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QTL News & Stories


Principal Says QTL Process Helped School Turn Around
March 2010

Student test scores soar as teachers focus on data, strategies.

creswell scoresCRESWELL, NC - Principal Randy Steele has plenty to brag about these days. In an era of shrinking budgets and rising demand for performance, Steele has seen test scores and student engagement skyrocket in the past year at Creswell High School.

In fact, over the past two years, student proficiency at Creswell has risen dramatically, from an adjusted 41% in the 2007-08 school year to over 60% in 2009-10.

For those gains, Steele credits his teachers' new approach to lesson plans, and he cites the school's partnership with Quality Teaching and Learning (QTL) as the "concrete" that solidified the staff's efforts.

"We saw some huge gains in the areas that QTL was working on with our staff," says Steele whose eastern North Carolina school has seen what he calls "dramatic changes" in scores since retooling classroom strategies.

A 2009 review by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction supports Steele's claim that QTL has been one of the positive actions the school has taken to improve student success and performance.
The review, shared with QTL by the school, says: "The Quality Teaching and Learning Initiative, with its ongoing coaching, has created the structure for collaboration and the discussion of teaching and learning."

Creswell High partnered with QTL to help teachers find more effective and affordable ways to engage students. QTL customized a plan for Creswell that successfully fit the school's needs.

"QTL helped us develop a common language, work together as a faculty to problem-solve, and find different ways to incorporate research-based learning strategies with technology and other areas," adds Steele.

An analysis of Classroom Walkthrough data at Creswell shows improvement in 18 different areas of instruction. Creswell High teachers showed a 63% increase in the variety of instructional practices they used, and a 62% increase in the use of Marzano's nine essential instructional strategies. Observers also recorded a 40% increase of student work at the application and analysis level, and a 55% increase of student work at synthesis and evaluation levels.

Creswell's success didn't come overnight. Principal Steele says major changes began last year with the new approach to lesson plans. The school increased its emphasis on Marzano's strategies, Bloom's taxonomy, and Classroom Walkthroughs.

Steele saw a conference presentation on the QTL Process last year and saw it as the last piece of the puzzle.

And those test scores Steele mentioned? The impact of these collaborative efforts is clear, especially in the middle grades, where reading scores shot up sharply and pass rates more than doubled in math.

The success story likely won't end here for Creswell. Expectations remain high as they continue to comb through data to identify students in need of differentiated instruction and dissect strategies for further improvement. Steele says the institutionalized strategies and common language developed with QTL form another building block for student success: consistency.

Read more about the Creswell success story on our QTL Blog.

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