Hillcrest and Main, Inc.

Work we've done

Web Site Creation

Online Tools and Technical Assistance

Assessment and Accountability Programs

Leadership Training
Presentations

MDK12.org - Hillcrest and Main
Web Site Creation

In partnership with our web design team --- UAQA --- we have created two web sites as part of our work with the Maryland State Department of Education.
 
The School Improvement in Maryland Web site is a comprehensive site that provides technical assistance to schools in using data to improve student achievement. It guides school teams through the school improvement process with a focus on analyzing state assessment data to set improvement goals, analyzing school data to clarify problems in low performing areas, and using classroom data to monitor student progress. It provides support in understanding state content standards, state assessments and scoring rubrics. Many of the individual tools and resources are identified in the following online tools section.
 
The 2002 Maryland School Performance Web site is Maryland's annual report to the public of state, school system, and school level performance and information. The data are collected and reported on an annual basis to provide accountability at the state, school system, and school levels. The analysis and interpretation of these data provide the basis for school improvement efforts and consequences at each level.
 
A third web site, Meet AYP was created by Hillcrest and Main as a public resource to states, districts, and schools who are challenged to set, implement, and meet the adequate yearly progress targets. It provides technical assistance to districts and schools as they work to meet AYP.
 
We are currently developing online professional development for Learning Point Associates to support school, district, and state educators in preparing for, taking, and utilizing the results from the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum.

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Online Tools and Technical Assistance

The following online tools and products were created as part of our work with the Maryland State Department of Education on the School Improvement in Maryland Web site.
 
— Using Data —

Analyze AYP data is a animated audio tutorial designed to support schools and districts in understanding the Maryland AYP rules and in reading and interpreting their graphed data.
 
Analyzing state assessment data provides graphed data for each school of their performance on the Maryland State Assessments, the new Maryland assessment that meets NCLB guidelines.
 
Evaluating special education programs guides districts through the process of examining the performance of students with disabilities over time to determine the effectiveness of their program.
 
Formative Tools for Reading Comprehension guides teachers through the process of collaboratively defining proficiency on an assignment and then diagnosing student strengths and needs and identifying next instructional steps based on the diagnosis.
 
Learning about analyzing state assessment data provides audio explanations with animated visuals and a chance to practice what is learned in four skill areas: reading graphs, interpreting graphs, identifying questions the data raise, and identifying questions to guide the discussion.
 
Interpreting state assessment data is an audio discussion between two Maryland psychometricians who interpret the data for one elementary school through an examination of 13 graphs of performance results. Viewers can also practice interpreting additional graphs and compare their thinking to an audio interpretation by our psychometricians.
 
Using data to improve student achievement is an online course for school leaders to build capacity to use state data to inform school improvement planning, school data to clarify a problem, and classroom data to monitor student progress and inform instruction. The course is organized into a series of workshops that include a set of practice activities and a performance outcome. Multi-media presentations are an integral part of the course delivery.
 
Engaging in data discussions – what school boards need to know. In order to make sound data-driven decisions, schools boards need to be savvy about analyzing data and asking focused questions. This resource walks school boards through the questions they need to ask superintendents.
 
Presenting tests to the public is a critical strategy to helping teachers, students, parents and other stakeholders understand how specific content standard indicators are being assessed. Maryland has released three test versions of the new high school assessments over the past three years for each of the tested content areas: Algebra, Geometry, Government, Biology, and English.
 
Understanding the state assessments provides information and answers questions about the state assessments in grades 3 - 8 and grades 9 - 12. Among the questions answered are what the assessments test, what they look like, and how they are scored.
 
Scoring constructed responses uses an animated audio presentation to explain how student responses are scored using the state rubric and anchor papers. After viewing the scoring tutor, participants can practice scoring a set of responses and compare their score to those of professional scorers. Explanations of why the responses received the scores that they did are also provided. Practice scoring is available for each of the tested areas:
Algebra, Geometry, Government, Biology, and English.
 
Understanding AYP discusses and illustrates the decisions a state needs to make to set adequate yearly progress goals. Baseline data, minimum number of students for subgroups, and intermediate and annual goals are discussed.
 
— Monitoring Student Progress —

Monitoring student progress discusses why monitoring is important, how to set up a monitoring plan, how to graph and analyze student monitoring data, what can be learned from examining student work and how to use the data to inform instruction. An audio interview with the 2002 MD Teacher of the Year provides additional insights.
 
Developing student performance monitoring plans guides school leaders through the process of developing a monitoring plan. It includes sample monitoring plans and grade book templates as well as audio and video descriptions of how selected Title I schools developed their plans.
 
Creating grade sheets and monitoring tools customized to state standards is a tool teachers can use to customize grade sheets for a specific unit or a grading period. Teachers check off the indicators they want to include in the unit of study and then hit a button to process the choices which creates a grade sheet of those indicators with a column for student names and assessment information. The grade sheets can also be downloaded into Excel with a single click and further customized.
 
Examining student work through classroom walk-throughs guides school leaders through the process of conducting classroom walk-throughs. A math expert discusses what she looks for in mathematics student work.
 
— Leading School Improvement —

Leading the school improvement process guides principals and school leadership teams through a year long 10-step process that results in a school improvement plan, staff development plan and school improvement calendar. Particular emphasis is on the role of the principal in leading the process.
 
— Identifying Instructional Strategies —

Teaching and Assessing the Curriculum provides Maryland teachers with the Voluntary State Curriculum (Maryland’s content standards), a Toolkit of resources aligned with the objectives of the Voluntary State Curriculum, and instructional strategies and sample or public release assessments for mathematics, English language arts, science, and social studies. Examples of resources in the Toolkit include sample assessments, public release tasks, lessons plans, and clarification documents.

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Assessment and Accountability Programs

Mark has provided leadership for the design and implementation of Maryland's assessment and accountability program for over 15 years. He provided leadership for the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program for grades 3, 5, and 8 during its 10 year history as well as developed the new high school assessments. Quality Counts 2000 and 2001 rated Maryland's standards and accountability the highest in the nation. Before his retirement from MSDE, he transitioned the department to a new assessment program that meets the requirements of No Child Left Behind.
 
Since retirement, Mark has provided consulting services on accountability and assessment to a number of states and school districts through the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessments (Nevada, Utah), the Council for Basic Education (Mississippi, Montgomery County Public Schools), and the McKenzie Group (Washington D.C.). In addition, he has provided direct services to Delaware and the New Jersey Performance Assessment Alliance. For the National Research Council, he prepared a design paper for a model state science assessment system to meet NCLB requirements. Most recently, he has been working with the Fund for Educational Excellence in Baltimore City, Maryland to analyze the results of formative assessments for improving classroom instruction. He maintains a consulting relationship with Maryland's National Psychometrics Council and the Maryland Assessment Research Center for Student Success.

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Leadership Training

Lani has trained principals, school leadership teams, and district leaders across the state of Maryland how to use data effectively to teaching and learning. She worked with the Title I director in the Montgomery County Public School district to design and lead a two year, 12 session training for school leadership teams in 31 Title I schools on using classroom data to monitor student progress and inform instruction. She also collaborated with Towson University's Center for Leadership in Education to provide training for the 9 Eastern Shore school districts using the online course, "Using Data to Improve Student Achievement."
 
Mark and Lani have provided technical support to other states through CCSSO's State Support Team Initiative and SCASS. They have also worked with school boards, business leaders, and parent groups.

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Presentations

Education Commission of the States National Forum "Using Student Results to Make Key Decisions" (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
 
National Education Summit "Maryland's Decision Support System" (Palisades, New York)
 
National Association for Secondary School Principals "Using Data to Improve Student Performance" (Dallas, Texas)
 
National Conference on Large Scale Assessment "Using Large-Scale Assessment Data to Drive Local School Change: Experiences, Alternatives, and Options" (Houston, Texas)
 
National Conference on Large Scale Assessment "End of Course Testing: Associated Issues" and "Issues in Transitioning State Assessments to Computer Delivery" (Palm Desert, California)
 
National School Board Association Executive Directors' Summer Institute "Data-driven Decision Making for Boards" (Boyne Highlands, Michigan)
 
Nevada Legislative Committee on Education "Using Data to Improve Student Achievement" (Las Vegas, Nevada)
 
National Research Council "Lessons Learned from the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP)" (Washington, D.C.)
 
America Educational Research Association (Chicago, Illinois)
 
North Central Regional Education Lab Conference on Data Use "Analyzing and Using Maryland State Assessment Data" (Chicago, Illinois)
 
CCSSO SCASS Conference "School Improvement in Maryland Web Site" (San Antonio, Texas)
 
CCSSO State Support Team Initiative "Using Data to Drive Improvement (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
 
CCSSO State Support Team Initiative "Facilitating the Use of Data at the School Level to Improve Student Learning" (Washington, D.C.)
 
Office of Educational Research and Improvement "Web-based Decision Support System" (Washington, D.C.)
 
National Center for Educational Statistics
 
National Partnerships in Education (Washington, D.C.)
 
National Business Roundtable for Education (Washington, D.C.)
 
National Council on Measurement in Education. "Investigation of the Application of Cognitive Diagnostic Testing to High School Exit Examinations." (Chicago, Illinois)
 
National Council on Measurement in Education. "Designing Accountability Assessments for Teaching." (Chicago, Illinois).
 
National Reporting System for Adult Education. Making a Difference: A National Seminar on Using NRS Data. "Developing Effective report Cards: Lessons Learned." (Hilton Head, South Carolina).
 
National Conference on Large Scale Assessment. "Models for Multi-Level State Science Assessment Systems." (Boston, Massachusetts)
 
National Conference on Large Scale Assessment. "Web-based Technical Assistance for Understanding and Meeting AYP." (Boston, Massachusetts).

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