Scoring well on tests at the grade-school level isn't beginner's luck

Scoring well on tests at the grade-school level isn't beginner's luck

With ePath Assess?, an Atlanta elementary school raises its scores on a key statewide test
 

When it comes to proficiency in standardized tests, you can never start too early. Fourth-grade students at Meadowview Elementary School in Atlanta routinely delve into math tutorials at 7:15 a.m. — the beginning of the school day — using ePath Assess?, an assessment monitoring program tailored to specific states' performance standards. Teachers can use the Web-based program to identify individual student's weaknesses, create tests on the fly to reinforce skills, and deliver reports that track gains in testing prowess.

"I really love the software," said Brian Glover, a fourth-grade teacher at the Title I school.

 

The school began using ePath Assess?, part of a suite of online learning tools from Peoples Education?, about three years ago, after Glover saw it demonstrated at an education conference. Meadowview, a pre-K to grade 5 school with an enrollment of 365, had made solid gains in a number of areas—under the No Child Left Behind Act, for example, it had shown average yearly progress for nine straight years.

In recent years, however, a majority of students in grades 3 and 5 hadn't passed the math portion of the Criterion- Referenced Competency Test (CRTC), Georgia's benchmark assessment. Failure to pass the CRTC in those grades has repercussions. Students are automatically required to take summer classes, and fifth graders who fail to master necessary skills are not promoted to sixth grade.

Meadowview had taken steps to help at-risk students, including the formation of an after-school study group for the CRTC. It had also looked at several test preparation vendors, including the company Georgia had hired to draft the CRTC. But Glover said ePath Assess? was superior.

Tests can be taken on virtually any computer, or with pencil and paper.

"To me, the questions are closer to the CRTC format than the ones from Riverside, the company that creates the CRTC," Glover said.

The skills developed by ePath have paid off. Since Meadowview began using the product, the school has seen a jump in the percentage of students passing sections of the statewide test.

Besides Georgia, ePath Assess? is available in nine states: Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. In each case, materials are customized to state performance standards and test formats. Peoples Education? is also taking this recipe for success nationwide with a version of the program dedicated to the newly released Common Core Standards.

At the start of the program, students take a full-length practice test to determine strengths and weaknesses. Teachers can assemble the results into detailed reports that suggest lesson plans for each student, allowing them to progress at their own pace.

To make sure that students grasp concepts, teachers can put together spot tests that flag potential problems and hone skills. The program allows immediate feedback, so students can be redirected to printed work lessons from the Peoples Education? print series Measuring Up? and Measuring Up Express?. A final practice assessment before the statewide test allows a last-minute brush-up on proficiency.

Tests can be taken on virtually any computer, or with pencil and paper. Glover said ePath's easily manageable reports and step-by-step instructions on assembling custom tests make everything a snap.

"It's very easy," he said.

For more information about ePath Assess? and Peoples Education's entire suite of online tools, visit www.epathknowledge.com.


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