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Searching for a Student Growth Assessment: Virginia DOE Awards Contract to Exact Path

Searching for a Student Growth Assessment: Virginia DOE Awards Contract to Exact Path

When the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Education commenced a search for student growth assessments, they were looking for only the very best. Following a rigorous review process, a recent announcement confirmed that Edmentum Exact Path was selected for a contract award. For Virginia educators in search of a tool that diagnoses students’ functional ability levels and measures growth over time, the procurement process is now on a fast track following this contract award. For those outside of Virginia, looking closer at the process that this state underwent to arrive at this conclusion may provide meaningful insight as you strive to meet similar needs in your own state.

How is growth measured in the state of Virginia?

According to Virginia’s submitted ESSA plan, growth is an important academic indicator for school performance. For students in grades 3-8, who do not pass the state reading or mathematics assessment, their scores from the current year and the previous year are compared to facilitate the measurement of student growth. Those scores are then charted on a value table model, where at least one sublevel in growth is considered sufficient student growth. Additionally, alternative Virginia Board of Education approved growth measures are also acceptable. A second measure to determine growth states that students who did not pass the state reading or mathematics assessment in the previous year are counted twice in the school’s combined rate if they pass the state assessment for the grade level in which they are enrolled in the subsequent year. With multiple ways to calculate growth, it’s clear that an emphasis is being placed on providing meaningful differentiation to help all students make meaningful gains.

How were student growth assessments evaluated by the Virginia DOE?

The original request issued by the Virginia DOE spelled out a very clear statement of needs in order to be considered for selection as an acceptable student growth assessment. Here’s a closer look at the criteria that were evaluated to understand how Exact Path stacks up.

Standards Alignment: Exact Path provides assessment-driven learning for K-8 reading, language arts, and math aligned to the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) with complete coverage of all foundational skills including speaking and listening skills.

Evidence: Research confirms that Exact Path provides a valid and reliable measure of cognitive ability and growth over time. We have validated this by developing a sophisticated learning progression based on a theoretical model that suggests what kind of sequence makes developmental sense for children. The Rasch difficulty measures of all items were overlaid with the learning progression sequence and were found to achieve an extremely strong fit. The isomorphic relationship between growth in ability scores and item difficulty allows us to view the two dimensions as parallel and to make very good placements into specific points in the learning progression, based on a child’s attained score.

Growth: Valid measures of growth within each subject domain are calculated upon each assessment administration. Teachers can use the adaptive diagnostic assessment up to four times per year to pinpoint students’ evolving functional skill levels.

Accessibility: Our adaptive assessment meets students at their instructional level to automatically provide learners with an appropriate learning path. Exact Path does this by using a computer adaptive algorithm to identify not an “on grade” score, but an estimate of a child’s “cognitive grade”, and consequently the placement in the learning progression that best fits his or her needs.

Reporting: District, school, class, and student-level reporting includes domain, skill, and standard-level progress and achievement data. Ensure progress toward growth goals by tracking the number of students placing below, on, or above grade level overall and by subject domain upon each assessment administration. Learning Path reporting also allows educators to review discrete activities and performance, with real-time notifications to encourage teachers to intervene as needed.

Training & Support: Edmentum partner schools and districts receive customized services and support to meet their unique program goals. We provide full training on test preparation, administration, reporting, and more through site-based, live online, and recorded online training opportunities.

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What does a contract award for Exact Path mean?

We’re proud to announce that Edmentum Exact Path was just awarded a 3-year contract by the Virginia Department of Education for use as a student growth assessment. After meeting all requirements established by the Common Wealth of Virginia DOE, Edmentum Exact Path is available for purchase or use by all Virginia Local Education Agencies (LEAs), including all public school districts. Avoid additional local procurement processes by starting with a program vetted by your own Department of Education.

Interested in learning more? Join us for a live webinar on January 11th to explore our Virginia DOE-Awarded Student Growth Assessment, Exact Path!

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Madison Michell

Madison Michell has been a member of the Edmentum team since 2014 and currently serves as a Marketing Manager. As a former Kindergarten and 3rd grade teacher during her time as a Teach For America corps member, she believes education truly has the power to transform lives. She is passionate about connecting educators with online programs, best practices, and research that improve teaching and learning for today's students.