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Bridge the Gap: Prescriptive Assessments for the Adult Learner

Thursday, October 22, 2015 -- Shawna Klaehn

All adult learners are assessed to measure where their skills are at and where they may have gaps, but what do we do with that information after the assessment is over? How can educators determine what needs to come next in order to keep their learners on track?

In this post, we’re going to focus on what happens after assessments are complete, including how to make sense of the data they provide and how to translate those insights into a solution. We will also walk through our solution for adaptive intervention, and how it can be used to help build a bridge between student data and identifying the instructional action that should be taken. Throughout, we will answer two important questions: How can the most be made out of the time that a student commits to working in any type of learning program? And how can educators and administrators of those programs make the most out of their own time?

Two key factors we want to keep in mind for any solution or plan in bridging a gap are making sure it is mastery based and that it is prescriptive. This ensures both efficiency and accuracy in helping students and educators target the skills they need to work on.

Let’s take a look at the steps taken within Edmentum Accucess and how it provides resources for construction to build your bridge!

Interpret Data

“Where are we supposed to go from here?” This is often what educators are left asking themselves after learners have completed their assessments. Usually, instructors have a sense of where their learners are in terms of skills and knowledge gaps, but don’t know exactly how to go about making placement decisions. This is where in-depth analysis and interpretation of the data collected from each student’s assessment can be so important. Data can be instrumental in helping to develop instructional goals, finding the right materials and resources to address those goals, evaluating which strategies are and aren’t working, and determining what instructional adjustments are needed to further improve outcomes. A great place to start in order to take full advantage of student data is simply becoming familiar with the types of feedback existing tools can provide, where that data comes from, and how it can be used as a starting point to bridge the gap between assessment and instruction.

Diagnose the Challenges

After collecting and interpreting data from assessments, the next step is to determine the challenges learners are facing. All adult learners are going to be at different levels, have numerous goals, a diverse scope of knowledge, and multiple levels of needs. For educators, the focus must be to identify these challenges and needs, and incorporate them into personalized plans.

Develop a Plan

For adult learners and their instructors, flexibility is key. The bridge between assessment and instruction has to be able to move. Effective use of data is enables educators to make what they are already doing more valuable and take advantage of personalized instruction methods.

To support these practices, Edmentum Accucess has been designed with four important characteristics in mind:

  • Adaptive – Learners receive a unique experience every time they take an exam. Accucess features 21 different technology-enhanced items types, all of which are incorporated into lessons and exams to measure depth of knowledge and accommodate different learning styles.
  • Diagnostic – Helps educators determine where their learners are currently at and where they have gaps. Accusess measures the skills and conceptual understanding learners currently possess and what they need to work on in order to reach designated goals.
  • Prescriptive – Automatically sets up personalized learning plans within the Plato Courseware library! Accusess determines a unique learning path for each student based on diagnostic activities, tailored to their needs and goals.
  • Flexibility – Allows educators to determine how they want to deliver assessments and supplementary materials. Accucess gives instructors the power to decide if they want students to finish exams in a single sitting, be able to pause in the middle, or provide some kind accommodations or support, in order to offer students a truly personalized experience.

Find Materials

Providing learners with lessons and materials that are appropriate to their skill level and which will keep them interested, engaged, and motivated is key to helping them progress. Accusess’s prescription-based plans for each student are hugely helpful in this. Once an assessment test has determined a learners’ starting point, instructors need to determine what their end goal for the course or program will be, and where they might struggle in order to create a prescriptive learning plan. That prescriptive plan then serves as a guide to help educators determine the most effective materials and resources to provide the student with. Keep in mind – these plans can always be modified if needed.

Assess Gains and Needs

All of the data from Accucess for each student is collected in Sensei, Edmentum’s robust tool for data analysis. Sensei serves as a personal data dashboard for educators, which allows easy access to data for real-time insight as to how individuals and the entire class are performing. Sensei’s features many in-depth, exportable reports, including a comparative report that analyzes a student’s performance each time they take an assessment test with in Accucess. This report shows what days they took the exam, what scores they achieved, and how many practice activities they were prescribed.

Interested in finding out more about how Edmentum Accucess can help personalize learning for your adult learners? Watch this OnDemand webinar to get an in-depth look at prescriptive assessments from Edmentum Accucess or learn more about all of our solutions for Adult and HigherEd here!