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Past Projects

NYCDOE Work Sampling System Evaluation (2010 - 2012)

Made possible by the American Reinvestment Recovery Act (ARRA), select schools across New York City (http://schools.nyc.gov) pioneered NYCDOE’s Work Sampling System (WSS) during the 2010-2011 academic year. WSS is an authentic, performance-based assessment that enables teachers to document and monitor students’ developmental progress three times during the academic year, while informing curriculum and instruction. This assessment tool considers whole-child development across seven learning domains for students in grades kindergarten through three. It helps teachers strategically document student behavior, knowledge, and performance over time with observations and student work samples. In its pilot year among city teachers, the Office of Early Childhood Education (OECE) introduced a series of workshops, materials, and onsite support to aid participating educators in introducing Work Sampling into their classrooms.

With OECE as the reporting audience, Hezel Associates used case studies to ascertain (a) the quality of school training and support provided by its instructional team, as reflected in teacher work-sampling practices; (b) the nature of facilitation of WSS tools in a sample of classrooms; and (c) a preliminary assessment of the quality and utility of student data resulting from use of the tools. In order to achieve these evaluation objectives, Hezel Associates developed a study protocol and data collection instruments, followed by obtaining dual IRB approval and recruiting school participants. Hezel Associates’ evaluation activities included conducting (a) observations and focus group interviews with WSS Instructional Coordinators providing professional development; (b) site visits to schools to observe instruction, interview teachers and administrators, and review student work; and (c) two online surveys, tailored to administrators and teachers at participating schools. The OECE received a case-level summary for each of 12 site visits, three across-case formative summaries, and an in-person debrief to WSS program managers to inform future WSS implementation. The presentation of findings included conclusions and recommendations, highlighting several commendations provided by pilot participants and suggestions for forthcoming WSS implementation by trainers and teachers.

With an interest in building upon a formative evaluation provided during the pilot year, the NYCDOE re-approached Hezel Associates for a follow up evaluation in 2012, using the same evaluation questions as the preceding year. The evaluation activities included revising interview protocols; conducting telephone interviews with teachers and administrators at 14 schools or community-based organizations; analyzing extant survey data; preparing a mid-term and final report; and presenting an oral debrief for the OECE. The written and verbal presentation of findings included benefits, challenges, and recommendations to inform future WSS implementation.