It’s a challenge for ELA teachers everywhere to lead their students toward academic success as they grow into literate, 21st century scholars and responsible digital citizens. We own the vital and sometimes daunting task of transforming our students into avid readers and writers; who can think critically, and communicate/collaborate thoughtfully in a digital age. Edulastic is a powerful digital assessment and data tracking tool that all ELA teachers should intertwine into their curricula because it supports 21st century student learning needs.
To the modern ELA teacher, Edulastic’s benefits are endless, its data instantaneous, and– this amazing tool is free to educators across the country. From features that support student testing accommodations like “read-aloud”, to endless resource banks from which ELA teachers can borrow and modify teaching materials, Edulastic gives teachers voice and choice in the creation of curriculum in English Language Arts, while supporting rigorous data-driven tactics used to achieve results on modern age high stakes tests. In this blog, I’m rolling out ‘10 Reasons Why ELA Teachers are Signing Up for Edulastic.’
1) Standards Aligned Content & Resource Bank
Edulastic makes it easy to implement standards-based assessments in the classroom. Pre-made assessments from the resource bank or teacher-made assessments can be tied to particular standards. The standards are only a click away and Edulastic streamlines what could be a frustrating task by organizing the standards for you. To learn more about using these resources with your ELA students, check out my blog “How to Access Standards-Aligned, Premade, K-12 Assessments in 5 Easy Steps”!
2) Passage-Based Assessments
Whether creating a passage-based assessment from scratch or pulling one from Edulastic’s question/assessment bank, the experience is streamlined and easy. Edulastic’s tools for creating passage-based assessments are top-notch! Within this feature, ELA students have reading passages available to them as they work through assessments, and can refer or cite to specific evidence to support their answers and demonstrate their knowledge.
Building custom passage-based assessments on Edulastic is also a way to empower ELA teachers to incorporate their own curricula and literature choices into digital assessments.
Check out my blog “Create ELA Passage Based Assessments that Meet your Students’ Needs” to learn more!
3) Entrance and Exit Tickets
ELA teachers have too many mandatory standards to cover with students during any given academic year. Sometimes we work on combinations of various ELA content standards in one given assignment, while other times we may focus in on one or two standards. Luckily for us, Edulastic is customizable and flexible with both content and quantity.
“I began making warm ups with my content and had a lot of success. It helped me assess the student comprehension of my content…” -Karen Ford, ELA Teacher and Edulastic user from Franklin, MA
Using Edulastic to deliver daily formative checkpoints from teachers to their students is a best practice for ELA educators all around. It helps us remain mindful of where students are and what they need. As ELA teacher Karen Ford stated in her blog, creating warm-ups and quick checks like the Exit Ticket pictured below, are both tactics which are already widely employed amongst Edulastic users on a daily basis as a means to drive instruction.
4) High-Stakes Test Preparation
Edulastic’s tools allow ELA teachers to simulate the testing environment and format students will face in state tests. Students don’t test with pencil and paper anymore. Modern formats are digital, and Edulastic lets ELA teachers familiarize their students with that environment seamlessly. Teachers across the country who are using Edulastic now have the resources and content to review test taking protocols and techniques with students on a regular basis. This allows students to become more comfortable with testing formats and question interaction types, while at the same time learning important ELA content and skills.
5) ELA Technology-Enhanced Items (TEIs)
Edulastic sets a new bar for teachers to fully prepare their students for the digital assessment experience. Not many, if any, EdTech apps and programs offer an environment to practice and learn these skills on a regular user basis.
Practicing with all of the question interaction types that could appear on a test is a major benefit of regular Edulastic use for ELA teachers and students. Edulastic doesn’t settle for multiple choice questions alone. In fact, there are over 30 question types and question interaction types within the Edulastic system that align with the needs of modern day digital assessments and ELA ‘Blended Learning’ classrooms.
ELA Tech-enhanced items are a game-changer, and add relevance and rigor to any modern day assessment of student ELA content mastery.
*To highlight a few ELA TEI question/question interaction types that show many benefits in the classroom, you should try out…
- Text Entry: This question type is GREAT for spelling tests, especially in primary and middle grades! i If a student spells a word wrong, it’s autograded. No more hand-grading spelling tests.
- Editing: This question type works great for checking grammar or other writing skills!
- Sentence response: The “Sentence Response” question type allows students to engage and work within paragraphs or sentences while mastering content!
- Multi-Part: My personal favorite! With this ELA TEI question type, students are able to practice questions that mimic their ELA state test assessments! This amazing TEI question type enables Teachers o drill the Main Idea & Evidence standards.
You make the tests, you select the correct response(s), Edulastic grades student responses; students immediately see where they are at, and ELA teachers see where they need to be.
It’s simple and refreshing not having to keep track of and grade by hand mounds of worksheets. Edulastic does the work for you, not to mention, keeps teachers from bringing home piles and piles of papers. With Edulastic on your side, you will never lose another student assignment!
7) Writing Rubrics & Feedback
Edulastic may not be able to grade essay responses, yet, but it does allow ELA teachers to create and assign their own rubrics. This is great for ELA teachers who spend so much time grading student writing that it cuts into important instructional time or prep time for other activities.
This streamlined process of grading and commenting on writing is efficient and effective. Teachers can also utilize the rubrics contributed by other members of the Edulastic community by conducting a simple search.
This customizable feature allows for consistency relating to students and the frequency that they receive valuable feedback about their writing from ELA teachers. Students who once waited for weeks for legitimate and thoughtful feedback from language arts teachers, now, with Edulastic, can receive this feedback on an almost daily basis if executed with fidelity.
ELA teachers and students alike can agree that both the writing rubric and feedback features on Edulastic are extremely valuable in modern day classrooms when seat time or one-on-one coaching time with students is limited. Working smarter, not harder, is possible for ELA teachers with Edulastic.
Whether starting from scratch or from pre-made questions, educators have the chance to deliver personalized instruction with Edulastic. Overall quality of education improves when content is relevant to students and catered to their individual needs.
Edulastic assessments can be modified and assigned to one student or a particular group of students. Accommodations similar to those that students with learning differences use regularly when assessed, like read-aloud, modified content, and extended time are all possible with Edulastic!
Supporting individual student learning needs has never been easier, or more discreet. The beauty of Edulastic is that with this tool, each student is on his or her own journey with learning. They view their dashboard and their feedback and scores. Students no longer feel ashamed or stigmatized by teachers and classmates through these types of discreet differentiations.
9) Data Reports & Dashboard
Instant student data reports and the real-time data dashboard are amongst the most popular features for ELA teachers within the Edulastic app. Teachers save countless hours on reports when Edulastic does the job for them!
Interacting with students, as well as student data remotely enables ELA teachers to be better prepared for students returning to school the next day. This is also a helpful tool to aid ELA teachers in identifying individual student needs for differentiation and remediation after absences, snow days, etc.
“When I realized all of that data was instant, it changed my world and I never looked back” – Jennie Tookoian, ELA teacher and Edulastic user from Fresno California
10) Free for Teachers
Edulastic is free for teachers forever! Sign up for a free account to access all Edulastic has to offer your English Language Arts classroom
Take control of digital assessment results in your ELA classroom. Register for a FREE teacher account today!
About the Author: Samantha J Shaffner is an award winning secondary English Language Arts Teacher, Author, and Digital Learning Consultant from Columbus, Ohio. Samantha specializes in secondary ELA curriculum and instruction; digital assessment design, and program implementation using cutting edge Ed Tech tools in support of 21st Century Student Learning. @SamanthaShaffn2