School district implements new i-Ready assessment tool for Winters students

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Director of Innovation and Technology Nicole Reyherme presented the inaugural baseline results and implementation of the i-Ready assessments to trustees at the Thursday, Sept. 19 Winters Joint Unified School Board meeting. I-Ready is an online assessment and instruction tool utilized to promote instructional practices of implementing diagnostic assessments, setting academic goals, using data to inform/adjust instruction, monitor academic progress, differentiated instruction for small groups, motivating students and celebrating success. Previously, beginning in 2015, Winters JUSD implemented Star Renaissance assessments on reading and math to collect data on student’s skills and execute an application for improvement in the core subject areas for student success. The Star tests occurred three times a year and staff used the data to influence instruction and assess a need for interventions.  During the 2018-19 school year staff and administrators brought up concerns as to whether Renaissance was the best way to measure student performance and other assessment options were explored including a pilot of i-Ready in the spring of 2019. The CAIT committee recommended the school board to adopt i-Ready to replace the Renaissance system. This was brought to the district’s LCAP committee who incorporated it into the plan for the 2019-20 school year.  The i-Ready assessments are designed to provide teachers with actionable insight into student needs and offers a complete picture of student performance and growth, while eliminating students from taking redundant tests.  The i-Ready Diagnostic pinpoints a student’s ability level, identifies specific skills the student needs to learn to accelerate growth, and charts a personalized learning path for each student. The tool is able to adapt to each student’s responses during testing and assess a broad range of skills-including skills above and below a student’s classified grade level. Reyherme said questions on the test get harder the more a student gets correct and a wrong answer will generate an easier question until it balances out to determine the student’s current abilities. The baseline scores provide the district with a snapshot of where students are at this early stage of the school year. Students will take the diagnostic exam three more times during the 2019-20 school year. Currently the i-Ready assessments are being given at Shirley Rominger Intermediate, Winters Middle School and to ninth through eleventh grade at Winters High School. Waggoner Elementary is giving a one-one, face-to-face assessment with students. Waggoner Principal Jennifer Kloczko said they want to do something very objective to take a good look to measure their students’ literacy abilities. She said the one-on-one sit downs are providing an opportunity to look at student’s phonics abilities and to listen to students read to measure challenges and strengths with reading. Kloczko said their whole bell schedule was redesigned to accommodate the assessments so all students are able to get what they need from their education experience in literacy and writing. She said all students will be challenged, and no students will miss out from their grade block. In response to a question from Trustee Rudolph Muldong on if the site had appropriate resources to administer the assessments, Kloczko said they’ve had all hands on deck the first few weeks of school to make sure all students were able to be assessed. She reported that although some teachers chose to do their own assessments, they have staff available to assist. They also budgeted to allot for time for teachers to assess and dive into the data. Rominger Principal Monica Moreno said she has previous experience with the i-Ready tool and has been sharing recommendations with her staff on how to best utilize it. Moreno shared that teachers are provided with lesson plans to help them provide appropriate actions for each child’s needs as determined by their test results. “It’s an opportunity for the teacher to have a conversation with the child,” Moreno said. Reyherme addressed staff concerns over communication to Spanish speaking parents on how to read the data by sharing that she had discovered communication in Spanish that she will be sharing soon. Sandra Ayón, Assistant Superintendent and Director of Educational Services, reported that there is a Family Section on i-Ready that has resources for parents and caregivers. Site administrators will be sharing information about it soon. Students are also able to work on i-Ready related tasks at home. As i-Ready is a new program in the school district this initial diagnostic window serves as an opportunity for staff and students to look at how the test is given, the amount of time it takes to test and discover the best methods for ensuring the district receives good data. Reyherme said following Winters assessment the January data they will be able to show growth and stretch targets for each student and give Board members a better comparison with the baseline results. “The best part of this is we’re all starting on the same page and learning it together,” said Ayón. “Renaissance came in so many pieces, we could never all understand it the same way.”]]>

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