Why Did You Start Using It: “I’ve taught math for 28 years,” says Valerie Wirth, from the Amphitheater School District in Tucson, Arizona. When Wirth heard about Edgenuity during an in-service program, she knew it would give her and her students new learning opportunities. She was able to pilot a new program in her district using Edgenuity’s UpSmart.
Unique Features: In addition to helping students master grade-level skills and improve test scores as they work at their own pace and earn medals, Wirth particularly appreciates that Edgenuity takes student and teacher feedback seriously. “My students knew their opinions mattered,” she says. “I have become a huge proponent for productive struggle—for students trying and failing and being able to solve problems on their own. UpSmart allows students to make mistakes, get feedback, and try again and again, all while working independently.”
Outcomes: Using UpSmart, Wirth’s students “gained an average of 5.5 Math RIT points on the NWEA MAP Growth Math Assessment from winter to spring, exceeding expected growth of 3.3 points based on national norms. In contrast, those who did not participate in UpSmart only improved 3.1 Math RIT points.”
FUEL EDUCATION’S STRIDE
Why Did You Start Using It: “We were looking for an online platform that would address the standards, engage students, and provide teachers with real-time data,” says Kim Bettencourt, Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Newman-Crows Landing (CA) USD. “Stride also has the Progress Monitoring Assessments (PMAs) that can be administered four times per year.” Students love Stride’s gaming component, and teachers can show areas of growth and challenge based on the standards.
Unique Features: Julia Cope, third-grade teacher at Bonita Elementary in Newman-Crows Landing USD, values the variety of reports for both teachers and parents. The information enables her to adapt her teaching, and “I also have the ability to build my own quizzes,” she says. Cope and Bettencourt both emphasize that Stride features an informative and user-friendly dashboard, with appealing graphics. “Also, Stride can be used at home,” Bettencourt says.
Outcomes: “Stride has made me rethink my teaching strategies to focus entirely on student understanding and learning,” says Cope. “It’s also a great remediation tool for the students who need extra support. I love Stride and so do my students.”
NWEA’S MAP GROWTH
Why Did You Start Using It: “We needed to find an assessment that was systemic and sustainable,” says Kevin Goralczyk, principal at Our Lady of Hungary School in South Bend, Indiana. In addition, “NWEA provided all types of professional development” so teachers could learn to read and interpret the data correctly and also gain strategies for teaching more effectively with techniques that “activate students as a resource for others and themselves.” This training launched a culture shift, Goralczyk says. Across the board, educators value MAP Growth’s consistency, reliability, and flexibility.
Unique Features: At Campbell County (KY) Schools, Shelli Wilson, Associate Superintendent, and Myssi Turner, Teaching and Learning Leader, say MAP’s interactive teacher tool, the Learning Continuum, is key. In addition, “MAP’s inclusion of the school conditional growth percentile is unique,” Wilson says. “It allows for an apples to apples comparison.” Jenny Lynn Hatter, Chief Academic Officer for Harrison (KY) County Schools, says, “Any growth test that has a bonus feature of predicting performance on a state assessment is a plus.”
Outcomes: Our Lady of Hungary has shown “exponential growth according to the Indiana State Standards,” says Goralczyk. But the outcomes go deeper than test scores. “Our test scores have increased, but more importantly I have seen a great deal of growth in several of our student groups,” says Hatter. “The data sets the stage for invaluable instructional conversations,” says Wilson, and instruction is more focused and targeted as a result.
Why Did You Start Using It: “The online math program that we had wasn’t meeting students’ needs,” says Andrew Derrick, principal at Northwood School in Berryessa Union (CA) School District. “The scores were stagnating and students were getting bored.” So the district began looking for a solution that kept up with the changes in the Common Core and included the language component that’s so important for problem solving and critical thinking.
Unique Features: “The rigor of DreamBox is exceptional,” Derrick says. “Right off, we could tell it was different for the kids. They enjoy it, but it has become less of a game to them. They have to push themselves to persevere through the problems.”
Outcomes: “We’ve had three straight years of growth in our math scores for third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade levels. We’ve done especially well with our English Language Learners and grown the number of students who are exceeding standard.”
LEXIA POWERUP LITERACY
Why Did You Start Using It: At San Antonio (TX) ISD, Julie Ann Gonzalez, Director of Section 504/Dyslexia Department, and her colleagues were concerned to find that many of their high-school students with dyslexia and learning disabilities lacked the basic skills necessary to become fluent readers. “That meant we had a very small window of opportunity to close the gap towards college and/or career readiness. The challenge was finding a program that was age- and grade-appropriate. Lexia’s PowerUp fit that bill.”
Unique Features: “Students like that they’re in charge of their learning,” Gonzalez says. They choose a strand to work on daily and enjoy collecting “streaks” for correct answers. Teachers appreciate that the data PowerUp provides is comprehensive and easy to interpret, which helps them plan for prescriptive and targeted instruction.
Outcomes: After using PowerUp for less than a year, Gonzalez says their data is “showing very promising results. We’re seeing amazing student gains in all three strands (Word Study, Grammar, and Comprehension)” as students move to the next levels. “We’re excited about what results we’ll see in our second year of implementation.”
CURRICULUM ASSOCIATES’ I-READY
Why Did You Start Using It: Visible Men Academy, an all-boy, tuition-free public charter school in Bradenton, Florida decided to implement i-Ready “because we wanted a tool that would inform our instruction, adapt to the individual needs of our students, and provide specific data so that our parents would understand how their student(s) were performing,” says Tiffany Mickens, Assistant Head of School.
Unique Features: All students, whether they’re struggling or highfliers, “are always learning skills that are specific to them,” says Mickens. “Our teachers really enjoy the resources from Teacher Toolbox, and after testing, our students informed us that the practice tests and sample items from Teacher Toolbox prepared them more than any other resource we had given them.” The data is “amazing,” Mickens says, “and our parents love the easy-to-understand and informative reports.”
Outcomes: “Throughout the school year, we’ve seen steady growth from each of our students, and they’re tremendously proud of the new skills they’ve acquired. As a result of using i-Ready, combined with the data-informed instruction of our teachers, our school achieved its first ‘A’ grade.”