Edmentum’s Commitment to Study Island – An In-Depth Look

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 -- Madison Michell

Throughout Study Island’s history, the program has evolved from a supplemental resource for test preparation to a robust tool for classroom practice and assessment. While much has changed and evolved since its inception in 2000, our promise to focus on the unique needs of the educators who work every day to move education forward has never wavered.

At Edmentum, we aim to design products that help us realize our mission of being educators’ most trusted partner. Recently, we gathered four leaders within the Edmentum organization to discuss how Study Island is fulfilling this goal through our four key commitments—simple technology, quality content, actionable data, and customer success. Here’s a peak into the conversation:

Simple Technology

When it comes to simplifying technology, everything we’re doing is driven entirely by customers.

-Hugh O’Donovan, Study Island Product Manager

Customer feedback is woven through every technology decision made in regards to Study Island. Teams from across Edmentum, including our curriculum writers, instructional designers, product managers, and implementation consultants, actively engage with educators to discuss how the program can be used in the context of their classrooms. These conversations allow us to make the right adjustments so that the product best fits educators’ specific needs.

Group Sessions is a great example of how we’ve put this feedback to work. Group Sessions allows educators to administer multiple-choice and technology-enhanced questions to formatively assess large or small groups using a digital device of their choice. Recently, we visited classrooms across the country to see how both teachers and students put the tool to use. While the sessions went off without a hitch, teachers suggested small tweaks to the feature to help simplify their view and provide quicker snapshots of student performance in the aggregate. As a result of this experience, plans are already in place to release enhancements to Group Sessions this summer.

Providing meaningful product functionality, while also making sure it’s something that educators can quickly take action on is another fundamental building block to our approach when designing simple technology. You can see this reflected in the navigation and usability of Study Island.

At the end of the day, it’s all about saving teacher’s time. To avoid spending extensive time trying to learn the program, Study Island is carefully designed such that if you know how to use one feature, you also can apply that logic to quickly understand how two or three other features operate. Thoughtful, market- and user-driven decisions continue to guide our approach to simple technology in Study Island—and we can’t wait to show you what’s next.

Quality Content

We spend a lot of time focused on standards alignment, so educators are not without their latest set of standards.

-Christy Spivey, Sr. Director of Curriculum Development

When it comes to understanding how quality content is created in Study Island, it’s true; standards reign supreme. Our Curriculum Development team has established processes to track and update state standards in Study Island as they are released. Members of the team then study individual standards closely to interpret them and regularly complete training to make sure they have a comprehensive understanding of each state’s latest standards. In addition to leveraging their internal expertise, the team is also in tune to what is happening in the classroom, continuously connecting with customers and gaining additional feedback to improve standards alignment.

So, who does all of this great work? Edmentum’s Curriculum Development Team is comprised of more than 60 professionals from a variety of backgrounds, including classroom teaching, writing for high-stakes assessments, industry experience, subject-matter expertise, and psychometric research. With all of those brains working together, you can expect that a clear and proven approach to content development is in place.  

Our team starts by unpacking the standard for which items need to be developed. From there, a variety of elements are considered before the real work even begins. What type of items are needed, and at what DOK level? What subjects should be incorporated into each story line? What insights from our existing item pool can be leveraged to ensure the highest quality? With over 600,000 items in Study Island already, this team is well-versed in item writing. Along the way, you can count on at least four to five different individuals to provide quality checks before the item is ever added to the product.

Customers across the country feel the impact of this work and regularly share feedback on how they leverage the content to help students work toward standard mastery or prep for state assessments. As this team continues to move forward, their goal is to provide even more data and efficacy to support the quality of our content.

Actionable Data

Creating efficiencies is an important aspect of easy-to-read actionable data. The goal is to build in analysis, but also let educators drill into the details.

-Brandy Villere, Lead Product Owner in Product Development

This intentional approach to unfolding data like peeling the layers of an onion allows teachers to take it all piece by piece, and choose their own adventure to find the metrics they need to make effective decisions. In Edmentum Sensei, for example, educators are first shown data at a high level with a broad summary of how students are performing at both the individual and class level. From there, they can click on specific data points to dig in at more granular levels.

In Study Island, customers have access to two levels of meaningful data analysis; district, school, class, and individual reporting as well as Edmentum Sensei, our teacher dashboard. And, when it comes to identifying just the right data views to include, Edmentum teams lean on customer insights to drive those decisions. That all starts by asking the right questions of educators—what are you trying to achieve? How does this connect back to what you’re doing in the classroom? Our development teams then take what educators are asking for, map that back to the problems they’re trying to solve, and build the right views and data reports to support those specific needs.

Keeping data simple is yet another powerful driver in ensuring data is meaningful for educators. Edmentum’s in-house development team aims to find a balance between what is slick and streamlined and what is also consumable and clear. Testing the waters to ensure others can quickly explain what they’re looking at helps to pressure test that we’ve hit the mark.

Whilst balancing all of these elements in order to deliver actionable data, Study Island keeps state standards at the center. The program is expertly designed to align to how teachers teach, monitoring what students already know and where they need additional practice according to each grade-level expectation outlined in your state. After all, making instructional decisions aligned to your scope and sequence becomes easy when the program you’re using reports performance the same way you set academic goals for your students.

Customer Success

It’s important to support our customers with a dedicated Edmentum partner that has subject-matter expertise, to help them integrate their program into what they’re doing every day.

-Valerie Lloyd, Director of Virtual Services

To first understand customer success, it’s important to define what it means at Edmentum. Our customer success teams aren’t making assumptions about what success means to educators; instead, they’re establishing a unique plan with each individual customer to help identify what they want to accomplish and then outline a series of goals to get there. With a rich program like Study Island, where implementations are quite varied—from test prep to year-round standards-aligned practice to use as a formative classroom assessment tool—asking questions to understand specific goals is an essential starting point to helping you leverage your subscription in the most meaningful way.

As we have explored ways in which we can renew and extend Edmentum’s commitment to customer success, several drivers have helped shape the future of our approach.

  1. Customers need the opportunity to develop a relationship with a dedicated services partner that understands their needs and can talk to them from an implementation perspective.
  2. As additional needs arise, it is important that the same services partner is available to show them what else they can do with the program to adapt.
  3. Edmentum’s commitment is to help support our customers’ full implementation of Study Island in close partnership with our services team.

There are also specific touchpoints outlined in our services approach. Customer success teams work closely with you to ensure that the onboarding phase runs smoothly, and that you and your teachers are supported throughout the process. Based on years of experience, we’ve identified that this specific period is a critical indicator of ongoing success. You can expect to have that initial support from Edmentum to get you up and running and understand how Study Island functions.

In addition to leveraging your Edmentum partner as questions arise, we also connect mid-cycle to review data from Study Island and discuss how key learnings from the program are aligned with your goals. And, of course no implementation would be complete without circling back at the end to determine if specific program goals were in fact achieved. With a beginning-to-end approach like this, customer success isn’t just a lofty goal, it’s an expectation that’s clearly defined.

We love listening and incorporating your feedback to help Study Island become the comprehensive classroom tool it is today, and we’re very proud that work upholds all four of Edmentum’s commitments in support of you. Check out this series to learn more about our individual commitments to quality content, simple technology, actionable data, and customer success. And, if you’re ready to give Study Island a try yourself, start your free trial today and see how our program can support a data-driven approach to practice and assessment in your classroom!