An online assessment provides comprehensive information

SUCCESS STORY

An online assessment pilot provides comprehensive, timely information on student performance

Indian Prairie School District 204, Illinois

Indian Prairie School District 204 is a high-performing district with a strong data-driven culture. The district uses data from assessments to inform instruction, monitor student progress, and engage students. Because data is so critical, Indian Prairie needed an assessment that was reliable, flexible enough to accommodate the district’s unique needs, and easy to administer. It also needed to generate useful reports.

Since 2002, Indian Prairie has used aimsweb®, a learning assessment product, to conduct universal screening three times a year of students in preschool through the 8th grade. The district has used the product for over a decade because it continues to meet its needs. “We feel confident that it is identifying high-risk kids,” Mike Hoag, assessment coordinator, said.

Indian-Prairie-740x407“Based on the aimsweb data, we established our own tiers using local percentile ranks,” explained Patrick Nolten, executive director of assessment, research and evaluation. “We use the assessment results to identify students who have a need in either reading or mathematics. After that, we look at students that fall in the bottom seventh percentile and lower, which is our red range. We look at what these students need and then tailor interventions for them.”

The district also uses the data to monitor the progress of at-risk students, those that fall in between the seventh and fifteenth percentile ranks.

Indian Prairie relies on many of the reports generated by the assessment to monitor progress. “The norms charts are useful to see shifts over time by measure, by grade level, by fall, winter, and spring,” Nolten said.

Hoag added, “I think that the tier transition reports have been helpful for the schools to see that they’ve moved kids into Tier 1 as the year has progressed.” aimsweb’s reports also allow schools to drill down to the subgroup level to monitor trends.

Administrators and teachers appreciate aimsweb’s user-friendliness. Barb Vaughn, internal assessment specialist, explained, “The rostering piece makes it super easy for us to import files, and it tells you when there’s an error. The program is easy to navigate. And if somebody is looking for something specific, they can just put it in the search index and find it quickly.”

During the 2015–2016 academic year, Indian Prairie participated in a beta test for the next generation of the assessment, aimswebPlus. The new product is an online assessment for 2nd grade and above and includes a combination of curriculum-based and standards-based measures for both reading and math. The beta test took place at two elementary schools and two middle schools in the district.

Overall, feedback on the new online assessment has been good. “Our early experiences with aimswebPlus during beta testing have been very positive,” Nolten commented. “From rostering to report interpretation, it has been well received by the teaching staff as a potentially powerful tool to screen and identify students with varying academic needs.”

He continued, ”In the areas of reading and mathematics, aimswebPlus appears to validly measure the Common Core State Standards in a reliable manner. And an informal review of student performance has indicated a close correspondence between the assessment results and teacher judgment of student achievement based on daily classroom observations.”

A 4th-grade teacher whose class participated in the beta test likes that students can work independently on the online assessment and that the assessment uses automatic, real-time scoring. “It’s definitely less paperwork and grading for teachers. I love that you can see when students finish the test, their scores, and how they rank immediately after they finish their assessment. It is helpful that the data is kept in a system we can easily access and that we are able to compare benchmark scores throughout the year,” she explained.

I really like the information that aimswebPlus gives about each student and how easily accessible the information is at all times.

A 4th-Grade Teacher

Teachers also appreciate the new program’s measures that give more comprehensive information on student performance. “It compiles multiple tests that we do by ourselves into one,” explained a reading specialist who helped administer the beta test. “It is a lot more detailed. aimsweb just has the fluency component, which is only one component of reading. So by having a composite of four tests in aimswebPlus, there is a lot more information on a student.”

Throughout the beta test, Indian Prairie provided feedback about aspects of the assessment such as the instructions and test length. In general, the district is pleased with it. Vaughn concluded, “The people that piloted aimswebPlus were positive about the results and the feedback that they got on their students.”

To learn more about Indian Prairie’s assessment solution, read the full success story.

Read the full success story

Screen and monitor progress for grades K-8
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