On Sep 18, 2023
Close the learning gap and accelerate skill growth through easyCBM
When the recent NAEP reading scores showed a sharp decrease in student achievement immediately following COVID, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC) in southwest Indiana utilized easyCBM to identify their students who needed intervention and pinpoint the instruction necessary to build their skills to proficiency level. To understand the journey they took, Riverside Insights’ own Alison Boivin and Christina Jordan sat down with EVSC’s Brenna Kelly and Sandy Moore to discuss the structures they put in place to efficiently grow their students' reading skills.
EVSC began with allocating time within the school day to focus directly on intervention, which they call their W.I.N. period (What I Need). The assessment data identifies the specific skills for which individual students need to focus to elevate their overall reading ability. Further, teachers have the built-in opportunity to intervene and support instruction with those skills during the 30-40 minute W.I.N. period each day.
Setting & Tracking Growth Goals
Utilizing the goal-setting graphs in easyCBM proved instrumental in providing a longer lens on student progress. EVSC challenged themselves to achieve 1.5x the typical growth in a given student’s area of need, and easyCBM delivered the assurance that students met those goals over time. While teachers could apply short-term goals like doing a cold read of a passage on Monday and tracking student progress on the same passage throughout the week, they needed the ability to ensure and track overall progress.
easyCBM perfectly meets that need. Brenna shared that, “easyCBM has been an invaluable tool as far as making interventions because we don’t have to wait until that next benchmark test date to see if they have grown in skills. I can look at the easyCBM data a few times a month to see if the intervention is working and what’s really going on.”
Being able to track growth motivates and inspires students as well. Students can sometimes miss the bigger picture and become immersed in the day-to-day tasks, rather than understand that they’re building their ability over time. The chance to see that overall progress on charts encourages them to keep growing and learning each time they step foot in the classroom.
Sandy Moore commented, “It’s great to have the easyCBM overarching goals because they’re taking assessments each week to see their progress in micro-interventions, but being able to see their overall growth over months or years is incredibly valuable in motivating students to focus on the day-to-day.”
Summer Enrichment Programs
To further their efforts in closing the gaps in reading ability, EVSC created summer programs for students in need of additional intervention. If K-2 students don’t pass the state-required IREAD-3 assessment, they enroll in a 4-week summer program that provides half days of instruction in preparation for the opportunity to take the IREAD-3 again at the end of the month.
Additionally, for incoming kindergarteners who didn’t attend Pre-K, EVSC partners with United Way to prep those students for kindergarten in a 4-week course in June. That program serves to introduce those students to the school atmosphere and lets them get a taste of the school experience before the year begins.
To keep parents informed of their students' academic progress, EVSC developed a new student information system that allows parents to track their students’ progress real-time on an app. In addition to the system being more reliable than a note in a student’s backpack, it opens the opportunity for more fluid communication between parents and teachers and provides parents with the information necessary to support their students’ academic progress at home.
Lastly, EVSC suggests 5 effective strategies to ensure schools are maximizing their potential to foster reading growth in all students.
Stay tuned for more blogs as we recap our summer webinar series, I T.E.A.C.H., where we Talked about Education, Assessment and Current Happenings in today's education market with experts in assessment research, as well as district and school administrators. Topics discussed include the effect of COVID on math with unfinished learning, the interpretation of assessment scores within reports, data meetings and strategies for analysis, measuring student longitudinal growth, building a positive testing culture among staff and students, the effect of COVID on testing, and how assessment data informs instruction.