Administrators know the challenge of determining a product’s true RO I, but without that data, we can’t justify purchases—especially big, expensive systems. At Vero Beach High School, we developed a checklist of features that, when combined, should provide a clearer picture of a school’s investment.
1 Less is more. A solution that addresses the needs of all grade levels and all core content areas provides a huge cost savings. The use of one system eliminates the need for different technology configurations, multiple licenses, multiple trainings, support contracts, etc.
2 Put it to the test. No one likes to say we’re teaching to the test, but it’s certainly our job to prepare students to do well on tests. The question is, does your system help all students prepare for all tests? Thousands of dollars can be saved by employing one system that helps prepare all students for the state’s high-stakes exams but also prepares high school students for Advanced Placement tests, exit exams, and the all-important ACT and SAT exams.
3 Open 24/7/365. Make sure teachers, students, and even parents can easily access your new solution anytime, anywhere.
4 Assessing the situation. Does it allow for customized ad hoc and formative assessments to coincide with teachers’ needs and prescribe activities to support student-specific learning?
5 Does it fall in “align?” Any instructional program, whether supplemental or core, must be aligned to your state’s standards and scalable to the Common Core State Standards. If you can’t get that automatically without spending thousands of dollars for upgrades, the solution should receive a failing grade.
6 Professional development on demand. Be sure to select a program that provides an economical and easy way for teachers to gain skills that can immediately be utilized in the classroom.
7 A penny saved is a dollar earned. Prices for instructional solutions vary widely, so pay attention to the bang you are getting for the buck.
8 Adding It All Up. Make sure your online learning solution incorporates everything teachers need to effectively engage learners, inform instructional decisions, and increase student achievement. Without it, there is no ROI.
Eric Seymour is the principal of Vero Beach (FL) High School. Their district uses Study Island.