Diverse district sees academic progress in K-3 with Istation assessments

Using program resources, Bernalillo Public Schools targets instruction based on adaptive tests
By: | Issue: February, 2020 | Case Study
January 30, 2020

Every elementary school in Bernalillo Public Schools has a data wall, where educators plot student progress according to monthly assessments. Color-coded to easily track movement from “inadequate” (red) through “on target” (green), the walls illustrate the positive impact that Istation has had in this diverse New Mexico community, says Jennifer Trujillo, district assessment and school improvement coordinator.

“The data are constantly changing because Istation assessments are adaptive, and instruction is then targeted to each student’s needs,” Trujillo says. “We know the ongoing assessment, progress monitoring and instruction have made a difference because scores continue to go up.”

Targeted instruction and quick buy-in

The Bernalillo district started using Istation over seven years ago when the state chose it to pilot the assessments. The following year, every district in New Mexico began using Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP™) for testing all K-3 students.

In Trujillo’s district, buy-in came quickly with IT support, differentiated professional development, and a solution that helps teachers as much as it helps students, she says.

For example, before Istation, teachers hand-scored assessments. They now have more time as well as access to Istation instructional resources, gaining even more efficiencies.

“We know the ongoing assessment, progress monitoring and instruction have made a difference because scores continue to go up.”

“We saw a big difference in test scores once we purchased the instructional component—and when students use Istation more often,” Trujillo says. “You can’t go wrong with more instruction that’s targeted to each student based on their level and the skills they need more support in.”

Improved assessments in English and Spanish

The nationally normed ISIP™, which provide the information posted on each school’s data wall, also help predict student success. Some recent results:

  • English readers in kindergarten who were assessed as inadequate decreased 16 percentage points during the school year.
  • English readers in kindergarten who were assessed as on target to meet end-of-year grade-level expectations increased seven percentage points during the school year.
  • Spanish readers in kindergarten who were assessed as inadequate decreased 15 percentage points during the school year.
  • Spanish readers in kindergarten who were assessed as on target to meet end-of-year grade-level expectations rose seven percentage points during the same time period.

‘Engaged students’

“Students are engaged, and teachers like having immediate results that can be trusted,” Trujillo says. Parent reports improve communication, she adds, as reports show where students are, where they need to be, and how parents can support learning at home.

“We are constantly having conversations about the data,” Trujillo says. “Teachers use it to help struggling students, and all the information is at our fingertips.”

For more information, please visit istation.com 


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