Monday, March 26, 2012

The Skinny on Instructional Effectiveness System Development and Roll-Out Activities

Have you ever hoped that a new service would be available as soon as it is has become someone’s dream? Have you ever wondered what occurs behind the scenes in preparation for rolling-out a new service? The material below is a very short explanation of the steps involved in bringing ATI’s most recent new service component to Galileo users.

Getting a new service to end users is a very complex process. ATI is currently rolling out the Instructional Effectiveness Assessment System – a new service component in the Galileo K-12 Instructional Improvement System. Would it surprise you to know that the planning for this new service component began over two years ago? As you would imagine, the first step in the process was the recognition that districts would benefit by having a reliable and valid method for measuring the effectiveness of instruction integrated within the context of student education. Once the initial recognition had occurred, ATI management began to flush out defining characteristics that would be important in such a service component. A few of the questions that had to be answered in this phase included: What data should the system contain? How should that data be obtained? How and to whom should the data be reported? What types of data analysis would be most effective in understanding and using the data? How do you add yet another evaluation process without interfering with the educational process? Periodically potential end users were asked to look at the plans as they were being developed and to provide feedback on the emerging plan’s characteristics.

Once the overall conceptualization of the service had begun to take shape, the ATI computer design staff was presented with the defining characteristics of the project. Their tasks included designing the interfaces that would be needed in the gathering and displaying of data in a user-friendly way and which were associated with each of the goals of the project. The computer designers not only had to figure effective ways to display the data gathering portion of the system but they also had to design the ways in which the data could be most effectively presented to those would be using it in data-driven decision making and communication.

As the computer designers moved toward basic design completion, they worked interactively with the ATI software engineers whose tasks included developing the technological solutions required to accomplish the goals of the plan. The IT department was brought into the process as it is their responsibility to ensure that the technology required for all services is available at all times. They evaluated the then current infrastructure to ensure its ability to handle each aspect of addition the new service component. Additionally at this point, the ATI communication staff was introduced to the project and charged first with developing a plan to inform Galileo users of the instructional effectiveness benefits and functionality of the instructional effectiveness system and then to develop supporting materials to communicate these benefits and functionality to Galileo users. The ATI professional development team was also involved at this point as it is their task to provide professional development sessions to assist the ATI field services staff to fully understand the new service and to assist users maximize all tools/services within the Galileo instructional improvement system including new ones.

Toward the later stages of this developmental process, 38 Arizona school districts participated in a pilot of the instructional effectiveness project. These districts are in the process of providing feedback part of which has already been incorporated into the system. ATI is grateful to these districts for piloting the system and for providing excellent feedback to make the system even more exciting.

And so the process goes each time a new service is prepared for the Galileo instructional improvement system. It is a complex set of operations and we love doing it. Hopefully, you enjoy having new service components as they are developed.

Monday, March 5, 2012

How can teachers use student assessment data to improve student learning and target their individual needs?

This excerpt from Tools to Reform, discusses the challenges related to elevating student learning faced by Creighton School District and how the district overcame the challenges with the help of WestEd and ATI. Read the full story here.

At the Creighton School District in Phoenix, Arizona, educators wanted an assessment system that could guide teachers to make the best instructional decisions for each child. There was urgency for the task: In 2008, the Arizona Department of Education had designated Creighton as a failing district, slated for state takeover. Six of its nine schools had been labeled “Underperforming” and one as “Failing to Meet to Academic Standards.”

… [In that same year, Creighton] launched a reform initiative that led to a remarkable turnaround: Today, eight of its schools have been relabeled “Performing Plus” and one is “Highly Performing,” based on Ari-zona Learns achievement profiles. Creighton is no longer a failing district. How did Creighton achieve this dramatic improvement? A key ingredient for their success, say district leaders, was changing how they assessed students and, more importantly, how they analyzed results to fine-tune instruction. “This district,” says Dr. Lynne Spiller, Creighton’s Director of Research and Evaluation, “believes profoundly that there is no reason to assess a child if you are not going to use the data to determine the best instructional decisions for that child.”

Integrating assessment with instruction and curriculum was a cornerstone of the district’s reform plan. Creighton wanted to build a system that gave classroom teachers immediate data—not just a test score but assessments that were diagnostic, showing student misconceptions about learning objectives and how to address them. The system was developed in partnership with WestEd, a nonprofit research and service agency, and Assessment Technology Incorporated (ATI), whose Galileo K-12 Online Instructional Improvement System (IIS) provided a powerful and innovative technological compo¬nent for the reform effort. *Dr. Jason Feld, Vice President of Corporate Projects at ATI, describes Gali¬leo as a comprehensive set of assessment, reporting, instructional, and intervention tools “designed to support educator goals to elevate student learning.” These tools, he adds, are research-based, reliable, and aligned to both state standards and the new Common Core State Standards.

*ATI began developing Galileo assessment technology in Arizona and currently provides Galileo to pre-K programs, K-12 districts, and charter schools in 35 states. In Arizona, they currently partner with 182 K-12 districts and charter schools.
Experience Galileo K-12 Online during an online overview and see how it provides a better way to address your goal of raising student achievement. To register, visit the Assessment Technology Incorporated website (, call 1.877.442.5453, email, or visit us at the following events:
  • Common Core and School Improvement Symposium hosted by Pearson with an ATI presentation “Elevating Student Achievement: A Close-Up Look at Galileo and Common Core Assessments in Hawaii” March 5 at the Sheraton in Waikiki Oahu, Hawaii and March 6 at the Wailea Beach Marriott Maui, Hawaii.
  • Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP) Annual Spring Conference March 11 and 12 at Tan-Tar-A Resort, Windgate Exhibition Hall, Osage Beach, Missouri.
  • California Small School Districts' Association (SSDA) 29th Annual Conference March 28-30 at the Radisson Hotel Sacramento, Sacramento, California.
  • Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) Annual Conference April 25-27 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Springfield, Illinois.