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[Administrator Tips] Using Study Island’s Built Tests to Guide Learning in Minnesota

[Administrator Tips] Using Study Island’s Built Tests to Guide Learning in Minnesota

During my years as a teaching and learning director in Minnesota, I loved the fall. A month into the school year, schools were abuzz with learning, and fall activities were in full swing. By now, teachers and support staff were really getting to know their students and were honing their approach to meeting the needs of each individual learner. The focus of our administrative team shifted from the managerial work of the summer—staffing, preparing for the start of school, and following up on summer professional development—to assistive labor of the fall, helping staff meet the needs of the students who now sat in front of them in classrooms every day. 

Administrators across the state are engaged in this work—leveraging the resources they have available to them to best support their staff with effective curriculum, meaningful professional development, and research-based resources that give teachers what they need to support their students’ learning. Minnesota state standards guide what we expect our students to learn, but teachers are always looking for tools to answer, “How will we know they are learning?”

How will we know they are learning?

By now, schools have completed their fall benchmark testing, teachers have used that data to guide how they group students for learning, and instruction has been underway of the various standards that each instructor is tasked with delivering. A key to student success is teachers’ ability to collect formative assessment data that informs instruction. 

A great way for teachers to track student learning is using Study Island’s Built Tests. Built Tests allow teachers to develop custom formative assessments that measure student understanding of the key concepts in state standards. Teachers can choose the specific topics that they would like to gather formative data on and also the number and type of technology-enhanced assessment items that will make up the formative assessment. Once students complete the formative assessment task, teachers have instant, detailed reports at their fingertips that help inform their teaching.   

The results of these assessments help teachers decide upon the type and scope of intervention needed.  Because teachers can see the results for all students, they can quickly determine if there is a small group of students who need additional instruction on a topic or if  large-group or whole-class intervention is appropriate. The clear and detailed reports provide excellent data points for teachers developing classroom interventions, and they also provide excellent data for professional learning communities (PLCs) as teams problem-solve and plan more in-depth tier 2 interventions.

Great news for Q Comp districts

If your Minnesota school district participates in Quality Compensation (Q Comp), you can use carryover funds to cover the cost of Study Island. Because it provides formative assessment data to teachers, Q Comp districts have utilized program code 405 to fund the cost of Study Island. This is a great use of these funds because not only does Q Comp provide valuable formative assessment data, but also it provides extensive practice with proven results for students as they prepare for the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs). Are you worried about how to fund professional development for staff so that they maximize the benefits of Study Island? Districts have used program code 305 to cover the cost of training teachers on how to best use Study Island to support their students. This is another way to use carryover funds to support teachers as they prepare students for state testing and work toward meeting building goals!

Edmentum has a number of resources to support testing, available in our Formative Assessment Workbook, including a framework for implementing formative assessments. We also have excellent resources to support educators in a number of ways, including developing a sound literacy program, meeting the needs of all learners through a personalized learning program, and serving special populations—all available in our Administrators’ Ultimate Resource Guide. In that guide, you will also find extensive resources to support virtual learning, including resources showing how Edmentum can help your district or school develop a blended learning program or utilize online curriculum to support and enhance the educational experience of your students.