullying, and how students, parents/guardians, and staff respond when incidents of bullying occur. While responses obtained from the survey previously mentioned might provide answers to the second question, it would be important to have discussions with the staff to ascertain their perspectives and misconceptions on the topic. The challenges to obtaining answers to the first question would be a lack of responses submitted, the validity of the responses offered, and a lack of familiarity with what constitutes bullying, especially cyber-bullying. The challenge to obtaining answers to the second question would be establishing a dialogue that would successfully obtain relevant information. Also, some staff might feel that they are being singled out for being derelict in their responsibilities.

  4. A possible finding of the inquiry process might be that the true scope of the bullying problem is more extensive than previously thought. If valid, there would be negative implications for student achievement. The potential actions would be to work with the school's Shared Decision-Making Team to develop and implement a transparent plan to help the school community successfully respond to bullying. The components of the plan would address the unique needs of students, parents/guardians, and staff regarding this issue.

Analysis of Response

The response demonstrates strength in the following Performance Characteristics.

Completeness: The degree to which the response addresses all parts of the assignment

The response completely addresses all elements of the task. An important school culture issue—students being bullied both on the internet and at school—and rationale why this is an important issue are thoroughly addressed, referencing evidence provided in the scenario. Two questions to address have been provided, and importance of each question is fully defended in the explanation. Steps to take in getting answers to these questions are also fully explained, as are challenges that might occur. One possible finding is fully addressed, and a potential action is fully described.

Accuracy: The degree to which the response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills accurately and effectively

The important issue—students being bullied on the internet and at school—is significant and fully justified by evidence from the scenario. Importance of the issue is fully defended in the explanation.

Two questions to be addressed—the extent of the bullying problem at school and the extent to which the systemic safeguards in place are communicated and understood—clearly relate to the identified issue and are fully defended in the response.

Developing and distributing a survey, as means to obtain answers to the first question, are appropriate and would be highly effective as described. Having discussions with staff to obtain answers to the second question is also appropriate and would be highly effective as described.

Challenges presented in the response—a lack of response to the survey, validity of responses, and a lack of familiarity with what constitutes bullying for the first question; establishing a dialogue and staff feeling singled out for the second question—are significant and highly probable for the situations.

A possible finding—true scope of bullying problem is more extensive than previously thought—is significant and highly probable in this situation.

A potential action—work to implement a "transparent" plan—is clearly connected to the finding described.

Depth of Support and Understanding: The degree to which the response provides appropriate examples and details that demonstrate sound reasoning and reflects a strong understanding of the relevant knowledge and skills

The response demonstrates a thorough understanding of the role of the school building leader in the given situation regarding cyber-bullying.

Explanations and descriptions of specific questions provided, as well as specific detailed descriptions of how to obtain answers to questions, are clear, providing high-quality relevant examples.

Reasoning regarding how cyber-bullying may be having a negative effect on students' school work as well as how to address the situation effectively is sound.


Performance Characteristics for Assignments 1 to 3

The following characteristics guide the scoring of responses to each assignment.

COMPLETENESS The degree to which the response addresses all parts of the assignment
ACCURACY The degree to which the response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills accurately and effectively
DEPTH OF SUPPORT AND UNDERSTANDING The degree to which the response provides appropriate examples and details that demonstrate sound reasoning and reflects a strong understanding of the relevant knowledge and skills

Score Scale for Assignments 1  to 3

Scores will be assigned to each response to the assignments according to the following score scale.

Score Point Score Point Description
4 The "4" response reflects a thorough command of the relevant knowledge and skills.
3 The "3" response reflects a general command of the relevant knowledge and skills.
2 The "2" response reflects a limited command of the relevant knowledge and skills.
1 The "1" response reflects little or no command of the relevant knowledge and skills.
U The response is unscorable because it is unrelated to the assigned topic or off-task, unreadable, written in a language other than English or contains an insufficient amount of original work to score.
B No response.