What’s the problem? We all know U.S. students spend far too much time taking standardized assessments (often between 10-20 tests) every year, not to mention the countless hours spent preparing for these tests. Research by the Council of the Great City Schools in 2015 found that spending more time on standardized tests does not improve student performance and that schools often have to wait 2-4 months to get the data from those tests. Data that is often too little too late…
Enough testing already!
Assessments can offer essential information for teachers about what students understand and where they’re struggling. But, they need the right kind of data, and it shouldn’t come from endless hours of testing. For instance, assigning student performance to a percentile doesn’t help anyone. What does a 75% or 1,267 points earned tell you about what a child understands or how you should be help that student? Instead, data must provide teachers information about where, specifically, students are excelling and struggling. For example, a first grade teacher can know that 5 students are all struggling with adding near doubles facts (e.g., 3 + 4 and 7 + 6) or a third grade teacher may see that half of her class consistently adds instead of multiplies when given Yx1 problems. Teachers can then use this formative data to intervene and re-address those concepts. Conversely, it also allows teachers to know when students are excelling and are ready for harder content.
To truly impact teaching and learning, teachers need better sources of formative assessment data that they easily interpret and use when planning each day’s lessons.
So what is Teachley doing to help?
At Teachley, we believe learning should be fun! Imagine if instead of taking dreaded tests, kids are playing games. And these games adapt in real-time based on student performance and report meaningful data back to teachers. If you’ve been using Teachley in your classroom, you may already know how this can work. But, what you may not know is that we’ve recently received a new $900K Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences to expand our platform to include third-party math apps (see official announcement here). This grant will greatly bolster our efforts to bring rich formative assessment data across a variety of math content areas to teachers. So, students can spend more time playing games and less time worrying about filling in the correct bubble with a number 2 pencil. And teachers have the necessary information they need to easily differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all their students.
How will it work?
This summer, we will be working hard to prepare Teachley Connect for our first app partners. We’ll also develop new free EDU versions of our Teachley apps to work with the new system. During the course of the 2016-17 school year, we will expand our data reporting and intervention support to include students’ gameplay from our partners as well as several exciting new features. This new grant will allow Teachley to provide schools with a greater selection of apps that cover a wide array of K-5 math content. Stay tuned as we announce our first partners and beta launch later this summer.
Create your free Teachley account on our website, www.teachley.com to stay up-to-date on our latest progress. Have questions or want to be one of our first beta testers? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you right away.