Standard 5

Using Results for Continuous Improvement

The school implements a comprehensive assessment system that generates a range of data about student learning and school effectiveness and uses the results to guide continuous improvement.

To access the Soldotna High School Faculty presentation for Standard 4 click Standard 5 Video.


Soldotna High School has established and maintained clearly defined and comprehensive student assessment systems. In past years these assessments have been aligned with the State of Alaska educational standards in each of our core and vocational areas. As of the beginning of the 2014-15 school term, all of the assessments will be tied to the National Common Core standards as well as our State educational standards. This process has been underway at Soldotna High School for the past two years, beginning with the English and mathematics departments.  It is hoped that assessment data will become even more consistent across all classrooms and all courses, rendering more accurate and useful knowledge that will greatly aide and guide classroom instruction. Standardized assessment data is regularly gathered, updated, and stored on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s (KPBSD) “Dashboard” website, where it can be readily accessed by Soldotna High School staff. This website also provides multiple sources of school-wide and individual student data, along with various analyses and descriptions of that data (Dashboard Data). The dashboard data is used to set both school and individual classroom goals on an ongoing basis.

Soldotna High School personnel utilize locally developed assessments to ensure consistent measurements across classrooms and courses, and to ensure student support and success. One of these measurements utilized by our counseling department is a 504 Plan along with more commonly used assessments such as Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) and student transcripts. Alternative assessments utilized by the counseling department are the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and the ASVAB. The English and mathematics departments have for the past year been utilizing quarterly and semester assessments to determine student understanding and to guide future instruction in the classroom (Assessments Ex. 1Assessments Ex. 2Assessments Ex. 3Assessments Ex. 4Assessments Ex. 5). Currently the social studies and science departments are developing quarterly and semester assessments that will be fully in place and utilized in the 2014-2015 school term (Advanced Algebra Common Assessment and WH Assessment, 2013-14). Individual teacher assessments are also used in developing and guiding instruction, such as rubrics and verbal and written assessments (CastleProject). Collage Board Advanced Placement Exams are also used as alternative assessments by the counseling department and individual staff members (AP Government Questions and AP Gov. Scoring). In addition, collaborative planning of instruction and sharing of assessment data is being utilized across subject areas. Similarly, programs such as Skills Tutor, EdPerformance, AIMsweb, and assessments contribute data for determining school-wide and classroom goals. All together these assessments comprehensively demonstrate the evidence necessary for evaluating student success and growth.


Professional and support staff at Soldotna High School continuously collect, analyze and apply learning from a range of data sources, including comparison and trend data about student learning, instruction, program evaluation and organizational conditions. All school personnel including administrators, professional staff, and support staff at Soldotna High School employ multiple monitoring systems to collect, analyze and apply learning from a wide variety of sources. A student monitoring system developed through KPBSD Data Processing Department incorporates a vast array of testing results as well as attendance, graduation progress and grade data in a user-friendly format easily accessible at a variety of demographic levels (see Dashboard Intro Letter). The use and maintenance of these diverse methods referred to in 5.1 include comparison and trend data with a comprehensive and complete picture of student learning, instruction, the effectiveness of programs and the conditions that support learning (see Dashboard). The full gamut of analysis tools is consistently reviewed and reevaluated by Soldotna High School administration, the site council, and all school personnel to recognize needs, evaluate effectiveness of instruction, and review other factors that affect instruction and learning (see 1st and 2nd Staff meeting SOHI 2013-14Feb 7th & 8th Inservice PT Conference 2013March 8th Inservice 2013 and student designation dashboard). In-class data, unit exams and daily work at the individual student level, is reviewed by professional and support staff to modify daily instructional strategies and/or recommend intervention services for identified students needing additional educational support (see I-Team). School and district-wide collaboration groups regularly analyze data from these sources to create compatible curriculum programs to ensure student success between educational facilities as well as at the Soldotna High School departmental level. Professional staff members use data from these sources to alter instruction across curricular departments to target areas of weakness in student testing. An example of a school-wide instructional change that affected a significant percentage increase in mathematical scores on the SBA test data from sequential years was the integration of geometric measurement within each discipline.


All professional and support staff members at Soldotna High School are trained in professional development related to the evaluation, interpretation, and use of data. In-service training that addresses school data includes Standards Based Assessments (SBAs), High School Graduation Qualifying Examinations (HSGQE), WorkKeys, Analytic Writing Assessment (AWA), and the Science SBA. Staff is trained to use the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s (KPBSD) Dashboard to analyze student assessment data (see student designation dashboard). There are also many alternate assessments used to evaluate student learning, such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the American College Test (ACT), the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), and the Preliminary SAT (PSAT). For each of these assessments, the pertinent staff involved receives training and meet to interpret the data. Quarterly department meetings and bi-monthly Soldotna Learning Teams (SLTs) address data and the effectiveness of school programs and student learning. Staff assessment of effectiveness is completed through a Standard Evaluation Summary and a series of administrator observations; critical categories that are examined in this process are the use of assessment in instruction and the analysis of student data.


Soldotna High School engages in a continuous process to determine verifiable improvement in student learning, including readiness and success at the next level. Student handbooks are redesigned yearly to clearly describe school expectations for behavior and learning. Similarly, Course Description Books are updated yearly and are designed to set guidelines that will ensure each high school student is exposed to a variety of learning experiences necessary for living in our ever changing world. The school district has implemented a Response to Intervention (RTI) program to identify students with learning difficulties who would benefit from added instruction typically provided by an Interventionist Specialist. RTI consists of five major components: data-based decision making, universal screening, tiered delivery of instruction, progress monitoring, and the fidelity of information. RTI is implemented before a referral has been made to Special Services. For the challenged learners, the Special Services Department develops and implements individualized education programs (IEPs) designed to meet the unique learning needs of specifically identified students, as those students earn high school diplomas and plan for their futures. Special Services staff members work closely with parents and students to develop these individual programs. Co-taught classes are offered to ensure improvement in student learning. In these classes, two or more teachers share the responsibility of teaching some or all of the students and they share the responsibility of planning, instruction, and evaluation for a classroom mixture of special education and general education students. The school also offers a cooperative work experience class and on-the-job training which allows students to be employed through a paid work setting that offers high school credit and work experience in the student’s career pathway. The mentorship provides students with an enriching work experience in a specific career on a one-on-one basis with a technical or professional mentor from the community in a specific, identified career. Another program that helps students achieve success is The Adopt a STAR program, which was initiated to assist students in becoming “career ready” when they receive their diploma. This program encourages local businesses to make presentations to the student body, describe specific training required for a given profession and select a student or students for consideration for part-time or full-time employment. An increase in student motivation and practices for success have been achieved through Project Rewards, which is an exemption policy that rewards students for academic achievement, good citizenship and good attendance by allowing students to be exempt from their semester/final examination in a given class. Finally, after-school tutoring is offered to students who require assistance in any given subject. A staff member and students from the National Honor Society assist with the tutoring program.


Soldotna High School and KPBSD have made a deliberate and conscious effort to monitor the comprehensive data collected on student learning, conditions that support student learning and the achievement of school improvement goals. This information is then communicated to the stakeholders on a regular basis and leaders regularly communicate results and future goals for improvement. The plan for the continuing focus and action at the district level is thorough and covers a myriad of pertinent issues. The KPBSD Board of Education Goals for 2013-2017 include increasing the already high standardized test scores for the district by analyzing the data from other high achieving districts, and assessing an effective use of the district budget. For each one of these areas of focus there are plans broken into manageable timelines and assigned committees who are responsible for providing evidence that demonstrates progress towards their goal. There is a consistent and frequent communication of this information, with School Board meetings and agendas scheduled for multiple sessions a month into June of 2014. Board members are assigned to specific committees or task forces. Within Soldotna High School specifically, there are clearly identified goals for the school, as seen in the Soldotna High School SOHI 2013-14 Goals. One of the current goals for Soldotna High School is to increase the graduation rate by 3% annually and decrease drop out numbers by 5% annually. This is then accompanied by strategies and action steps that detail what the plan of action for meeting this goal entails. For each of the areas of focus, it is clearly broken down into whose responsibility the steps will be, the timeline in which they need to be done, and the evidence that is generated through the completion of the tasks. Additionally, the school staff is broken into committees that meet regularly to address school needs, such as the Intervention Team, the Advisory Team, and the Staff Development Team. Overall, there is little evidence of data lying unused and unanalyzed, and numerous indications of data-driven strategies in development to guide the school and district into higher levels of achievement.