District's literacy assessment shift halves number of students below grade level

Dive Brief:

  • Heidi Busk, principal at Morgen Owings Elementary School in Chelan, WA, writes for eSchool News that a shift in approach to literacy assessment helped her school halve its percentage of students working below grade level, from 82% at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year to 40% six months later.
  • In its shift, the school carefully considered assessment fatigue among teachers, prioritizing an approach that emphasizes testing less and teaching more, obtaining more usable data and having resources at educators' fingertips.
  • The school ultimately adopted Lexia's Reading Core5 program and RAPID Assessment to meet its goals, which, Busk writes, offered a personalized, student-driven online approach and allowed teachers to engage with them in small groups while receiving real-time data that they understood how to use.

Dive Insight:

Literacy, along with math, has received considerable attention in K-12 learning and accountability standards since the days of the Bush-era "No Child Left Behind" law, and for good reason. Being able to read and think critically about what has been read enable students to become productive members of society and provides the building blocks for success across pretty much every other discipline.

While Lexia's products are what ultimately worked for Morgen Owings Elementary School in closing literacy gaps, what's more important is the process the school underwent on its path to eventually adopting them. No matter what assessment or ed tech platform your school or district ultimately uses, it's important to make all of your needs and concerns — as well as those of your faculty — clear to vendors upfront and ensure that all are addressed. For example, if an assessment platform doesn't provide educators with actionable data in time for them to use it, and in a manner in which they understand how to use it, all of its other benefits are effectively negated. Identifying what's needed, especially through feedback from teachers and other stakeholders, can save significant time and headaches in the future, and ultimately benefit those who matter most: the students.

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Filed Under: K12 Technology