By Katherine Simpson
Special to the Express
Assistant Superintendent Sandra Ayón presented the first report of i-Ready and Evaluate diagnostic assessments at a Winters Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting on Nov. 19.
Both tools test students on state education standards for the entire school year, allowing teachers and administrators to have an accurate picture of where a given student is excelling or struggling and how they have improved over the year. Piloted with students in grades 3 through 8 during the 2019-2020 school year, this is the first full year that i-Ready is in use for students in grades 2 through 8. i-Ready was tested at Winters High School last year, but was replaced with Evaluate this year.
Ayón said this first round of results is a “snapshot” of student progress when the tests were administered.
“This is our baseline data,” said Ayón, “When we take this again in the spring, that’s when we’ll have a comparison.”
Ayón emphasized that students were tested on state standards for the whole year, so students and parents should not necessarily expect proficiency yet. Still, these results allow students to set more specific learning goals and teachers to plan for the future.
“It keeps a conversation going,” said Ayón.
Student-specific data will allow the district to tailor instructions to individual student needs. In response to a question from Winters JUSD School Board President Rudolph Muldong, Winters Middle School Principal Phoebe Girimonte pointed out that each student will receive a personalized lesson “path” based on their scores on the diagnostic test. In addition, teachers receive a digital “toolbox” with lessons designed for students and groups at different skill levels.
“It helps us know where the students are that are advanced so that we can continue advancing them forward too,” said Ayón.
i-Ready in particular uses the diagnostic data to provide 45 minutes per week of individualized, interactive online lessons for students grades 2-8. Similarly, results of the Evaluate diagnostic test allow teachers to target instruction to students’ needs based on how they performed on specific standards.
On i-Ready, 46 percent of students in grades 2-8 scored at grade level in Math, while 37 percent scored behind grade level and 17 percent scored ahead of grade level. In reading, 29 percent of students scored at the grade level, 45 percent scored behind grade level, and 27 percent scored ahead.
This year is the first for Evaluate, which assesses high school students based on state testing standards in order to predict readiness for CAASPP testing. Students are tested twice, with each test covering half of the state standards for the year.
Combined scores from the September and October test dates show 1 percent of students at the advanced threshold, 14 percent at the proficient threshold, 38 percent at basic and 47 percent below basic in state math standards. In English Language Arts and literature, 1 percent of students scored at the advanced level, 7 percent proficient, 52 percent basic, and 40 percent at below basic.
With the reality of distance learning, i-Ready was given asynchronously this semester. Waggoner Elementary School Principal Jennifer Kloczko said, “it went really well considering it was all at home.”
She continued, “The kids really do like it and the teachers are finding a lot of success with it.”
After the next round of assessment, both i-Ready and Evaluate scores will allow the district to compare results and determine how students have improved over the course of this school year.
The next Evaluate windows are March 8-19, 2021 and April 12-23, 2021. The second round of i-Ready testing will run from Feb. 1 through the 12. The CAASPP testing window begins March 8.
For more detailed score breakdowns, including scores for individual grades, view the packet from the Nov. 13 meeting available online at https://wintersjusd.communitybydiligent.com/portal/.