With Ohio AIR in mind, Northmont City Schools adopted Edulastic and embraced the power of instant data and standards-tied digital assessment.
As the state of Ohio was moving to online testing, Northmont City Schools realized it was time for a new solution for digital assessment. Students needed to get comfortable with technology-enhanced items and maneuvering around an online test. Initially, the district was using Study Island, but that wasn’t cutting it. They were looking for new options.
After attending a conference in Colorado, one of the teachers discovered Edulastic and shared it at a staff meeting. The platform had what they were looking for: question types like drag and drop and it mirrored the look and feel of the state test. “When we found a platform that mimicked the state we were very excited.” recalls Kristy Geiger, Curriculum Specialist at Northmont. The success of a small pilot in the classroom, led to a district-wide adoption of Edulastic.
Northmont had been struggling with keeping track of standards mastery so they were excited finding a tool that would provide that service with ease. “The teachers have a platform that can help keep them on track with the standards. We were trying to move towards curriculum mapping and common assessments. Now we can do that seamlessly without the teachers having extra work.” said Geiger.
Preparing for the Ohio State Assessment
Northmont City Schools, located near Dayton, Ohio, consists of 8 schools and over 5,000 students. At the district, grades 4th to 12th use Edulastic. Every group of teachers gives digital assessments at least four times a year. Then, there are some groups of teachers that use it for end-of-chapter assessments, and others even more frequently. Some teachers use both questions they create themselves, as well as questions that are already available in the assessment library.
“We are able to use released questions on Edulastic from the state of Ohio to help prepare our students,” says 8th Grade Science Teacher, Kristie Eifert. “We intertwine them into our unit assessments so they are getting that practice all year long.” The practice comfort that students gain from using digital assessment on a regular basis helps them be prepared for the annual state testing come spring.
In Ohio, students take the Ohio AIR state assessments starting in grade 3 and up until grade 12. Every year students take a math and reading test in the spring. In 5th and 8th grade, students also take a science test. Finally, in high school they take several end-of-course assessments which are mandatory to pass in order to graduate from high school. Being able to track student progress leading up to these online state tests would allow the district to prepare these students as best they can.
Stronger instruction beyond the test
Three years have passed since Northmont first began using Edulastic and the district has benefited in a variety of ways from the edtech tool. First of all, as a district that uses Google Classroom, they enjoy the seamless integration between the platforms. Students can simply log into their Classroom account to access their assessments.
The ease of use and instant feedback makes the platform a go-to for exit tickets, entrance tickets, formative assessment, and common assessments. With the data and the immediate reports, teachers are able to initiate and carry out more meaningful conversations than before.
The instant reports and data are a favorite feature of Edulastic. “That real time feedback of their grades and how they are doing is a gamechanger to me. I love it.” says Evan Houdieshell, Instructional Technology Specialist at Northmont. “Having data available immediately makes discussions much more focused. We are having discussions that we couldn’t have before”
Houdieshell began using Edulastic as a 5th grade teacher and was using it on a regular basis so he’s seen the benefits from the teacher perspective. “My students right away loved it. It was personalized to them and I could give different forms of a test that fit my students needs. They also enjoyed that immediate feedback– no need to wait a day or longer to get your score.”
In his current role as technology specialist, he’s able to meet with teachers and help them reap the benefits of the instant data and saved time.
Moving forward, informed and data-based
Moving forward, the district plans to continue to use the data and reports from Edulastic to support and inform student learning. “My goal is to help teachers make use of the reports and use the data to guide instruction,” says Geiger.
As an Edulastic Enterprise district, school leaders and teachers have access to a wide variety of instant reports that instantly auto populate as students complete assessments. From standards mastery reports to multiple or single assessment reports, school leaders and teachers can at-a-glance identify what’s working or where more support is needed.
On the instructional side, the consensus is that both the student and teachers benefit from the immediate feedback. Misconceptions can be addressed immediately and students don’t need to wait a week, or even a few days to get their results back. While, especially for the less tech-savvy, the assessment set-up can sometimes takes a little time to get comfortable with, auto-grade feature saves them time, and so does the fact that it’s no longer necessary to print out and prepare the assessments on paper.
“I would love to see all of our educators using Edulastic because of the immediate feedback and because it does save time.” says Houdieshell. “Teachers are always looking for what’s going to save them time and make their lives easier. Edulastic does that.”