Monday, August 29, 2011

Educational Partners

ATI is dedicated to strengthening ongoing and forming new partnerships with leaders and organizations in the areas of educational research, technology, and public policy at both the state and federal levels. It is our belief thar relationships formed between educational partners provide the foundation for effective implementation of educational reform in schools, districts, and statewide initiatives aimed at elevating student achievement.

ATI’s collaboration with its partners helps to strengthen the integrated services to ATI clients. These integrated services include: 1) the Galileo K-12 Online Instructional Improvement System; 2) the Partnership Model; and 3) Professional Development and Research Services. Delivery of these services occurs within the context of a collaborative Instructional Improvement Cycle comprised of plan, act, evaluate/adapt. The evaluation step leads to further goal setting, planning, and implementation of the next cycle.

ATI’s educational partners who share the goal to support the use of technology to promote learning include:

Design Science
Follett Software Company
SMART Technologies

Learn more about our educational partners.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Multimedia Enhancements

A busy summer is transitioning to a busier fall for all of Assessment Technology Incorporated’s (ATI) Assessment and Instructional Design team. A key component of that increase in production is the development of new technologies and item types to promote authentic, engaging, and interactive assessment of students’ abilities to address new priorities in state standards assessment and instruction.

ATI has been a leader in developing innovative assessment tools, instructional materials and educational management systems. As we transition from the current state standards to each state’s customized version of the Common Core State Standards, we are developing resources that enhance and expand our ability to provide educators with valid and reliable measures of student performance. These resources allow teachers to put these measurements to use, informing instructional approaches to develop students’ skills.

Projects begun over the summer are bringing enhancements to the interactivity of our Instructional Dialogs, innovative item types, and assessment of early literacy.

One area that provides a natural opportunity for student interaction through technology is in our science content. Computers, models, and student involvement are all components of successful science instruction.

Students are able to review the parts of the skeletal system by pointing to each part.

This activity is available now in the fifth-grade Dialog bank.

In “Weather Maps and Symbols (Interactive)” students can review again, but they are also able to design their own maps from the forecast.

Students can make multiple maps to practice their use of the weather symbols.

This activity is available now in the fourth-grade Dialog bank.

In expanding the assessment of crucial early literacy standards, content designed by English Language Arts Content Specialists now integrate audio technology and student controlled listening items to focus on these fundamental skills.

These assessment items use recorded directions and narration to guide students through skills involving phonemic awareness and text-response for students who are not yet reading fluently. Being audio items, it’s hard to convey their function through images; you can find them in Galileo’s Early Literacy assessments for K-2. Please contact your Field Services Coordinator to schedule these assessments.

Finally, we are in the initial stages of development of items that allow students to take online tests that allow them to answer questions, not by choosing an answer, but by performing the tasks to show mastery and answer the question directly. These items are slated for piloting in 2012.

These new tools will offer our partners in education the ability to assess students beyond multiple-choice and written responses, enabling students and teachers to interact with the Galileo Instructional Improvement System even more directly.

One skill which is useful in all subjects is sequencing. The following examples give students the ability to order the information as required by the standards.

Sequencing events in a text is also a common standard across many grades.

Labeling is another skill appearing in multiple content areas. The example below is being developed for life sciences

Measurement also benefits from this interactive approach to the assessment of student skills.

Students are able to move the ruler, align it properly, and record their measurement in standard or metric units.

The development of assessment items that move students beyond multiple-choice, and enable them to manipulate information to demonstrate understanding and mastery of required concepts and skills is a priority for ATI. Emphasis on nationwide efforts to refine standardized assessment is also a priority. We look forward to sharing further instructional and assessment enhancements over the coming weeks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Start the School Year Right with Galileo

Here in Arizona, it certainly still feels like summer, but the start of a new school year is upon us. When preparing for the start of your school year, keep the following things in mind for an easier transition.

Data Uploads

As you prepare your 2011-2012 program year data for import, please remember the following important points:
  1. Be sure to include all required information in your import.
  2. Optional information is not required in the Galileo database, but failure to include this information may adversely affect future report filtering.
    • Any omitted optional data can be imported at any time throughout the program year, either as part of GDI or as a separate process – contact ATI for more information.
  3. If TeacherID or StudentID fields change within your student information system, please notify ATI prior to providing any import files to ensure proper transition within the Galileo database. Large-scale ID changes may require extra processing time so please notify ATI as far in advance as possible so we can help you plan accordingly.
  4. Due to new class structures and teacher assignments, the quality assurance process is typically longest during the first upload of the year. Getting uploads underway as soon as data is available will help ensure adequate processing time before your first assessments of the year.
Need help? Contact ATI’s IT staff through any of the following methods:
Contact Us

Assessment Planner

ATI provides guidance and ongoing recommendations to assist in the planning, construction, and review of district assessments through its Assessment Planner and Educational Management Services staff. Used by districts to help ensure assessments meet district needs, the Assessment Planner is particularly useful when determining what standards to asses, test length, and test delivery dates.

Learn how your district can benefit from the Assessment Planner and other Galileo tools by registering for a K-12 online overview. If you’re currently using Galileo, contact your Field Services Coordinator to learn more about the tools Galileo brings to you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

One Test, Many Uses

“Help! I’m stuck between my administrators who want to use the December benchmark as a predictive and my teachers who want to use the December benchmark as a summative semester final. What can I do?”

One single benchmark, if created appropriately, can serve both purposes.


As we all know, every state is required to have a list of standards students at each grade level need to master. It is the district’s responsibility to make sure that every child masters these standards by the end of the school year. In order to ensure this goal is achieved, most districts provide pacing guides to teachers in order to keep both teachers and students on pace to master all standards by the end of the year. These pacing guides identify which standards are supposed to be taught at what point during the year. The benchmark assessments are then created based on the district pacing guide.

The ideal benchmark assessment should be between 35-50 items long and have no more than five items on one specific standard. Using the standards taught during the first half of the year can provide both a reliable predictor of students’ progress towards mastery of the state standards and a valid summative assessment for what students were taught in the classroom. The question then becomes how do teachers take the results of these benchmark assessments and translate them into grades?

The answer to this question depends on the district’s philosophy for grading. The easiest and most straight forward is the use of a standards-based grading system. This method of grading provides information as to whether a student has mastered a standard or skill or where he or she is at in developing the skill. Information on this can be obtained using the Galileo Intervention Report.

It becomes slightly more complicated using a traditional method of grading. The one thing to keep in mind is that in order to provide accurate ability estimates for students at all ranges of ability, it is important that there is a range of difficulties on the items and that even the student at the highest academic levels is challenged. As a result, the raw scores themselves cannot be depended upon to represent the level of growth and success students have actually demonstrated. One example is an assessment where the average raw score percentage was 46 percent, yet students demonstrated an average growth of 20 points on their Developmental Level scores. Teachers and districts can easily keep these facts in mind and make the appropriate alterations in the grading scale when actually assigning traditional grades.

Karyn White, M.A.
Educational Management Services Director

Monday, August 1, 2011

Computerized Adaptive Testing Pilot

Increase measurement precision this fall by piloting Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) - a form of assessment in which administered items are selected based on the ability levels of the students. Initial item selection is typically based on the assumption that the test taker is of average ability; subsequently selected items are based on ability estimates obtained from preceding responses. This approach optimizes precision by increasing the selection of items that are neither too easy nor too difficult.

The Galileo Computerized Adaptive Testing Pilot is an integral part of ATI’s next generation comprehensive assessment system. Engineered by ATI’s Research and Development and Assessment and Instructional Design teams, Galileo Computerized Adaptive Testing and the entire comprehensive assessment system are completely integrated into ATI’s Galileo K-12 Online Instructional Improvement System.

Integration within Galileo ensures that educators, administrators, and specialists have easy and rapid access to the full range of innovative assessment, reporting, curriculum, and measurement tools provided all within one system. ATI’s comprehensive assessment system is part of our ongoing commitment to “think ahead” so that school districts and charter schools can continuously build their own capacity to lead change in ways that enhance the quality and impact of education on our nation’s children and youth.

ATI's approach to Computerized Adaptive Testing is explored in greater depth in Composition of a Comprehensive Assessment System.