Change Education with Edmentum: Edmentum™ Assessments

Thursday, February 7, 2013 -- Kara Marolt

Kara Marolt, Product Manager for Edmentum™ Assessments, continues our series ”Change Education with Edmentum” by introducing Edmentum’s  full range of assessment solutions, including diagnostic and formative assessments designed to help educators understand each student’s unique needs to more effectively guide instruction., EdmentumAssessments.

There’s a common feeling in schools that we’re caught in the middle of wanting to assess our students daily to know if they are meeting learning objectives, and not wanting to divert any more classroom time to assessments.  Having been a teacher myself in a past life, (or so it feels sometimes), I know it’s impossible to tailor teaching to individual student needs without knowing where students are, and, many times, an assessment is the quickest way to figure that out. I keep this top of mind daily in my role as Product Manager for Edmentum Assessments: Edmentum Assessments must give teachers knowledge of individual student needs and tailor assigned curriculum appropriately.  Without that second component, the assessment is still valuable as a snap-shot of where students are currently performing, but leaves the teacher with the more difficult (and time-consuming) task of adapting daily learning objectives to support each student.  With Test Packs and Accucess providing that second piece – the automatic prescriptions generated – teachers can get students working on targeted learning objectives immediately, and spend their own time working 1:1 or with small groups of students who need additional support.  When I visit classrooms, I see Test Packs and Accucess being implemented in a variety of program models: RTI programs, special education programs, school-wide benchmarking, and placements for students new to the district.  I recently visited Hopkins, Minnesota’s North Jr. High where Math Department Chair Jodi Markuson is using Edmentum Assessments - Test Packs and Accucess – in her RTI program.  Her use of Test Packs is a fairly common model in supporting tiered intervention, but her use of Accucess is an innovative one I hadn’t seen before.  I’ll recap both below:

After identifying her Tier I students through a screener, Jodi identified a group of students who would be assigned a grade-level Edmentum Test Pack in order to receive a personalized learning path of content.  Jodi and her RTI team give students time to work on their prescriptions during their Study Block – not pulling them out of other core classes.  Students come in small groups, allowing for quiet work time, 1:1 access to teacher support, as well as the opportunity for small group direct instruction on concepts where many students are struggling.   The structure is in place for these students to succeed – down to the detail that Jodi has gender-specific groups – specific times for girls only, then boys only – to keep the focus on learning.  Thinking back to my own experience working with these grade levels, it’s these subtleties that show Jodi’s commitment to her students – she knows Jr. High students, she knows what works, and how to work around what might prevent progress.

Edmentum Assessments have long been known for the direct entry point for students into targeted Plato curriculum, and many schools use Test Packs in a similar way that Jodi does in her RTI program.  What I found really innovative was how she was using Accucess with an additional group of students she calls her Growth Group.  These students are scoring in the proficient range on the MAP test, but aren’t showing growth year over year.  After identifying these students with her colleagues, they hypothesized the students were missing some background skills, preventing them from showing large growth.  Many schools might overlook this population – they are proficient, after all – and spend time elsewhere.  But Jodi’s team is using Accucess to assign targeted curriculum to help these kids recover those missed skills. 

The Growth Group is a fairly independent one - a goal of completing one module a week was set, and the math teachers check in with them monthly.  If they’re making progress, they head back to Study Block – although many of them like to stay and spend time working in the RTI classrooms.  If they’re not on track, there’s a quick conference between the teacher and student, any needed 1:1 support, and access to the computers in the RTI rooms to finish the work.

Now in her second year working with Edmentum Assessments, Jodi says the program is running smoothly.  I’m hoping to head back in the spring to check in with her on how successful the students have been in their core math classes, as well as with Edmentum Assessments.  It is a powerful program in which the assessments are given purposefully – as all assessments should - in order to provide students their own 1:1 learning program and support them.

How are you using Accucess or Test Packs in your school?