Monday, July 30, 2012

Deciding on What Types of Assessments to Use in 2012-13

As districts design their assessment plans for the year, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. Answering the following questions can help expedite the process.

1) What subjects and grade levels would your district like to assess for 2012-13?

ATI has math, reading, writing, and science item banks currently available for creating assessments.

2) Does your district want to assess the current standards or the new Common Core State Standards?

ATI has made all sets of item banks available for 2012-13 assessment creation.

3) Does your district have a pacing guide?

A predetermined pacing guide puts your district in a good position to consider ATI’s district-curriculum aligned assessment benchmarks. If not, consider ATI’s comprehensive or state blueprint assessments.

4) Is having decision-making data including data reflecting outcomes from instruction, informing next steps in instruction or predicting how students will do on the state tests the priority for your district?

No matter what your district’s priorities, ATI will create assessments which suit district assessment needs.

5) Does your district have a method for collecting and using valid and reliable data to evaluate teachers to comply with new state laws?

If the answer is “No,” ask your district Field Services Coordinator about ATI’s instructional effectiveness assessments.

6) Would a pretest and posttest benefit teachers and students?

ATI has premade pretests and posttests that are ready and available for the standards for K-12 English language arts, math, and science.

Once you have answered the following questions contact your Educational Management Services or Field Services representative and begin the test creation process. ATI can have premade assessments ready to administer within two weeks and district-curriculum aligned assessments in six weeks.

Monday, July 23, 2012

New Video Resources for Galileo K-12 Online

At ATI, we continue to look for ways to simplify the use and enhance the benefits provided by Galileo. Check out our new videos on Common Core State Standards and Instructional Effectiveness. These videos are the latest of a series geared to provide support to school districts transitioning toward new educational initiatives.

ATI supports a district’s adoption and implementation of
Common Core State Standards (video link available in the blue ribbon on the ATI home page) through both the standards aligned comprehensive assessment system and instructional components of Galileo K-12 Online. As the transition to the common core standards continues, ATI is supporting educators through provision of assessments that identify areas of deficiency and that inform decisions concerning instruction in order to ensure standards mastery.

Dr. Andi Fourlis, Assistant Superintendent for the Scottsdale Unified School District shares how the District has created a best practices system for instructional effectiveness (video link available in the blue ribbon on the ATI home page). An ongoing and reflective approach along with the implementation of Galileo K-12 Online are providing the District with data important in guiding both instruction and professional development - keystones in enhancement of student learning. 

Click here to view the ATI video series (video link available in the blue ribbon on the ATI home page).

Experience Galileo for yourself.  There are a number of ways to learn first-hand about Galileo K-12 Online. You can: visit the Assessment Technology Incorporated website, participate in an online demonstration by registering either through the website or by calling 1.877.442.5453 to speak with a Field Services Coordinator, or visit us at the following events
  • Colorado Association of School Executives Conference July 23 through 27 at the Beaver Run Resort, Breckenridge, Colorado;
  • Missouri School Boards’ Association in cooperation with Missouri Association of School Administrators Annual Conference September 28 and 29 at the Tan-Tar-A Resort, Osage Beach, Missouril; and
  • Massachusetts Computer Using Educators and Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Annual Technology Conference October 24 and 25 at the Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts.
We look forward to communicating with you on the phone, online or at events.

Monday, July 16, 2012

By Your Side

In this ever changing educational landscape, ATI remains dedicated to continue an unwavering track record of technological innovations that began in 1986 and that support educational initiatives. A recent major change in the educational landscape was the June 2, 2010 release for state adoption of Common Core State Standards. In order to support and help facilitate the goals of school districts in transitioning toward the full implementation of Common Core Standards, ATI has been actively engaged in continuous assessment innovations, content development, reporting innovations, research, and professional development activities. Assessment item innovations include performance based and technology enhanced item types for assessing Common Core skills.

Another recent and major change in the educational landscape is the emphasis on instructional effectiveness. Instructional effectiveness mandates across the country tend to contain requirements for inclusion of reliable and valid measurement of student growth, documentation of teacher and administrator skills, and a reporting mechanism for this data that provides a single score for each educator. In order to support and help facilitate the goals of school districts in meeting instructional effectiveness guidelines, ATI has been developing technology to compile categorical data in a manner that provides a single score for each educator. Two years ago, ATI began the development of instructional effectiveness tools. One example can be found in the secure pretest and posttest offerings for language arts and mathematics. This part of the initiative was provided as a pilot to a large group of districts during the 2011-2012 academic year. The pilot was very successful and proved capable of providing districts with tools to measure student growth in these two areas with reliable and valid assessments. The tools will be available to all clients for the upcoming academic year. Another component of the ATI instructional effectiveness initiative is the Community Item Banking and Assessment Development Project. This project is a way for districts to develop and share assessment items and assessments for non-state-tested subjects and grade levels. Participating districts in the project are provided technology, services, and professional development related to item writing. ATI is also providing supporting technology and expert services related to assessment development in addition to conducting data analyses to establish psychometric properties of items and to evaluate the validity, reliability, and fairness of the resulting assessments. Participating districts are being provided access to a continually growing repository of shared district-written, high-quality items and customized assessments in areas not currently addressed on statewide tests.

With ATI staff by your side, you will receive a full instructional improvement system continually evolving in response to changing federal and state requirements, client needs, ongoing research in educational assessment and instruction, and advances in technology.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Assessment Component in Galileo K-12 Online

Assessment is a central component of the Galileo K-12 Online Instructional Improvement System (IIS). The purpose of the Galileo IIS is to provide management tools that can assist educators to promote student learning. The comprehensive assessment component includes both benchmark and formative assessments along with many other forms of assessment, including placement, computerized adaptive testing, and instructional effectiveness assessments.

Galileo’s assessment component is intended to inform instruction aimed at promoting the mastery of standards reflecting valued educational goals. Currently the standards selected to guide instruction are generally state, local, or in some cases Common Core State Standards. If benchmark and formative assessments are to be effective in informing instruction, it is essential that the relevant standards be reflected in item construction and assessment design. Assessing students using items that do not reflect the standards in use by the district brings to question the validity and accountability of the assessment system and the student achievement data it provides.

As Haladyna notes,

The use of a test that is poorly aligned with the state’s curriculum and content standards, coupled with test-based accountability, results in test scores that may not be validly interpreted or used. (Haladyna, 2004 pp.9-10).
The Galileo assessment component is effective in informing instruction and developing assessments because it:
  • adheres to industry standards for item construction and assessment design;
  • provides information on student mastery of standards;
  • provides recommendations on what to teach next;
  • is capable of forecasting standards mastery as reflected in statewide assessment performance;
  • is capable of assessing the varying levels of knowledge reflected in the standards guiding instruction;
  • is sensitive to diverse background characteristics of students that may affect student performance;
  • provides local control of assessment specifications providing efficient measurement of standards targeted for instruction;
  • reflects standards that maximize the visual quality of items and ensure that items are appropriate for both online and offline administration; and
  • estimates and evaluates item parameters through a continuing research program.
Haladyna, T.M. (2004). Developing and validating multiple-choice test items. Mahwah, NJ. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Preparing for Fall Data Importation

As summer season kicks into high gear, ATI staff preparations for the new program year (PY) are well under way. In the area of data importation, the focus during PY transition is on new classes, rosters, and accommodating all staff changes a district may undertake between program years. For districts new to Galileo, the best way to create your class lists and rosters is through Galileo Data Import (GDI). The GDI process involves three basic steps:
  1. Districts provide an export from their Student Information System (SIS) that lists all classes, teachers and students within the district.
  2. ATI staff import this data to a test database and perform a thorough quality assurance review – any problems are resolved with the district before the data is imported (step 3) into the live Galileo database.
  3. ATI staff import the district-provided information directly into Galileo K-12 Online.
Detailed instructions for GDI can be found in the Tech Support section of Galileo K-12 (and Pre-K) Online. Importation instructions are updated for each program year with the PY 12-13 instructions expected for release in mid-July, 2012. One important change to note in the PY 12-13 GDI instructions will be requirement of the Staff Email, previously an optional field. Inclusion of the Teacher Email field presents a significant benefit in that ATI will be using staff email for future development of an automated password recovery feature. Automated password recovery will enable users to instantly retrieve forgotten passwords directly through Galileo.
Districts participating in Instructional Effectiveness (IE) initiatives will want to make additional considerations when preparing for GDI in PY 12-13:
  1. Due to early-PY roster adjustments (enrollment will inevitably change during the first few weeks of the year), prepare to provide an update enrollment sometime during the fall semester. If your district is, or will be pursuing, no-evaluation importation, rosters will be updated effectively as a result.
  2. Make sure all classes/courses to be included in the IE initiative are exported from the SIS – this is a departure from previous years where some districts exported only core classes (math, English language arts [ELA] and science). ATI’s IE Assessment Coordinators will be available to assist during the importation cycle and monitor for the desired outcome.
  3. IE reporting may require additional filtering based on student demographics (English language learner, special education, etc.). Prepare to provide full demographic information either with all imports or as a separate process at some point during the program year.
  4. Non-conventional student groupings should still be considered “classes” for the purposes of import – this includes tied to the same instructor for the purposes of scoring outcomes, even if not necessarily attending the same structured period or “class setting.”
As you prepare your PY 2012-13 data for importation, please remember the following important points:
  1. Be sure to include all the 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 SIS, 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.
  5. Providing ‘shell’ data with class structures and teachers as soon as they are entered into your SIS this summer will provide opportunity to perform thorough review of class alignment, course codes and teacher assignments. This will speed the processing of files containing student enrollment in the fall.
If you have any questions about GDI, please contact us at