Monday, February 28, 2011

Formative Assessments – Part of ATI’s Comprehensive Assessment System – on exhibit during March in Arizona, Missouri, and Washington

The Common Core State Standards initiative set by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) was created to develop - in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts - a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and for the workforce.

The goal of preparing our children for success in college and in the workforce can be most easily achieved when valid and reliable information is used to inform education decisions. These decisions greatly influence the learning opportunities made available to our children. The reliable data we so heavily rely on can come from a complete standards-based comprehensive assessment system. Many types of assessments make up a comprehensive assessment system, one of which is formative assessment.

Formative assessments, like benchmarks, are designed to provide information to guide instruction. They may include minute-by-minute teaching adjustments based on assessments that are a part of the instructional process. They may also include quizzes designed to measure the mastery of standards currently targeted for instruction in the classroom. Or they may even include short, common assessments directed at specific standards selected for instruction in a large-scale intervention. The bottom line: Formative assessments can provide the data you are looking for when making decisions to inform instruction.

There are a number of ways to learn first-hand about the ways formative assessments can provide the data you need. You can visit the Assessment Technology Incorporated website, participate in an online demonstration by visiting the site or by calling 1.877.442.5453, or you can visit us at any one of many events during the year. The next few events ATI will be attending are the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP) Annual Spring Conference March 12 through the 14 at the Tan-Tar-A-Resort in Osage Beach, Missouri; the Microcomputers in Education (MEC) 2011 Conference March 14 through the 16 at the Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona; or the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) March 14 and 15 at the Wenatchee Convention Center in Wenatchee, Washington.

We look forward to communicating with you online, over the phone, or at an upcoming event.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Arizona Math Crosswalk Released

ATI’s Assessment and Instructional Design Department is working on the development of new items aligned to the Arizona Common Core State Standards. These standards, while similar to the national Common Core State Standards, contain additional local standards, comprising 15 percent of the total.

With the release of the Arizona Math K-12 Crosswalk, we are now incorporating the examples and explanations that the Arizona Department of Education has provided. These examples and explanations are intended to provide Arizona educators with a fundamental understanding of the types of assessment items students will be able to address in the next generation of state assessments, anticipated in 2014.

As we work toward full implementation of the Common Core State Standards in all states, the Assessment and Instructional Design team will work with the Crosswalks and the examples and explanations of each state to help our partner districts to plan and implement assessments that will have them ready for the full implementation of Common Core-based state assessments.

Monday, February 7, 2011

How Do You Create Intervention Groups?

Did you know that there are three ways in which intervention groups can be created in the Galileo system? Intervention groups are created automatically for users via the Risk Level report, the Intervention Alert report and a user can create his or her own intervention groups.

Intervention Groups via Risk Level Reports
This actionable report will result in an intervention group being created for each risk-level group and allows for the immediate scheduling of different Instructional Dialogs/Activities and Quizzes for students in each risk level.

You can access the Risk Level report from the Benchmark Results page in the Assessment Area or from the Aggregate Multi-Test in the Reports area. The Risk Level report is generated with data from ATI-created assessments and automatically groups students for interventions based on what risk category they are identified as being a part of after benchmark testing. The report provides an estimate of each student’s risk of not meeting the standards on the next statewide assessment. This report shows results for each grouping of students: High Risk (when 3 benchmarks have been given), Moderate Risk (available after 1 benchmark), Low Risk (available after 2 benchmarks) and On Course (available after 1 benchmark). An educator may then use these risk-level groups as a way to organize students for tiered instruction and interventions.

Intervention Groups via the Intervention Alert Report
This report automatically groups students for interventions based on what standard(s) were not mastered.

You can access the Intervention Alert report from the Dashboard page or from the Reports area. You may run this report on ATI-created or user-created assessments. The Intervention Alert report lists all of the learning standards on a given assessment and displays the percentage of students who have demonstrated mastery of the learning standards. The learning standards listed that do not have 75 percent of students mastering them will be highlighted in red. A user may then drill down to see the mastery-level attained by each student for each standard tested. This allows the users to easily identify standards on which interventions should focus. This is an actionable report that allows for the immediate scheduling of assignments (Instructional Dialogs) or quizzes for those students who have not demonstrated mastery of a standard.

User-Created Invention Groups
A Galileo user may create his or her own Intervention Groups in Galileo. The first way this can be done is by identifying students and manually grouping those students.

Another way to create intervention groups is to select students based on variables housed on student forms. To create an intervention group based on student form variables a district will have need to request that ATI build a student form to house the desired information, then record this information in their SIS (Student Information System) and import this data from the SIS to Galileo.

How have you been organizing your intervention groups? Have you been grouping students by risk-level, by standards’ mastery, or by some other procedure? If you’ve been creating your own intervention groups, please share with us how you do the grouping and why you group students as you do?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Experience Galileo's Comprehensive Assessment System at the Colorado CASE Conference

The educational world is facing the largest change in decades as the state-led movement toward Common Core State Standards in literacy and mathematics is creating a shift in measuring student knowledge. Assessments are now being held up to the microscope. Concerns are surfacing that commonly used assessments are measuring a limited range of knowledge and skills. Thus, not providing all the information needed to shape the next steps for learning, for school improvement, and for district resource allocations.

All assessments provide direction. However it is the combination of standards-based assessments crucial to defining a complete and comprehensive assessment system that provides the data needed for student progress, instructional improvement, and goal attainment. Each type of assessment serves a different central purpose. ATI’s comprehensive assessment system includes benchmark, formative, screening and placement tests, plus interim and final course examinations, pretests and posttests, and instruments documenting instructional effectiveness. The results from the variety of assessments can be placed on a common scale. The use of a common scale makes it possible to directly compare results from different assessments. The availability of multiple sources offers a complete picture of academic accomplishments.

There are a number of ways to learn first-hand about the manner in which a complete comprehensive assessment system can provide the data you need. You can visit the Assessment Technology Incorporated website, participate in an online demonstration by calling 1.877.442.5453 or you can visit us at any one of many events during the year. The next event we will be attending is the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) Winter Conference February 3 and 4 at the Westin Westminster in Westminster, Colorado. We look forward to communicating with you online or in Colorado.