ORWELL — Among the several other new additions to the Grand Valley High School this year are the Student Learning Objectives, otherwise known as SLOs.
Student Learning Objectives are state-mandated evaluations to determine the proficiency with which students learn the material of the course. Essentially, they are goals teachers set for their students, and at the end of the school year, they reflect how well each teacher accomplished these goals.
Lucas Strohm, one of three English teachers at Grand Valley, said, “The SLOs are a means by which we have to analyze our students’ current situation educationally and merge that with their learning capabilities in order to set goals for ourselves as teachers to ensure students are adequately growing towards being college- and career-ready. Basically it’s set up so that it guarantees we meet the minimum standards set by the state.”
The process is certainly a long one. Teachers administer pre-tests at the beginning of the school year in order to gauge where their students’ knowledge is and what specific areas teachers need to focus on. Then, in March, teachers administer post-tests, the same exact test the students used for the pre-test, so that the teacher can measure the growth of their students.
The SLOs are set up so that each teacher selects one course to construct SLOs for. Teachers then write two SLOs – one is very vague and comparable to a summary of the teacher’s goals for the students, while the other is very specific, detailing exactly how the evaluation will be carried out and all of the steps that should be taken to reach those goals.
These entail a non-targeted evaluation, in which results are generalized in relation to the percentage of growth from the preliminary and end tests. The targeted evaluation, on the other hand, is focused on a very specific set of questions in the pre-tests and post-tests.