In 2008, the Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE) sought out edCount’s expertise to support their efforts to fully implement and comply with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). In addition to helping PRDE provide evidence for the validity of its standards and assessment systems, edCount is also working with the department to improve their teachers’ abilities to prepare and deliver instruction that is aligned with the PRDE’s academic content and achievement standards.
The Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE) oversees an island-wide education system that serves more than half a million students. The stability and quality of the PRDE’s education and technical assistance services have direct and significant implications on the academic systems and outcomes for the entire territory. In 2008 the PRDE sought out edCount’s expertise to support their efforts to fully implement and comply with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Specifically, PRDE needed help providing validity evidence for its standards and assessment systems.
edCount began, as requested, by supporting the PRDE’s task of compiling validity evidence to submit to the United States Department of Education for peer review. Because our team includes individuals who have both prepared and reviewed peer review packages for other states, edCount is uniquely able to help clients ensure that their evidence package is thorough, accurate, and meets federal expectations. We identified what evidence and information the PRDE needed to gather to complete its submission, and then designed and implemented studies that would collect this information.
In the process of visiting schools and meeting with teachers and principals to collect data for PRDE’s peer review package, edCount observed a number of ways in which the PRDE could potentially improve its systems to provide teachers with better supports, and students with better instruction. In turn, these improvements could strengthen the validity of the PRDE’s overall assessment system, as well as strengthen the meaning and appropriate uses for scores from its assessments. Student learning and achievement could benefit from these changes as well.
Thus, the PRDE has engaged edCount to complete a number of additional technical assistance activities to meet these ends. The majority of these activities focus on providing teachers with the resources and supports necessary to provide instruction that is aligned to the PRDE’s academic content standards. To support this work, edCount has analyzed the PRDE’s standards and compared them to the common core state standards (CCSS). Having determined the overlap between these two sets of standards, edCount is now developing curriculum maps and pacing guides for teachers in four subjects (English as a second language, Spanish language arts, mathematics, and science) and thirteen grade levels (K-12). edCount also provides professional development conferences and seminars for instructors to help them understand how to use their new materials to support instruction, and is establishing communities of practice for teachers in schools throughout the island so that they can continue to collaborate outside of scheduled PD sessions.
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