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[Study Island + Exact Path] How Two Texas Districts Boosted Student Achievement Through Intervention, Acceleration, and Practice

[Study Island + Exact Path] How Two Texas Districts Boosted Student Achievement Through Intervention, Acceleration, and Practice

Educators are often faced with two seemingly competing priorities: providing instruction for each student at the just-right level and making sure that students can demonstrate mastery on the grade-level state assessment. Recently, we were able to talk with educators in two different Texas school districts who were able to do both and boost STAAR (Texas state assessment) scores using Edmentum Exact Path and Study Island to power response to intervention (RTI), individualized learning, and state-assessment aligned practice.

Response to Intervention

Improving student achievement starts with putting a system in place to support students when they struggle, and for both Navasota ISD and Onalaska ISD, as well as many other districts across the country, that system is RTI.

In Navasota ISD, all students take the NWEA™ MAP© Growth™ assessment, and those results are then imported into Exact Path and Study Island to generate individualized learning paths. Many times, at the elementary level, Tier 1 students practice their skills and work toward mastery in Study Island, while Tier 2 and Tier 3 students work in Exact Path for intervention and additional instruction. Teachers utilize the data from Study Island and Exact Path to track progress and identify additional areas for support.

“I mean, if they’re struggling, you’re going to know, and it gives you an opportunity to help that student,” explained Jo Anna Moreland, instructional resource coordinator at Navasota ISD.

For junior high school students, Navasota ISD and Onalaska ISD incorporate an RTI class period into the day for students identified as needing intervention. In both districts, the intervention classes are small, and students work on Exact Path when they are not receiving small-group or one-on-one instruction from the teacher.

“The teacher looks at the data [from Exact Path] to know which students to pull at the same time, which students are struggling in the same areas, and so they use that to help guide who they pull and what they work on,” explained Amberly Kolby, district testing coordinator at Navasota ISD.

“We did a diagnostic four times a year, . . . and they worked on it [Exact Path] daily while the teacher was doing small-group instruction,” said Robyn Thornton, principal at Onalaska Junior Senior High School. “On average, our students grew by two grade levels using Exact Path in [the RTI teacher’s] classroom. [Exact Path] was a huge piece in our success this year.”

Acceleration

Providing support and intervention to struggling students can often take so much of a teacher’s time that there is little left to accelerate and extend learning for students who have already mastered the standards currently being taught. Educators in Navasota ISD and Onalaska ISD have found that utilizing Exact Path has given them a way to challenge advanced learners without adding more to the teachers’ workload.

“It’s also good for the gifted and talented students; it challenges them, which is good because we need them to grow as well,” said Ms. Moreland. “It’s been very beneficial for them.”

“They didn't target RTI students or lower-level students or students who were off grade level,” said Mrs. Thornton. “They had all students [using Exact Path], and as a parent, I would tell you that I love that idea as well because [my son] was above grade level. He was getting above-grade-level instruction by using Exact Path, where maybe in the classroom, he wasn't getting as much differentiation in his reading or in his math. . . . I love the idea that some students were working above grade level while others were working below grade level trying to build their skills.”

Test Preparation

Most students and educators don’t look forward to state assessments, but because of their weight in determining district in school accountability ratings, educators have to make sure that students are prepared to show what they know. To  ensure that students are ready for the STAAR, educators in Onalaska ISD and Navasota ISD use Study Island.

In Navasota ISD, elementary students use Study Island to sharpen their skills during station rotation time, and junior high students use Study Island alongside Exact Path two days a week during their technology applications classes. Many students also use Study Island at home and during after school tutoring.

In Onalaska ISD, teachers create assignments in Study Island that focus on the topics and standards in which students need the most practice. Elementary students work on their Study Island assignments during station rotation time, and junior and high school students complete them during homeroom and at home.

“We just saw leaps and bounds of growth for our kids,” said Jessica Caso, counselor at Onalaska Junior Senior High School.

Educators in both districts are excited about the improvements they’ve seen by focusing on intervention, acceleration, and test preparation with Study Island and Exact Path. Interested in learning more about the implementations and results in Onalaska ISD and Navasota ISD? Read their success stories: RTI Success and Beyond with Edmentum and NWEA in Navasota, Texas, and Improving Outcomes Through Intervention, Test Prep, and Individualized Learning in Onalaska, Texas.

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