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Writing Quality Student/School Learning Objectives (SLO)

The WI Educator Effectiveness (EE) System requires one Student/School Learning Objective (SLO) in the educator’s annual Educator Effectiveness Plan (EEP). An SLO is a student academic growth measure and is one of two goals in an educator’s EEP. SLOs are rigorous goals focused on specific learners over a specified timeframe (typically a semester or an entire year).

The SLO does not represent all that the educator does when leading learners in a school or classroom, but rather, focuses on a specific learning need as identified in the analysis of assessment and historical learner data, or as a result of a school being identified under a federal program. Whenever possible, SLO goals should align with school/district goals. Guidance for SLO writing, monitoring, and engaging in professional conversations as part of the EE Conferences is provided below.

Exploring the Sections of a Quality SLO

High-quality SLOs start with a plan. The Beginning-of-Interval form in the Frontline Education platform, as well as the downloadable Google form, provides prompts which support educators in writing a quality plan. The SLO Planning Template may be used to pre-plan or draft an SLO plan as it mirrors the Frontline Education and Google forms. The SLO plan should provide enough detail to support the peer or evaluator in their review and monitoring of the plan over the course of the interval.

SLO Quality Indicators assist educators in writing the SLO prior to implementation, and across the interval as part of the EE System conferences.

How to Write a Quality SLO for Your Context

The examples below depict common challenges in the development of each section of an SLO. Each example includes suggested feedback and conversation prompts. These points demonstrate guidance for the:

  • educator to consider for drafting and revising, and/or
  • coach or evaluator to facilitate revisions to an SLO plan for higher quality and greater student impact.

Baseline Data and Rationale

This section of the SLO plan identifies the quantitative and qualitative evidence used to establish learners’ current skills and abilities related to the standard. Principals leading schools identified under a federal program should include a needs assessment/root cause analysis and identification of resource inequities.

Before and After Baseline Data and Rationale Examples:

Learning Content and Grade Level

The SLO focuses on a critical (enduring) standard rather than all that is taught in the grade level and content area. While several standards may relate to the goal, assessment evidence will point to a core concept or skill which will focus the SLO. Content may be predetermined as part of a larger school/district initiative, as part of federal identification/notification, or identified through the analysis of baseline data. The identified SLO content standard serves as a reference point and helps the educator both (a) determine where learners are in respect to the grade level standard, and (b) plan for appropriate support.
Additional resource:    WI Academic Standards - contains links to specific content areas

Before and After Learning Content and Grade Level Examples:

Student Population

It is recommended that a teacher's SLO student population include all learners within a class or course, using tiered or differentiated growth goals. A subset of learners may be more appropriate for principals to align the SLO with district strategic plans and/or federal identification/notification. Learners should not be excluded based on identified learning or behavioral needs. Educators are encouraged to analyze baseline assessment data to identify achievement gaps in and across groups and include learners in ways that address gaps. If the student population represents a small subset of learners, a rationale should be provided in the SLO plan and discussed as part of the planning conference.

Before and After Student Population Examples:

Evidence Sources

The assessment plan is a critical part of the SLO. The SLO must demonstrate the use of a Strategic Assessment System and should be purposeful. Standardized assessments are not required (but are used for federal accountability); SLO evidence sources can also include district or teacher-created assessments and performance rubrics provided they align to the SLO’s identified standard, are accessible to all learners, and yield evidence of learner growth. This portion of the SLO plan should identify both the assessment and frequency of use within the SLO plan.

Before and After Evidence Sources Examples:

Targeted Growth

The amount of growth the educator anticipates for each learner or group of learners defines the targeted growth. Growth goals are different from achievement goals, and measure growth over time rather than the expectation that all learners meet one pre-established proficiency marker.

Before and After Targeted Growth Examples:

Time Interval

It is recommended the SLO interval reflect the duration of time an educator is responsible for planning, instructing, and/or assessing students. The interval includes time to administer and review the results of the assessments. Intervals are typically year-long or semester-long. Rationale must be provided for instances of shorter intervals.

Before and After Interval Examples:

Instructional/Leadership Strategies and Support

Educators must anticipate and plan for instructional/leadership strategies which promote growth and lead to the successful completion of the SLO goal. Strategies should be evidence-based and align to the SLO goal. If the SLO process is used to satisfy planning requirements under a federal program, principals must collaborate with specific stakeholders. Some strategies may involve new learning and require professional development (PD). In these instances, identify specific people or PD opportunities within the SLO plan. The self-review process and the Professional Practice Goal can inform this section of the SLO plan.

Before and After Instructional/Leadership Strategies and Support Examples:

SLO Goal Statement

The SLO goal is a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-based, and Time-bound) academic growth goal. If data suggests learner growth is needed in a behavioral area, the behavior should be addressed through the instructional/leadership strategies.

Before and After SLO Goal Statement Examples: