TestWiz.Net is a Web-based test-processing and -analysis tool that supports a variety of assessments. Test data are stored in a SQL server database, so results can be tracked over several years and across many assessments. The reports are numerous and can be customized.PROS: Data are easily imported from various sources to update student records and teacher assignments. Educators can easily and quickly create custom reports from more than 40 templates. Data can be disaggregated by subtest, strands, cut scores, demographics, and more. TestWiz.Net accommodates state, local, and norm-referenced assessments. Because it includes numerous student-toteacher associations, report results can be viewed by various subject-level teachers, past years’ teachers, and current teachers. The program’s consistent look and feel across various assessments make it easy to learn and use.CONS: Creating a hand-scanned form for a local assessment can be tedious. Like all data analytics tools, TestWiz.Net takes considerable training; and as with others, entering all the data is time-consuming. This program is more intuitive than most, however, so the learning curve is not as steep.OVERALL EVALUATION: The customizable templates make this a very good value. This is by far one of the easiest data analytics tools I have used.www.testwiz.comPrice: Pricing starts at $3 per student per year with a minimum district purchase of $1,500. Tiered pricing based on the number of students in the district is also available.
RAPS is a 100 percent computerized diagnostic readingassessment program that automatically tests basic reading skills and diagnoses weaknesses in a single student, a classroom, or an entire school population.PROS: The product does an excellent job of testing all components of a student’s reading phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and grasp of vocabulary-word meaning. It automatically develops an individual learning plan for each student, measures progress to determine if remediation has been successful, determines if appropriate resources are available to assist students who need accelerated progress, sets data-driven goals, and matches timelines to high-stakes testing. It monitors students’ progress continuously throughout the year and allows importing of demographic data.CONS: As with most assessment programs, the staff must be willing to dedicate sufficient professional-development time to fully benefit from this program’s many features.OVERALL EVALUATION: Most schools are looking for a program that will improve students’ reading; RAPS360 not only does this but does it using a data-driven decision-making process.www.mindplay.comRetail price: Varies by type of installation.
The new GradeCam Online gives districts a tool for teachers to conduct assessments and to collect usable information in time to affect the learning in progress. When a paper-based test is scanned by a document or web camera, GradeCam Online compresses the image and sends it to a server for analysis by its proprietary image recognition code. Item-by-item results are displayed immediately and stored for generating real-time reports, and any reports needed in the future. GradeCam Online also integrates with all electronic grade books. Price: Available at $1.50 per student per year.Category: assessment
Progress Zone from Discovery Education is the first formative assessment service enabling educators to monitor student academic progress through teacher-created diagnostic tests linked to standards- aligned digital media. Progress Zone allows educators to quickly create, share and administer custom academic probes using a bank of more than 35,000 unique assessment items. All items are aligned to state standards with skill/sub-skill definitions. The Progress Zone item bank contains reading, math, science and U.S. history questions for grades 1 through 12.Price: $5 per student Category: assessment
SMART Response XE (www.smarttech.com) is a new addition to the growing SMART Response product line. SMART Response XE includes keyboard-style handheld wireless remotes (or clickers), a receiver, and powerful assessment software that enables teachers to easily conduct assessments and gauge understanding quickly and efficiently. The product allows teachers to ask as many as 100 questions in a single lesson file. The full QWERTY keyboard gives them the flexibility to ask more types of questions and enables students to submit advanced math and science equations as well as text answers. As with all SMART Response interactive response systems, SMART Response XE lets teachers create quizzes and tests for formative and summative assessment or ask spontaneous questions to gain ongoing insight into student comprehension.
Fluency Tutor is an online software solution for students developing, and teachers assessing, oral reading fluency. The product incorporates passages that align to MetaMetrics Lexile Framework for Reading and includes tools for practicing, assessing, and measuring fluency. Students listen to passages being read aloud with textto- speech voices and practice their own reading. When ready, they record assessments for teachers to listen to and mark. Several graphical reports are available to show students’ progress. PROS: The software allows teachers to select exercises of the right difficulty for each pupil and to record his or her progress. Teachers can evaluate the fluency errors made, words correct per minute, and level of prosody (expression of reading) for every student. The system is also available to teachers and students at home. CONS: To be truly effective, the product requires complete buy-in from all reading teachers. A school must also have enough computers available for students to practice and take assessments. OVERALL EVALUATION: Every school should have a program like this Fluency Tutor to help students learn to read. This one is as good as, or better than, most I have seen.www.texthelp.comRetail price: Starting at $2,245 per school, first year; $745, each year after. Discounts available for multi-year purchase.—Joe Huber
This image-recognition software, paired with an inexpensive Web or document camera, delivers a low-cost software alternative to expensive OMR scanning machines. GradeCam instantly grades multiple-choice tests and automatically records the scores in a teacher’s existing electronic grade book. GradeCam allows teachers to enter scores for all student work—graded tests, quizzes, and credit/no credit assignments, for example—by swiping papers under a camera instead of entering the data by hand. GradeCam forms can be printed from the software and reproduced, and may be filled in with any pen or pencil. Price: $3/student for school license; $2/student for district license Category: assessment
allows administrators to transfer student-information-system (SIS) data to a handheld device. Because data can be accessed from a handheld immediately, the information may be used for everyday discipline, student-conduct incidents and histories, emergency preparedness, and security. Each user is issued his or her own passkey, and data can be synchronized as often as needed.PROS: The Principalm+ transfers information without using a third-party server. The software transfers data to most handhelds, including smartphones, BlackBerry smartphones, and PDAs, and soon to Apple iPhones. Users can add customizable fields. The data-download sets can be customized, such as downloading just phone numbers and health information for a teacher going on a field trip.CONS: None.OVERALL EVALUATION: One of the biggest problems administrators have is that all the student data we collect are never where we need them when we need them. Principalm+ solves this problem. Administrators can use Principalm+ to check the discipline record of a student at the site of an incident rather than having to wait until they get back to the office. They can look up a locker combination on the spot, or even a parent’s phone number. This type of application is long overdue.www.discoverysoftware.comRetail price: Based on per-student, per-module model.
Burst: Reading applies a sophisticated algorithm that analyzes current and past reading-assessment data for a given class, groups students with similar skill needs and then creates a customized 10-day sequence of lessons arranged at the right pace and intensity for each group. At the end of the 10 days, the teacher evaluates students’ progress using Wireless Generation’s mCLASS handheld-computerbased reading assessment and uploads students’ results to the mCLASS Web site.Price: $60-$74 per studentCategory: reading