Data-Driven Student Success
Intervention is a more streamlined process these days, according to staff in the Sheboygan Falls School District who are using a new online assessment tool this year. Known as i-Ready, the tool gives instant feedback on student strengths and weaknesses in very specific skills and strategies, which means staff know exactly what students need to work on to become successful.
“i-Ready has been helpful in supporting our staff in using data to inform their instruction,” said Lynn Bub, principal of Sheboygan Falls Elementary School. “The change in assessment has helped teachers grow in their planning for individual student needs and to know their class
better as learners.”
The system is being used for students in kindergarten through 10 th grade and is given three times a year. The assessment is adaptive and adjusts as students take the test. If students answer a question correctly, they are asked a more difficult question. If they answer incorrectly, they receive an easier question.
“After the assessment is complete, teachers review the data and use what they learned about their students and consider other classroom pieces to best design instruction to meet the needs of their students,” explained Margie Lammers, elementary math coach and interventionist.
Students whose scores show areas of concern can receive personalized instruction to address those areas in which they need help. The instruction can come from the teacher or from the online program.
“This new program offers resources and also online lessons that can complement the activities in the day to day classroom” Lammers added.
Another advantage is that students can set goals for themselves and monitor their own progress.
“Students like the engaging lessons and interactive tools available for them to use in this program and also see their success at the end of each lesson,” Lammers said.
Literacy specialist Lynne Falk said she likes the way the assessment makes it easier to use data to make decisions about instruction.
“The program also groups students according to need, and then gives me the tools I need to meet those needs.” Falk explained. “For example, one group I looked at yesterday needed support decoding multi syllabic words, and right there – at point of use -- I had a lesson plan to pull a small group and intervene!”
Second grade teacher Amber Large said the new program is easy for teachers and students to navigate and also allows a very comprehensive analysis of student results over time.
“When looking at the reports you can analyze the data for the current test that was taken and then compare it in various forms (pie graphs and bar graphs) to other testing times during the year,” Large said, adding that the results are broken down by domains, or specific skills.
The i-Ready results also give staff another “lens” to communicate student progress with parents, Bub said.
“Parents receive their child’s growth reports prior to scheduled parent-teacher conferences, which provides an opportunity to discuss their child’s learning and growth with classroom teachers and specialists in person,” explained education specialist Laura Fiorini.
According to Fiorini, the data is also useful for school administrators because it helps gauge the effectiveness of district initiatives, programming and instruction. In addition, it gives specialists the data they need to support professional development planning, drive instructional coaching and initiate interventions.
Although staff are still learning how to use all aspects of the new assessment, they are very satisfied with the program so far.
“We are happy with the variety of data reports, instructional resources, and online supplemental personalized learning that i-Ready provides. Together, they support our goal of providing exceptional learning opportunities for our students,” Fiorini said.