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Tom WilsonProven Results

Exceptional Level of Proven Accuracy

As you can see when you read them, SALT reports are straight forward, use precise descriptions of what the team saw, and they neither "accentuate the positive" nor avoid "difficult issues" to be nice. As one team said, "Our job is to say what we mean, but not to say it mean."

SALT provided several formal ways for a school to raise questions and concerns about the accuracy of a report. Nevertheless, of the 292 public schools that have received SALT reports, fewer than 15 raised questions. Most of these schools explicitly stated that they did not question the accuracy of the conclusions. Rather, their concern was the "tone" of their reports.  Schools challenged the accuracy of only two of the more than 5,200 conclusions that SALT teams wrote. (The school was right in both cases, e.g. the district did have a technology plan, and the team said it didn't.

A rigorous survey of how team members perceived the value of the SALT visit was conducted in May 2004. At that time 1,468 people had served on SALT visit teams. Of these, 994 were practicing Rhode Island public school teachers. The response rate to the survey by [people who had served as SALT visit] team members was 43.1%.  

This is an excerpt from the survey report's Summary of Conclusions:

Respondents gave the report their team wrote high scores on the SALT visit criteria for report validity. The percentage of respondents who rated each criteria "excellent" or "very good" follow: Accuracy—95.4 %, Fairness—92.9%, Usefulness—92.6%, Persuasiveness—87.6%. If they were affiliated with a school that had received a SALT visit report, more respondents rated their school's report lower than their team's report on these same criteria (40% lower, 49% the same and 11% higher).

Most respondents saw the most valuable aspect of the visit as a methodology for inquiring about how and how well a school actually works, how powerfully the report set out findings about how well students learn, how well teachers teach and how well the school supported good teaching and learning. 

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