Monday, April 30, 2012

Emerging Technology for Common Core State Standards

Implementing Common Core State Standards in your district can be made easier by utilizing technology tools for testing and reporting. As the trend moves toward tailoring content to individual students, with assessment data providing educators a gauge of where students’ knowledge growth is at any given time, there is an increased need for a comprehensive assessment system.

To support Common Core State Standards implementation effectively and efficiently, a comprehensive assessment system should include a variety of standards-based assessments, each serving different but complimentary purposes. Within a Common Core State Standards comprehensive assessment system, results from a variety of standards-based assessments should be placed on a common scale – making it possible to compare results over time and create a more complete picture of standards mastery.

The next generation comprehensive assessment system within Galileo K-12 Online is capable of providing an array of Common Core State Standards-aligned assessments. These include:
  • Pre-built and district customized interim benchmark assessments: Inform instruction and predict student risk of not meeting standards measured by statewide tests.
  • Formative assessments: Provide information on student learning and the impact of intervention as a part of daily teaching and learning activities. 
  • Standards-aligned pretests and posttests: Measure academic progress over an extended period of time and support state legislative instructional effectiveness initiatives.
  • Screening instruments: Help identify students at risk for learning problems.
  • Placement tests: Inform grade-level placements and advanced course placements. 
  • Multi-Stage Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT): Provide efficient measures of academic proficiency and help support targeted instruction and response to intervention initiatives.
  • Observational assessments: Provide measures of student capabilities as they are demonstrated in the environment in which those capabilities are used.
  • Final course and summative assessments: Provide measures of student mastery of specific course content.
  • Test arrays: Small item sets administered on separate occasions and combined for reporting. Ideal when it is not convenient to administer a long test on a single occasion. 
  • Dialogic assessments: Instruction-embedded online assessments making it possible to use assessment information to rapidly adjust instruction and to track instructional outcomes. 
  • ASK Technology: Allows for automated importation of assessments initially built outside Galileo. Once assessment is imported, ASK offers the capability of aligning to standards, automated scoring (selected-response items), reporting, and data aggregation. 
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:
  • Colorado League of Charter Schools and Assessment Technology Incorporated free seminar, “Galileo K-12 Instructional Improvement System: Supporting Colorado Educational Initiatives with Comprehensive Assessment” May 16 at the Colorado League of Charter Schools, Conference Room, Denver, Colorado. Click here to register.
  • 43rd Annual CASE Conference July 23 through 27 at the Beaver Run Resort, Breckenridge, Colorado. 
  • Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Annual Executive Institute July 11 and 12 at the Mashpee High School, Mashpee, Massachusetts.

Monday, April 23, 2012

ATI Content Specialist Recognized in Illustrative Mathematics Task Writing Contest

ATI wishes to congratulate Aaron Stidham, an ATI Content Specialist in Mathematics, for having his work selected for the Illustrative Mathematics Task Writing Contest. Illustrative Mathematics is a project of Dr. Bill McCallum, the Math Team Coordinator for Common Core State Standards. The purpose of the Illustrative Math web site is described as:

“Illustrative Mathematics will provide guidance to states, assessment consortia, testing companies, and curriculum developers by illustrating the range and types of mathematical work that students will experience in a faithful implementation of the Common Core State Standards, and by publishing other tools that support implementation of the standards.”

Aaron submitted a task of comparing volumes of aquariums using cross-sections to determine if the volumes were equal. His task has been judged to be an effective illustration of the high school math standard G-GMD 2: Give an informal argument using Cavalieri's principle for the formulas for the volume of a sphere and other solid figures. Aaron's example is scheduled to be placed on the site soon, and a link will be posted here once it is published.

Aaron also has submitted an additional example illustrating F-BF3: Build new functions from existing functions, still under consideration for inclusion.

We are proud of Aaron's commitment to promoting educational quality through clear and illustrative examples that assist educators in implementing Common Core State Standards-aligned materials for the benefit of their students. Aaron and the other members of our math content team at ATI are committed to continuing ATI's outstanding service to our educational partners as we all transition to Common Core State Standards.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Galileo K-12 Online Categorical Growth Summary Report Overview

How are your schools preparing to show data on expected student growth per teacher? You can now review expected growth rate data within Galileo K-12 Online by running the new Categorical Growth Summary Report. An educator can utilize this data to monitor their students’ growth between two assessments and an administrator can utilize this data for an educator’s evaluation.

How does Categorical Growth Analysis work?
The Categorical Growth Analysis (CGA) model provides an objective evaluation of the magnitude of student growth. ATI uses the CGA approach to evaluate student growth from the pretest to the posttest that can be applied even to individual classrooms, regardless of district/charter school size. This is how the approach works:
  • Cut scores for the pretest and posttest are established. The cut scores on the posttest are raised relative to those on the pretest by the amount of progress that is expected over the course of the year. The posttest cut score is based on the average expected growth across a large number of districts.
  • Classify students at Time 1 (the first test/pretest) with regard to whether they demonstrated mastery of the state standards.
  • At Time 2 (the second test/posttest), track whether each student's mastery classification stays the same as it was at Time 1, or changes.
  • Focus on the students who changed mastery status from Time 1 to Time 2.
  • The hope is that more students will have moved from non-mastery to mastery than from mastery to non-mastery.
  • Conduct a chi-square analysis to determine if the number of students moving in one direction is significantly greater than the number of students moving in the other direction.
To evaluate the educators’ effectiveness, the chi-square analysis yields the following outcomes:
  1. Expected growth is not maintained. This outcome is supported in those instances in which there is a significant decrease in the relative proportion of students achieving standards mastery.
  2. Expected growth is maintained. This outcome is supported in those instances in which there is no significant change.
  3. Expected growth is exceeded. This outcome is supported in those instances in which there is a significant increase in the relative proportion of students achieving standards mastery.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact your Field Services Coordinator at 1.877.442.5453 or email

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Benchmark Assessment Options

Should students be assessed based on instruction provided during the benchmark period or should the majority of standards and/or skills assessed by the state-wide assessment be assessed on each benchmark? This question is asked frequently by ATI clients.

ATI recommends that school districts assess based on instruction if:
• all teachers in the school district agree to follow a pacing guide.
• the school district has a group of at least 350 students all able to follow the same pacing guide.
• the school district has a comprehensive pacing guide that includes the majority of standards and/or skills assessed by the state-wide assessment

Students seeing only material with which they are familiar and having the ability to include more items on each standard, thereby helping with differentiation of standard mastery levels, are benefits to assessing students based on instruction.

In contrast, when a school district has many different pacing guides, challenges with assessing based on instruction arise. Differing views about which standards should be assessed on which benchmarks tend to surface when teachers are not all on the same pacing guide. It is difficult to make decisions about which classrooms and pacing guides should take precedence over the others.

In addition, analyzing data and making predictions on how students will do on a test is most effective when 350 or more students take an assessment. Having fewer than 350 students taking an assessment may cause assessment data to be less stable

A further consideration when deciding between benchmark assessments based only on instruction and benchmarks based on all grade-level standards is the extent to which the district’s pacing guide covers the majority of state-tested standards/skills. If the district pacing guide does not cover the majority of standards/skills included in the state-wide assessment, the district may want to consider a broader assessment than one based solely on instruction. Two ways to accomplish this are given in the paragraph below. An example of the reason to consider an assessment broader than instruction-only items would be the situation in which a district does not include probability in sixth grade pacing guide. In this case, sixth grade students who do not already know probability are at an automatic disadvantage when taking the state-wide test if it includes probability items. Therefore the district may want to test mastery of probability even though it is not on the pacing guide.

ATI offers alternatives for school districts who struggle with one or more of these challenges. For example, a benchmark assessment that assesses all grade level standards provides relevant development level information for students no matter what pacing guide their teachers are following, allows a greater number of students to take the same assessment, and will pinpoint areas where groups of students have not mastered concepts which will be assessed on the state tests. It is also the case that when pacing guides do not cover the majority of the standards/skills measured on the state-wide assessment, customized instruction-based assessments can be built that include targeted standards/skills not part of the pacing guide but included in state-wide testing.

-Karyn White, M.A.
Educational Management Services Director

Monday, April 2, 2012

School Readiness Mini-Trainings at the NHSA Annual Training Conference

With national focus on school-readiness goals, Head Start programs more reasons than ever to demonstrate program positive child outcomes. Assessment Technology Incorporated will be offering mini-trainings at the National Head Start Conference Annual Training on Wednesday, April 18 and Thursday, April 19. The trainings will discuss the path to school readiness through Galileo Progress Reports with school readiness scale and Milestone Reports with program-defined readiness skills/goals.

The mini-trainings will cover a variety of topics including how to demonstrate program-level child progress using ability scores and mastery of school readiness skills with the Progress Report, and how to focus data aggregation and data analysis on program-defined subsets of school readiness skills and goals using the Milestone Reports.

The Path to School Readiness: Galileo Progress Reports with School Readiness Scale
Wednesday, April 18, and Thursday, April 19 at 10:00 a.m.-10:20 a.m.

Learn how the Galileo Pre-K Online Progress Reports with school readiness scale data provide actionable information to help pave the way in preparing children for kindergarten. See a live demonstration of Galileo Pre-K Online showing educators how they can aggregate and analyze child assessment data at multiple points during the year. The demonstration will offer examples of Child Progress Reports that provide data, including school readiness scale data, for decision-making. These reports show program-level child progress using ability scores and achievement levels, a baseline from which growth can be measured, patterns of progress that help to establish different goals for different groups of children, and progress data to create achievement goals for the next observation period. Find out more by attending this mini-training at exhibit #323.

The Path to School Readiness: Galileo Milestone Reports with Program-Defined Readiness Skills/Goals
Wednesday, April 18 and Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.-2:20 p.m.

Attend this session to learn how Head Start programs are focusing data aggregation and analysis on essential school readiness goals that support children as they transition into kindergarten. Galileo Pre-K Online Milestone Reports provide critical child assessment data on subsets of school readiness skills that are of importance to the individual learning needs of children. The Galileo Milestone Reports can be run at multiple points during the year and help educators plan, assess, and demonstrate achievement of their school readiness goals for children. Gain insights on how to monitor plans toward attaining successful outcomes for specific groups of children and how to apply filters, such as age, when running the Galileo Milestone Reports. ATI offers planning suggestions to help educators select readiness goals to include in program action plans. Find out more by attending this mini-training at exhibit #323.

Experience Galileo 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:
  • National Head Start Association (NHSA) 39th Annual National Training Conference with Galileo Pre-K Mini-Trainings “The Path to School Readiness: Galileo Progress Reports with School Readiness Scale” and “The Path to School Readiness: Galileo Milestone Reports with Program-Defined Readiness Skills/Goals" April 17 through 20 at the Gaylord Opryland, Nashville, Tennessee, exhibit #323.
  • Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) Annual Conference April 25-27 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Springfield, Illinois exhibit #100.