Iberia educators are celebrating higher LEAP scores, supported by a new approach to assessment and data.
Iberia Parish educators were elated to learn that 3rd-8th grade students had shown significant growth on state LEAP testing, improving 4 points in English Language Arts and 3 points in Math. Administrators applauded the hard work of their educators and revealed a new high-tech way that the district was using data to guide instruction.
In a conversation with the Daily Iberian, Superintendent Heath Hulin shared strategies that were the most promising. First, Master Teachers were deployed to every campus to analyze data and track individual students. Second, the district had embarked on a project to monitor student growth more regularly, giving educators a better chance to keep students from falling behind.
Leading into the school year, Iberia’s curriculum team designed a revamped set of interactive benchmark tests in a new system called OnCourse Assessment. This system, which had been field-tested in several other Louisiana parishes, promised to elevate the rigor of their tests by providing a bank of high-quality, tech-enhanced questions. OnCourse also gave every teacher a friendly dashboard of analytics that pinpointed student strengths and weaknesses.
Mrs. Jennie Foster, Supervisor of Assessment and Accountability, pointed to the speed of these analytics as making an immediate impact in the classroom. “We believe administering rigorous, aligned assessments gave us valuable data to use to intervene immediately in order to grow our students’ mastery of the standards,” said Foster.
These new interactive assessments were delivered three times a year, with live analytics delivered immediately into every classroom.
In past years, Iberia schools had struggled with a problem experienced by most school districts; to truly understand whether their tests were rigorous and aligned to both the district’s scope and sequence and academic standards. Foster and her team used a tool called “OnCourse Multiple Measures” to analyze student performance across a spectrum of relevant measures.
“After running correlation reports in Multiple Measures, we realized that our District Benchmark scores were lower than the LEAP scores.” The team took this as an indicator that they had succeeded at measuring student learning at a correct level of rigor. “This truly indicates the power of good data to grow students well before the state summative LEAP.”
Thanks to the district’s new online benchmark assessments, Iberia students also entered LEAP testing with valuable experience using tech-enhanced items (TEIs.) The success of this program was encouraging enough that the district began introducing TEIs into regular quizzes, homework, and classroom.
This was accomplished using OnCourse Classroom, a learning management system integrated into the new assessment system.
“Moving forward, we have now provided OnCourse Classroom for our teachers so that they can create their own online assessments using the item bank,” says Foster. “Indirectly, this experience will also train our teachers to create more rigorous and aligned assessment items they can use during instruction and classroom assessing.”
“Using OnCourse, they can then take a ‘live’ pulse of their students’ learning each week as it aligns to the overall expectations of learning on the LEAP.”