Monday, July 29, 2013

New Galileo Item Types

Galileo® K-12 Online item banks currently contain over 110,000 items in math, reading, science, and writing aligned to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards* (NGSS) as well as to state standards used to transition to CCSS. Item types include traditional selected-response, constructed-response, and technology-enhanced items supporting transition to CCSS and NGSS and reflecting released plans for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) assessments.

CCSS and NGSS differ from earlier state standards in a variety of ways that directly affect the development of items and assessments reflecting the new standards. First, the new standards promote the integration of assessment and instruction. Second, the new standards emphasize the development of higher order thinking skills reflecting high Depth of Knowledge (DOK) levels. Third, the new standards replace the heavy reliance on selected-response items characteristic of earlier assessments with a more balanced approach involving selected-response items, technology-enhanced items, and constructed-response items. Finally, the new standards have introduced changes in the assessment process (e.g., the introduction of computerized adaptive tests as the format for SBAC assessments).

ATI has implemented a plan to respond to these new requirements including the following elements: 1) developing online Instructional Dialogs supporting the integration of assessment and instruction, 2) developing new content in the form of selected-response, constructed-response, and technology-enhanced items assessing the higher order thinking skills emphasized in the new standards, 3) introducing a multi-stage Computerized Adaptive Testing option, and 4) designing professional development offerings to assist districts/charter schools to make the transition to CCSS and NGSS.

These innovations will assist districts and charter schools in transitioning instruction and assessment to align with the new standards. These innovations will also ultimately assist districts and charter schools in elevating student achievement by providing students with the opportunity to master the content addressed in the new standards as well as to practice the online test-taking skills required for success in the next generation of statewide assessments created by PARCC and SBAC.

Read more here

*Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the NGSS was involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Learning On-Demand for Galileo K-12 Online Users

The ATI Professional Development Department offers Galileo K-12 Online users Learning On-Demand sessions to assist educators in becoming proficient users of Galileo technology with the goal of enhancing student learning. Learning On-Demand recorded and online live sessions are complimentary.

Recorded Learning On-Demand sessions for Galileo users are available now in the Professional Development Forum. Live Learning On-Demand sessions for Galileo users offer multiple dates and times for ease and flexibility.

Recorded Learning On-Demand sessions for Galileo users available now in the Professional Development Forum
To inquire about how to access the Professional Development Forum, if not already registered, contact the ATI Professional Development Department at 
  • Implementing Assessments: This session provides participants with an overview of the assessment planning process, and walks participants through the process of completing the Assessment Planner, setting staff to review the generated assessment, and the process of completing a test review.
  • Data Importation for New Users: This session walks participants new to Galileo or new to their position through the process of importing district/charter school data (schools, courses, classes, students, and teachers) into the Galileo K-12 Online environment.
Live Learning On-Demand sessions for Galileo users
To register, contact ATI Professional Development at A sampling of sessions follows. For all sessions, dates, and times available: Click here.
  • Student Enrollment: This session walks participants through manually adding, enrolling and dropping students into the Galileo system. Special emphasis is placed on when to manually handle student enrollment and when to rely on rostering via the data import.
  • Giving a Test Online: This session shows participants where to access the ATI Online Test Administration Manual and discusses the tasks that should be completed prior to online test administration (e.g., checking your class roster, obtaining student logins). The K-12 Student-Parent Center is accessed, and participants are provided with troubleshooting tips for online testing. Users are also shown how to monitor students' progress as they complete online assessments.
  • Building a Test Using Teacher-Created Test Items: This session walks participants through creating a test using Galileo's Test Builder tool. This session focuses on building a test by writing selected-response, true/false, yes/no, and short answer items. All subject area educators can benefit from this test building method.
  • Accessing Professional Development Resources:  In this session participants learn the purpose of the Galileo Professional Development Forum, how to register for the Forum, navigate the Forum, access Forum resources, and post a question to the Galileo community. Also addressed are the additional resources available within Galileo, such as the Help Files, test administration manuals, and technical documentation.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

ATI and Intellectual Property Protection

The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines Intellectual Property (IP) as Creations of the mind - creative works or ideas embodied in a form that can be shared or can enable others to recreate, emulate, or manufacture them. There are four ways to protect intellectual property – patents, trademarks, copyrights or trade secrets.  The protection of intellectual property is intended to promote innovation.  ATI views the process of acquiring protection for intellectual property as part of the innovative process.  Accordingly, it plays a key role in the way in which ATI creates and manages technological innovation.
While a number of works generated at ATI are copyrighted and important terms, such as Galileo, are protected by trademark, ATI pays special attention to patentable material for important reasons. First and foremost, patentability is core to the ATI mission of creating technology to promote learning discussed in more detail in our June 10 post.
Footers within Galileo Online applications state: "Protected by U.S. Patents 6,322,366; 6,468,085; 7,065,516 and others pending." The three currently applicable patents are just one portion of ATI's patent portfolio. These three patents cover the base "Instructional Management System," "Scale Builder and Method" and "Data Checker Apparatus and Method" respectively. One additional, recently granted patent is for a uniquely Pre-K product (Storyteller) that may influence future K-12 product development. However, multiple new applications make up the remainder of the ATI IP portfolio.
Patents pending include:
  • "Integrated Assessment System for Standards-Based Assessment":  ATI's innovative approach to standards-based testing.
  • "Item Banking System for Standards-Based Assessment":  A unique aspect of all ATI work is the creation of an item banking system capable of rapidly mapping items to new standards sets through the use of item specifications.
  • "Online Instructional Dialogs" and "Online Instructional Dialog Books":  Dialogic technology allows for rapid curriculum development and deployment at the district/charter school level.  Compilation of newly developed curricula into dialog books will support instruction under Common Core State Standards.
  • "Instructional Effectiveness (IE) Assessment":  Methods and software tools created by ATI will effectively support educator effectiveness initiatives.
Utility (“of use”) patents are one facet of the patent process utilized by ATI; however, another area of IP protection is the concept of design patents. As part of the Instructional Effectiveness Assessment System, ATI has patents pending for design aspects of the "IE Score Compiler."  This is a unique method of assisting client districts to determine and graphically represent components used to determine educator effectiveness including state test scores, standards-aligned formative tests, administrator evaluations, or other district-defined measurements.
ATI client districts and charter schools benefit from IP protection in a number of ways:  First, ATI’s commitment to continuous innovation produces continuous technological development essential to keep pace with rapid changes in education.  Second, since the management of innovation is built into the development process, innovations can be implemented with minimal disruption to ongoing use of ATI applications.  Third, protection of intellectual property ensures that we are able to focus resources on innovation rather than infringement defense practices, keeping Galileo costs low.   If you have any questions about ATI’s IP portfolio, feel free to contact us.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Solution to One Administrative Nightmare

The new state laws requiring school districts to rate their teachers have inspired many of the districts I work with to take a hard look at new methods for gathering data and come up with new and creative methods for complying with these laws. Although many of these plans are effective once implemented, the district administrators are faced with the tasks of complex calculations and added paperwork in order to rate each district staff member. At times, this added load becomes a lot for even the most organized administrators to handle.

Here is an example of the kind of challenge faced by a district evaluating the effectiveness of  a 4th grade teacher.
Districts often base teacher evaluations on a point system. In our example, we assume that the maximum teacher evaluation score is 1000 points. We then divide ranges of points into evaluation categories as follows:
  • 750-1000              Highly Effective
  • 500-750                Effective
  • 250-500                Developing
  • 000-250                Ineffective

Teachers earn their points based on the following criteria. The teacher rating scale (observation rubric) is worth 100 points. State test growth percentile is worth 100 points. ATI Galileo DL scores or other district determined student growth measures are also factored into the teacher score. In order to get the teacher rating, the administrator multiplies the total points the teacher earned on the rating scale by 5. Then the administrator adds up the state test growth percentiles in math, reading, and science. The administrator then computes the average DL score changes on all benchmarks and adds the DL score changes to the total score. The teacher is then rated based on predetermined categories listed above. 

Ask yourself how long will it take the administrator to be able to evaluate, calculate, and determine the appropriate rating for all of the teachers being evaluated. 
The answer to this question is likely to be a long time even in a relatively small district. ATI has a simple, efficient and accurate solution to this challenge. It is a score compiler. The compiler will take data from various sources and calculate a rating for each teacher. ATI enters staff rating scales including  (evaluation rubrics) into Galileo. Administers then can electronically complete scoring observations online. For example, scoring may occur during a scheduled teacher observation. The results of the evaluation are calculated immediately and pulled into the compiler. State test data can be uploaded into Galileo and pulled into the compiler. Finally, ATI pre/posttest data provides information about whether each teacher and/or school has met expected growth, not met expected growth, or exceeded expected growth. This data is also retrieved and placed into the compiler. All of the information as well as any other required information (e.g., other assessment data, surveys, informal observation, school-wide data) is then compiled to provide a rating for each staff member without the administrator needing to complete any of the calculations.