Monday, January 28, 2013

Community Assessment and Item Banking Initiative

Last spring, we announced an exciting initiative in which Assessment Technology Incorporated began a partnership with Galileo districts and schools to create a community item bank for the purpose of developing reliable, valid, and fair assessments for non-state-tested subjects. We are pleased with the response from districts and are excited for next steps.

To date, we have 17 districts and charter schools within Arizona and Massachusetts that are participating in the Community Assessment and Item Banking Initiative. Amongst those that have written items, we currently have over 7,000 items across multiple grades and subjects. While many districts are striving to develop content for a fall 2013 pretest, we have been fortunate to have a district that has already created and is administering a pretest. 

Looking forward, we are scheduling additional professional development sessions with districts and schools, and we will be expanding the initiative to other states. Participation in the initiative provides many benefits to the district and schools including:
  1. The ability to develop pretest and posttests to measure student achievement for non-state tested subjects.
  2. Access to items developed by all participating districts.
  3. Professional development on item development.
  4. ATI provided psychometric analyses including properties of items and the validity and reliability of assessments.
For more information on the Community Assessment and Item Banking Initiative, please see our Frequently Asked Questions document or contact a Field Services Coordinator at 1.800.367.4762 or at

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Galileo G3 Assessment Scales and Activities

The Galileo G3 Assessment Scales for children ages 3-5 are fully articulated to the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework and represent the developmental building blocks that are most important for a child's school and long-term success.

With hundreds of Galileo G3 Activities aligned to the Galileo G3 Assessment Scales, programs have access to a full range of theme-based curriculum options for use in large and small groups and for individual learning opportunities. Galileo offers hundreds of learning activities which are based on findings from many years of ATI research in the field of preschool learning. Because of the valuable role storybooks can play in the development of young learners, many of the Galileo G3 Activities incorporate storybooks either in a primary role in the activity, as an enrichment opportunity, or as a suggested supplement.

Learn more about how Galileo technology meets the requirements of the Head Start Framework and Monitoring Protocol. 

Learn more about Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum offerings.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Next Generation Science Standards

In the next few months, a consortium of state and local governments, the National Research Council (NRC), the National Science Teachers Association, and other stakeholders will finalize a set of national science standards, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which they anticipate most states will adopt. The 26 lead state partners in the development of the standards, including Arizona, California, and Massachusetts, have promised to seriously consider adoption of the common standards.

The NGSS come at a time when students in the United States ranked 17th in science among 31 nations administering the most recent (2009) Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), and when only 18 percent of high school seniors perform at a proficient level in science. They come at a time when science education is not only essential to remaining competitive in the global economy, but vital in people’s everyday lives in which they must interpret scientific information to make important decisions about technology, the environment, and many other aspects of their lives.

The standards are being based on the NRC’s Framework for K-12 Science Education. The Framework reflects advances in science in the past 15 years, as well as the most current research regarding how students learn science. It is also internationally benchmarked, meaning it is informed by a thorough examination of the science standards of top performing countries. The Framework establishes in detail three interconnected dimensions: scientific and engineering practices (e.g., developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing data), cross-cutting concepts (e.g., recognizing patterns, cause and effect, matter and energy), and core content.

While the NGSS aren’t finalized yet, key facets of the standards are clear:

·         Scientific and engineering processes and cross-cutting concepts will be taught in conjunction with all core content throughout the year. Evidence suggests that active engagement in scientific and engineering processes and cross-cutting concepts helps deepen students’ understanding of core content and better reflects how science is done in the real world.

·         Emphasis will be on depth rather than breadth. In other words, instruction will focus on the essential core ideas and develop them progressively and coherently across K-12. This will help students acquire a deeper understanding that allows them to apply these core ideas to gain new knowledge.

·         Science and engineering will be integrated so that students understand the relationship between the two and how they are applicable to their everyday lives and to solving current world challenges such as developing clean energy and preventing and treating diseases.

·         Science standards will coordinate with Common Core State Standards for English language arts (ELA) and math so that science is an integrated part of students’ overall education.

ATI is prepared to help states that adopt the common standards implement them. Currently, our science libraries contain over 17,000 items, and these items assess a vast range of science and engineering practices, cross-cutting concepts, and core content. Many ATI science assessment items are constructed to engage students using textual and graphical resources. These Item Families reflect the NGSS emphasis on integration of processes, cross-cutting concepts, and core content by allowing these three dimensions to be assessed in concert. Item Families range in style from reports of scientific experiments to expository texts to diagrams. For example, an assessment may present a student with background information and results of an experiment and then ask the student a series of questions, some which assess the student’s mastery of scientific practices and cross-cutting concepts, others that assess the student’s comprehension of core content related to the experiment.  

ATI has over 200 science Instructional Dialogs that can be used for instruction before or interventions after assessment. They address a variety of content and skills, from the scientific method to natural resources to chemical bonding. A K-2 Dialog titled Animals and Their Parents exemplifies the NGSS emphasis on integration of the three dimensions, as well as the integration between science and other core subjects. The Dialog actively engages students in the processes of making observations and predictions and analyzing data (e.g., “Based on this picture of an adult cheetah, what do you think a baby cheetah looks like?”), as well as the cross-cutting concepts of recognizing patterns and identifying stability and change, as they learn about some of the common similarities and differences between young animals and their parents. The Dialog coordinates with ELA curriculum by drawing upon the electronic picture book The Mouse, the Rooster, and the Cat. At the beginning of the Dialog students are asked to identify some of the ways the mouse protagonist physically resembles its mother. As the Dialog progresses, they observe physical differences and compare the mouse and its mother in terms of behavior too (i.e. the mother helps protect the little mouse).  

Once the NGSS are finalized, ATI science content specialists will promptly map existing assessment and instructional content to the new standards and begin work developing new content to supplement and enhance it. The most recent draft of the Next Generation Science Standards are available at

Michelle Ross
Science Content Coordinator
Assessment Technology Incorporated

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Galileo Administrator Proficiency Ratings Dashboard

The Galileo Administrator Proficiency Ratings widget is a staff proficiency widget providing school personnel the tools to build their own proficiency rating scale, conduct on-site/in-class educator observations, and import and view an educator’s portfolio. The performance rating scales are easily aligned to the Interstate New Teachers Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) Professional Teaching Standards and the Professional Administrative Standards from the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC). Schools may opt to upload data collected outside of Galileo or enter the existing measure (with appropriate copyright permissions if applicable) into Galileo for administration and data collection.

Report interpretation 

Click image to enlarge

a. The total number of staff
b. Graphic representation of completed Educator Proficiency Ratings
c. Drill down ability to view all educators included in the chart
d. Link to create customized Proficiency Rating Scales
e. Link to administer Proficiency Rating Scales - an administrator may document several on-site/in-class observations
f. Link to import and/or view staff files, such as the educator’s lesson plan or portfolio

To learn more about the Administrator Proficiency Ratings widget contact an ATI Field Services Coordinator by emailing or calling 1.877.442.5453.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum Resources for Teachers

Galileo Pre-K Online is a fully integrated system with assessment, reporting, and curriculum tools. The integration of these powerful tools makes it possible to create a seamless connection between what children are ready to learn and the learning opportunities provided to them. The Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum is available to all programs using Galileo Online. It contains 32 weekly lesson plans, over 500 classroom activities and over 200 at-home activities for families to share with their children.

Recently ATI released a set of resources for teachers using the Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum. These include the Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum Guidebook, the Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum Materials List, and the Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum Storybook List.

The Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum Guidebook is a comprehensive resource which provides teachers instruction for implementing the curriculum along with directions for employing classroom best practices,  creating interest centers in the classroom, and  following Galileo’s research-based scope and sequence.

The Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum Materials List is designed for teachers to use to inventory their classroom. The materials needed for all of the Galileo G3 Activities are listed so teachers can ensure that their classroom interest centers are supplied with needed materials such as manipulatives, art materials, and toys.

The Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum Storybook List provides a list of storybooks which are suggested for use in the Galileo G3 Activities and Storyteller G3 Activities. The list also indicates which books are available in Spanish to support programs with dual language learners.

Each of these documents can be found in the Galileo Pre-K Online Professional Development Forum along with additional resources for using the Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum.