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[Program Update] Check Out What’s New in Study Island for the 2017-18 School Year

Thursday, July 6, 2017 -- Hugh O'Donovan

I’m the product manager for Study Island here at Edmentum. It’s a great job because I get to work with a fantastic group of people who all play important roles in building Study Island. I also love it because one of the key components of my role is listening to customer implementation stories regarding Study Island. Some days are great, with feedback like: “AMAZING”, “Easy for the teacher and fun for students”, and “This is a wonderful, standards aligned tool that provides lessons and scaled practice for students across many topics and content areas.” Wow, I love that last one! Now, for all of those positive days, I also have days where the feedback I receive is more like: “Dull and difficult to use”, “Study Island was confusing”, and “Boring, Boring, Boring.” Ouch, that last one still stings! But, even during those tough conversations, it’s important to take it all in to ensure this program continues to grow in ways that are most meaningful for educators.

Over the last few years, I have been taking note of all this feedback, both the cheers and jeers. So, the challenge this year was to determine how to make enhancements to Study Island that will address the frustrations I hear about, and at the same time build on the features educators and students love. While much about Study Island has evolved since its inception in 2000, our commitments to simple technology, quality content, actionable data, and customer success have never wavered. Today, let’s explore a little more about what you can expect from this summer’s release, which officially launches July 17th.

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Bringing Built Test and Group Sessions Together

It all starts by providing simple technology and actionable data for teachers. So, how did we do it? We took two of the most popular features in Study Island and connected them! Built Tests allow teachers to create their own assessments on the specific topics they want to cover. Group Sessions allow teachers to facilitate whole class practice to work with all their students on specific topics. Now, by allowing Built Tests to be launched via a Group Session, teachers have the ability to use these two features together to gain instant insight into how students are performing and progressing on specific standards and state expectations.

Unveiling a Brand New Student Dashboard

For students, later this month we will also unveil a new student dashboard that encourages ownership by providing greater insight into their own performance in Study Island. Students can easily track their achievement via Blue Ribbons and see opportunities for improvement via Suggested Topics, right from their dashboard. With the new dashboard, students can also easily relaunch saved practice sessions and see assignments that are due.

Announcing a Revised Approach to Cumulative Scoring

All of these changes are very exciting, but the number one piece of feedback I have received over the years around Study Island from current and former customers, regards cumulative scoring. In Study Island’s 17-year history, cumulative scoring has helped educators understand the big picture of all the work students complete, but we’ve also heard it can be difficult to understand and potentially demotivating to students. Following extensive conversations with our current customers, we’re excited to take a new approach to scoring. For this summer’s release we started by making every session in Study Island a fixed ten questions, giving students the ability to save and return to a session as needed. Then we looked at how those sessions were scored. On the student Topic Tree, we elevated a student’s best individual session score and number of attempts. For teachers, they will be able to see both a student’s best score and their cumulative score in reports. Expect to see a more detailed blog on this topic soon!

So, there you have it—an overview the of the latest and greatest you can expect this month. As you can see, we have some pretty big changes coming to Study Island. I love my job because I’m able to take real customer feedback, both positive and negative, and use it to make meaningful changes to the product. If you’re a current customer, I sincerely hope you see benefits from these changes. And, if you’re a former customer or future customer, I hope these changes motivate you take a closer look at Study Island. But no matter which group you’re in and what your thoughts on Study Island are, please keep providing us, and me, with your feedback. We truly want to hear your thoughts and do what we can to respond. Your suggestions shaped everything in this release, so I thank you for your partnership!

Over the next few weeks, we will dig even deeper into some of the exciting updates coming to Edmentum’s Study Island this summer, so be sure to keep checking back! You can also learn more now by viewing this summer teaser video or taking a peek at our What’s New Guide.