Should we change the default cut scores for the color categories?
For many schools the default cut scores for the definition of proficiency scores (red, yellow, blue and green) is sufficient to identify learning groups, students 'at-risk' for falling further behind their peers and students who are ready for more of a challenge.
If your school staff does not have experience with universal screening and benchmarking students you may want to continue with the default cut scores. You can learn more aboutTrack My Progress cut scores and color categories in What do the colors for student scores mean?, and you can learn more about universal screening in How do I use Track My Progress for Universal Screening?. Here are a few examples of scenarios where schools did decide to change the default cut scores:
- Most teachers only see students with scores in the blue and green color categories. This occurs at a school that is performing above the national average and nearly all students are above the 40th percentile. It can be valuable to adjust the cut scores to identify the students that are falling behind their peer group. If a student is at the 40th percentile and the core of the class is closer to the 65th percentile this student may still need additional support to close the gap or not fall further behind.
- Most teachers only see students with scores in the red and yellow color categories. This occurs at a school that is performing below the national average and most of the student are below the 40th percentile. It will not be possible to provide additional or intensive interventions to all students identified as 'at-risk.' However, there will likely still be students who are behind their peer group and will need additional support to close the gap and not fall further behind.
- Your state or district has a prescribed definition for 'at-risk' and/or 'borderline.' If your school is already working with a prescribed definition of 'at-risk' and/or 'borderline' it can be helpful for school staff to have the Track My Progress cut scores updated to match. This will keep everyone on the same page in terms of definitions and conventions.