Edtech Solutions
Network Summit

Closing the Gap: Monitoring Student Progress With Digital Assessments

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Location: La Nouvelle Ballroom, Table 17
Experience live: All-Access Package

Participate and share : Poster

Samantha Shaffner  
This session is designed to provide K-12 school and district leaders, academic coaches, technology integration specialists and teachers with an alternative route to administer rigorous, standards-based common assessments through digital assessment platforms. The session will highlight Edulastic, a cutting-edge digital assessment platform and the Google Classroom App.

Audience: Chief technology officers/superintendents/school board members, Curriculum/district specialists, Principals/head teachers
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Assessment/evaluations/use of data
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Language arts, Math
ISTE Standards: For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Inspire a culture of innovation and collaboration that allows the time and space to explore and experiment with digital tools.
  • Support educators in using technology to advance learning that meets the diverse learning, cultural, and social-emotional needs of individual students.
  • Develop learning assessments that provide a personalized, actionable view of student progress in real time.
Related exhibitors:

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Every day learning should be valued, even with the pressures of state tests, vendor assessments, and school board requirements making it seem like an endless road of obstacles. I long ago came to terms with the unsettling fact that the probability of our students toggling between remote and in person learning this year was higher than most of us are comfortable with.

21st century classrooms across the country, especially in Common Core adopted states, have made the complete shift from the traditional paper state assessments, to assessments that are only offered in a digital format. For teachers, at first, this was a bit of a scare for most of us. Today, more and more schools are using Google Apps, and Google Classroom specifically, as an online learning platform to create common core based assignments, communicate with students, parents, and administrators. The flipped mastery model can be employed using Google Classroom as the major platform, and supported and executed by the use of Edulastic. Because these two systems can “talk”, teachers can create assessments that prepare students for online testing and provide rigor.

Resources vary from district to district because of disparate funding and staff and student experience. Students from across demographics share the same tests, but the format of the test is largely ignored as far as its potential impacts relative to the sophistication of the digital assessments themselves. Obsolete paper testing alone cannot prepare students adequately anymore in a digital age. The flipped model employs practices that if implemented in modern classrooms benefit students from a practical as well as pedagogical perspective. Students practice the skills they need for authentic testing settings, familiarizing themselves with the digital environments at the same time.

Paper grade books are being shredded in service to this new age, and teachers and their students must adapt to these constantly changing conditions. If this does not occur in every 21st century classroom, students will fall behind their grade level peers due to lack of access to applications that give them practice with testing and learning content in a digital environment.

Sooner than later, I can see most schools using tools such as Edulastic for test prep, content delivery, and data tracking.

On the teacher end, real-time data and feedback are offered by the use of these programs, as well as the ability to efficiently create daily data points that emulate state questions to help students deepen their understanding regarding the more difficult critical thinking and writing items on state high stakes assessments as well as other post-secondary assessments and evaluations.

Conversely, though our current students were born in the “digital age” they do not possess all of the skills required to succeed on digital assessments unless they are taught and trained by teachers and practice these new skills regularly with computers. One would assume this generation of students would be more adaptable to new technologies in the classroom and in testing, this isn’t always the case. Students are forged by their experiences and while their forebears plucked out instant messages on physical keyboards, smartphones have shrunk and streamlined the task of communicating to the point my students are shocked to see proficient typing. Even a humble eighty words per minute is impressive to a child hunting and pecking for individual keys. Practicing word processing by typing essay responses on the Edulastic app and in Google Docs has proven to be the best method of teaching typing and word processing to students who would honestly much rather be typing on a mobile device because it is what they know.
Presentation Overview: A few Tips on Implementation and Design for your Common Assessment…

1 Ensure consistency with process through pulling from a consistent pool of standards, Depth-of-Knowledge( DOK), and number of items/time needed to successfully complete a test. Remain consistent with these controls to ensure proper data results etc.

2 Be sure to make resources and training available to accommodate the learning curve to ensure some level of equity. Make a point to foster meaningful conversation around student performance and how we can bridge the gaps we see individually and in groups.

3 Lastly, utilize the platforms “Common Assessment Settings” to ensure integrity and consistency with students and teachers (safe-browser, password, timed, etc.).
In conclusion, by implementing common assessment across the district with Edulastic Enterprise, student/school/district growth, set performance goals, and the depth and rigor of assessments are transparent to everyone involved.

Using this system, we successfully tested 75% of our student population across all 4 schools. We are using our common assessment data from each of the schools to initiate positive changes in the way that we approach teaching and learning with our students, especially during these challenging times.

Using Edulastic to implement common assessment has benefited our students, parents, teachers, principals and district administrators who make district-wide choices about programming.

By using this system to assess our students at CPHS we have become empowered to make important decisions based on data trends so we are able to meet the needs of our students, schools, and district. In addition to this, we are using these data insights as a means to locate data in order to research best practices in other DPR schools that will be vital as we continue writing improvement plans and growth goals for our students and regional district schools.

Conclusion: If trained properly, student achievement, goals, and the depth and rigor in individual teacher’s assignments and assessments are transparent to all invested parties: students, parents, teachers, and school administrators who make district wide choices based on data trends that meet the needs of their students, or emulating the data trends of other high performing schools that face challenges of the same nature through using similar best practices.

Supporting research

Student Feedback: Online Learning Platforms and Assessment Tools

*The following survey questions were given to my 6th and 7th grade ELA students at Millennium Community School this past spring (2018).*

Q: How did Edulastic, if at all, help better prepare you for the Ohio Spring ELA AIR test?

“It prepared me very well because some of the articles were on the test that we read early in the year on Edulastic, and studied. The poem about the Dust Bowl was much easier to understand because we already studied ’
“It helped us learn how to use testing tools on the Chromebooks. We were forced to stop using paper and learn how to type and learn computer functions especially specific to the AIR ”
“Our teacher used it every day to collect data, and every day we had writing assignments on Edulastic that really helped us understand the parts of an essay and the AIR ”

Q: When creating assessments, how did your teacher personalize or differentiate your learning experiences through the use of Edulastic?

“She explains things step by step, and assigns thing that most, some or even one of us need to work on. She redirects assignments I don’t understand so I can try ”
“My teacher created her own tests every day, so she would use our data from the day before to make sure we weren’t behind or ahead.”
She helped us by doing some assessments with us, and then letting us try them on our own. We would talk about what we knew and what we needed to learn before the state”
“My teacher helped me by reading the question and putting the question on my level of understanding.”

Q: Have your writing skills improved as a result of using flipped methods and resources like Edulastic and Google Classroom?

“We practice our multi-paragraph responses on Edulastic, and she teaches us the different things you need to do in a multi paragraph. We practice for the OHIO test every day with Edulastic and Google ”
“I feel that my writing skills have improved, and I like to add more to my writing prompts now. Before, I lacked organization and depth in my writing for online or other state ”

In summary, Edulastic and Google Classroom have given our teachers, administrators, and students the tools they need to succeed on digital assessments. Moreover, in order to master content and succeed on the new online state tests, students must prepare for these tests using authentic testing settings and computer functionalities, like Edulastic allows for. A recent project I contributed to, a textbook entitled, Applying the Flipped Mastery Model to English Language Arts Education concludes by encouraging teachers to stay current with educational technology tools. The authors of the chapter state, that [for educators] “The main goal is to stay current with the times and rigor/shifts in focus for students and their learning goals despite the content itself. The authors say that in brief “Our work here with flipping the flip is an attempt to ‘stop waiting for the next wave of technology’ and engage in the “hard and important work of shepherding writing and writers in the time we live in today” (Moran and Young 250).

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Samantha Shaffner, Pickerington Local Schools

BIO - Samantha Shaffner is the Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability at Pickerington Local School District in Pickerington, OH. Within her 15 years of experience in education, Samantha has served in the roles of assistant principal, district coordinator, ELA teacher, curriculum designer, content developer, and student advocate. With a focus on leveraging the power of data driven educational tactics in 21st century classrooms, Samantha’s published work provides educators with strategies to grow students academically while using educational technologies. An emerging leader in the educational measurement space, Samantha enjoys working collaboratively to design new techniques in assessment that meet the needs of all students.

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