Monday, August 27, 2012

ATI Early Literacy Benchmark Assessment Series

What is the Early Literacy Benchmark Assessment Series?

The 2012-2013 Early Literacy Benchmark Assessment Series (EL-BAS) consists of computer-presented assessments aligned to Common Core State Standards in grades kindergarten and first.

The EL-BAS is consistent with the research-based findings and recommendations from national and state panels (e.g., the National Reading Panel, the National Early Literacy Panel, and the Task Force on Reading Assessment established by Arizona HB 2732).

The EL-BAS assesses critical aspects of early literacy as appropriate for each grade level including
•    print concepts
•    phonological awareness
•    phonics and word recognition
•    vocabulary acquisition and use
•    comprehension of text

For the 2012-2013 school year, three assessments from the Early Literacy Benchmark Assessment Series are available for each grade level. The three assessments are designed to assess the development of early literacy skills throughout the year and cover the standards in a progressively more comprehensive manner. ATI recommends administering these assessments in fall, winter, and spring.

For more information, read Frequently Asked Questions: ATI Early Literacy Benchmark Assessment Series.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Reliability and Validity: Key Considerations when Measuring Student Growth

How can pretest reliability be enhanced without lengthening the assessment?  
Here at ATI we have created comprehensive pretests and posttests to assist districts and schools in the measurement of student growth over the entire year. Increasingly, districts and schools are using data about student growth in the evaluation of instructional effectiveness.  It is important to maximize the reliability of these assessments so that they provide the most precise estimates of student ability and growth. In some cases, the reliability of traditional pretests may be lower than is desirable since students may perform poorly on an assessment composed of items assessing a set of current grade level standards on which they have not yet received any instruction. ATI’s current approach to the design of pretests is to maximize pretest reliability by including on it items that assess current grade-level standards as well as items that assess prior grade level standards on which students previously received instruction. ATI has conducted research examining the effects of the inclusion of items that assess prior grade level standards on the reliability of the assessments. To learn more about the findings of this research, click here to read the research brief.

What would help you be more effective and what tools are you looking for to help provide the data needed for decision making?
We would like to hear from you. Add a comment to share your best practices and how you are using data for decision making.

Learn more about and 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 1.877.442.5453/520.323.9033 to speak with a Field Services Coordinator
  • visit us at 
    • 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, Missouri.
    • 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 talking with you online and at events.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rating Scales: A New Take

Observation has long been a keystone of teacher evaluation.  The evaluator, usually the principal, comes into the classroom with clipboard in hand, fills out the district approved tool, makes some notes, and ultimately generates a score that is used for purposes such as determining bonuses or guiding professional development.  Recently many states (including Arizona, Massachusetts, and Colorado) have passed legislation mandating structured observation at least twice during the course of the year.

Given the important role of rating scales, it makes sense to look at how they are typically constructed and used.  Many of these instruments that are in use today have been written by a team of experts, pilot tested, and then ultimately adopted.  They exist as a single tool.

We think there is a better more flexible way.  Rather than constructing a single instrument, we are working to develop a bank of items that can be used to construct customized rating scales, much as we provide the capability to construct customized benchmark assessments that provide targeted information on student mastery of the specific standards that have been a focus of instruction.

Approaching the construction of instructional rating scales in much the same way that we construct assessments for student learning provides a number of advantages.  First and foremost is that just as student assessments may be customized, rating scales may be built to reflect the particular interests of a district.  If a new professional development program has been implemented, then a tool can be constructed that reflects the specific skills that were emphasized all without losing the ability to compare scores across time with an instrument that has a somewhat different focus.  The second advantage of the approach is that scores may be produced that can be used to identify those specific teacher actions in the classroom that lead to better results. 

ATI is releasing rating tools that are built using this approach this fall.  We look forward to hearing responses from districts as they implement the new approach.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Instructional Effectiveness and Student Growth

With widespread interest regarding the evaluation of instructional effectiveness, many states have enacted new legislation outlining assessment requirements to guide the evaluation process. In particular, there is an increasing focus on including measures of student growth as part of the evaluation framework.

To assist you, and in keeping with the premise of instructional effectiveness (IE) - that good teaching and effective educational management can enhance student learning, the Galileo Instructional Effectiveness Assessment System (IEAS) has been developed. Key to the system are highly reliable IE pretests and posttests, designed to assess student academic progress and growth occurring during the school year. Going further, the IEAS provides data about student achievement and growth derived from advanced statistical analyses including Categorical Growth Analysis. The IEAS also provides additional tools, content, and reports to assist districts in developing effective and defensible educator/administrator evaluation systems. 

To explore the Galileo IEAS further, please contact an ATI Field Services Coordinator. We look forward to describing how the Galileo IEAS can be easily incorporated into your local instructional improvement plans to help meet the goals of your state legislation/framework for instructional effectiveness.

Additional Resources:
Innovative Tools: Instructional Effectiveness Assessment System
Frequently Asked Questions and Benefits: Galileo Instructional Effectiveness Assessment System
Instructional Effectiveness White Paper