I have worked in the field of education for over twenty-five years. Most of my time and energy has been dedicated to implementing interventions to help students who struggle to learn, and designing and evaluating interventions for those students.
During this period my greatest frustration was determining or demonstrating whether the intervention was making a positive meaningful difference. I traced the source of this frustration to one fact. It was very hard to find an easy to implement student assessment that could really answer the fundamental question; is what we are doing working?
Working with students who struggle to keep up with their peers is a great responsibility. You have an obligation to the student, the parents and the school to really make a positive difference in the student’s life. Educational interventions will often take time and resources away from core instruction under the premise that the intervention is needed to catch the student up or fill in gaps of skills or knowledge. But what if the intervention is not working?
How do we know at the end of the day that these interventions are making a difference and are worthy of the time and resources they require? And by extension, how do we know our core curriculum and instruction is meeting the needs of all students?
In my work with struggling students I found several barriers to clearly answering this question. The core issue was that most student assessments simply are not designed to answer the question, is what we are doing working?
I designed Track My Progress to address this need, to provide a simple to use and easy to understand student assessment system to answer the most fundamental question about student learning; is what we are doing working?
They are designed to answer all sorts of other questions . . . but not the question that I think every educator truly wants to know; is what I am doing working . . . is it working for each of my students? Some conventional student assessments are also not designed to answer related questions; should we continue what we are doing? Should we try something different?
Have you been to an IEP meeting or a team meeting as a parent or educator to discuss how to help a student in need only to get bogged down in a fog of data interpretation and attempted extrapolation? I found the following inappropriate use of assessments caused much of the confusion:
- We were not using an adaptive test and therefore could not see if the student was making progress.
- The assessments that were in place were not measuring what the intervention was teaching.
- Assessments were given only once providing a snapshot picture but not a measure of progress over time.
- The assessments themselves were complex and time-intensive to administer so that there was not much time or energy left for the intervention itself.
- Different scales or metrics were used at different grade levels making it difficult to track progress from year to year.
I designed Track My Progress to address this need, to provide a simple to use and easy to understand student assessment system to answer the most fundamental question about student learning; Is what we are doing working?
If you're interested in learning more about Track My Progress or seeing how it helps to answer these fundamental questions, schedule a consultation with a member of our team.
Want to learn more about the benefits of student assessment, and the potential pitfalls you might be facing in your classrooms? You can download our recent eBook, discussing the 18 most common pitfalls of student assessment.