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[Feature Focus] Study Island’s New Approach to Cumulative Scoring

Thursday, July 27, 2017 -- Regina Waddell

We’ve already told you about some of the exciting new features and enhancements we’ve unveiled for Study Island this summer, including a brand-new student dashboard and improved teacher experience, but today, we want to dig into one of the most important updates: changes to our scoring model. These changes to scoring aren’t quite as visually flashy as some of the other enhancements, but they’re going to have a big impact on how you and your students use Study Island.

Let’s jump right in by considering this scenario:

One of your 4th grade math students just completed a 10-question practice session and did not do well—he scored a 30%. Based on that information, you pull the student into a small group with other learners who struggled on the same skill and reteach the concept. Then, he works through another 10-question session. This time, he scores a 60%. It's not what you were hoping for, but it's definitely an improvement. To help the student make further progress, you pull him aside for a one-on-one intervention and try a different instructional approach. Afterward, he completes a third practice session and this time he scores a 90%.

Based on the data, has the student in the scenario above mastered the concept? Pretty much any educator would say yes. He struggled at first, but through targeted intervention, he demonstrated mastery by scoring 90% on his assessment.

Under the old Study Island scoring model, the student in the scenario above would have earned a cumulative score of 60%, by answering a total of 18 out of 30 questions correctly. In order to earn a Blue Ribbon, a powerful incentive for any Study Island user, that demonstrates mastery on a topic, the student would have had to continue answering questions until his cumulative score increased to 70%. If you do the math on that, he would have had to answer at least 10 more questions to get to that point, and that’s only if he answered every single one of them correctly.

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In the feedback that educators gave us about Study Island, they described scenarios like this one. They told us how they had to delete old sessions or tell their students not to worry about earning Blue Ribbons on topics in which they had struggled significantly because it would be too much work. When Study Island was first created, cumulative scoring provided teacher flexibility over the number of questions students received. But, as your feedback and our research, have demonstrated, education best practices have evolved, and therefore, so have we. With the latest updates to Study Island, our scoring model has evolved.

What changes can you expect in the new scoring model?

For starters, students now engage in meaningful practice during sessions set at 10 questions. Previously, students were allowed to select how many questions they wanted to complete, and every time they left a session, it was closed out, and the score was calculated. This meant that students quickly accumulated many separate session scores for a single concept. Now, sessions are set to a standardized 10 questions, and students are able to easily save in-progress sessions and revisit them as needed. Want students to take more than 10 questions? The rich bank of available items means that your students are still able to take a topic multiple times with fresh questions upon each attempt, and the cumulative score can be pulled via reports.

 

Study Island New Scoring Model

 

So, what does this mean for Blue Ribbons? Students are now encouraged to persevere and are rewarded with a Blue Ribbon as soon as they are able to demonstrate mastery. This means that the previous attempts at practice don’t count against fresh attempts at mastery. Each session is independently scored and rewarded. And, guess what? Students can no longer lose their Blue Ribbon once it has been earned. Learners will, however, receive building block content if they score below 40% on future attempts to provide them with necessary supports to get back to growth.

 

As shown below, when students view their progress on the Topic Tree, they now see their best score, along with their number of attempts for each topic. Educators are still able to view cumulative data for their students via reports, but this metric is no longer the measure used to determine concept mastery.

 

Study Island Topic Tree Student View

 

Because of this change in scoring, when students log in (any time after July 17th, when this change was instituted), the Topic Tree will start with a clean slate. Previously earned Blue Ribbons and previous sessions will no longer show in this view. As your students head back to school this fall they can take full advantage of these scoring improvements starting with a cleaned-up Topic Tree ready to reflect all their progress this school year!

We want to extend a big thank you again to all of the educators who took time to provide us with the valuable feedback that made this scoring update possible. We hope this revised approach to scoring helps your classrooms run more smoothly and motivates your students to continue persevering in their learning. Please continue to share your feedback on all aspects of Study Island through the Seehive feature accessible through the main menu to let us know how you are using the program and how we can make it better!

Want to learn more about all of the new features and enhancements we’ve released for Study Island this summer? Check out these blog posts on the new student dashboard and the improved teacher experience!