As Anthony Rivera approached the building of his new school, students were chucking textbooks from the second story to the sidewalk of Wallace Avenue below. As founding principal of Pelham Academy in the Bronx, he had no doubt that he was walking into a daunting challenge. But Rivera had a special connection to the community; he grew up in the neighborhood, and he was committed to providing the students there with the best education possible.

Teachers and administrators at Pelham agreed that they wanted to collect as much data as possible in order to identify student mastery levels, but they were initially overwhelmed with the process. In order to get on the fast track to data-driven instruction, Pelham Academy partnered with Teaching Matters, a NYC-based organization dedicated to developing and retaining great teachers, and measurably increasing their ability to give students in urban public schools an excellent education.

Through their work with Teaching Matters, the Pelham team began using MasteryConnect to efficiently collect and analyze student data in real time, using iPads to view data in real time as they moved around the classroom. Then, meeting together as formal collaborative teams with Teaching Matters Consultant Jelbin DeLaCruz, they sat down regularly together to look at data in order to identify gaps and develop strategies to target deficiencies. Their hard work is already showing great results in moving Pelham students forward.

“Earlier this year we began looking at and tracking cohort data,” explains Principal Rivera. “We compared how they performed three years ago to how they performed just this past spring, and what we saw was a 159% increase in student proficiency over that time.”

This impressive growth keeps the educators there inspired to continue the work, and Principal Rivera believes that Teaching Matters and MasteryConnect are making a difference for both students and teachers.

“It was humbling and it was also validating because it provided us with the evidence that we needed to help us see that the decisions that we were making, and the tools that we were using, and the structures that we had in place were all impactful,” he says. “We saw that in the student results.”

Although Pelham Academy is a great success story on its own, it serves as an example of the positive gains made when educators work together to share best practices and instructional strategies with peers in their school and beyond.

“The expertise to solve some of the most vexing problems in schools lies in the schools, and it’s obviously in that school’s interest to share that across the school,” says Teaching Matters Lead Consultant Nick Siewert. “We feel that it is also essential to share with other schools.”

Watch the profile below to see how the educators at Pelham Academy are using real-time data to improve learning for every student in their building and, by doing so, how they are investing in their city.


 

We’re always looking for ways to improve your MC experience. To celebrate the spring season, we’ve launched four new product features.

Our product manager Kyle will show you what’s new in the video below.

 

And for you readers out there, we’ll breakdown the updates below.

 

Android Users, the Wait is Over!

MC Teacher App is now available on Android devices. For those of you who have an Android device, you can now instantly score your assessment by entering your test ID and holding your phone over the bubble sheet. Additionally, you can quickly access student responses and make changes in the moment by utilizing the “edit answers” button in the application. Ready to join Apple users in some serious mastery tracking? Download the MC Teacher app in the Google Play store now.

Get the App

 

Better Accessibility with Text-to-Speech Beta

The Text-to-Speech feature in MC allows students who need accommodations to have assessments read aloud. This is also an effective option for young learners and second language learners who could benefit from hearing a question as they read along.

Text-to-Speech is now available in beta, and it can be enabled at the district level with approval from your district or school’s MasteryConnect administrator. If interested, please contact your Regional Education Consultant for more information or talk to your MC admin.

 

Say More on Progress Reports

We heard you! Now you can say more on your progress reports with two lines of customizable text at the bottom of each report. This is a great place to put a description of mastery levels or even your school motto—you decide! Once the report is generated, your custom text will appear at the footer of each page.

 

Clearer Overview Reports

Gain more clarity about your data on a larger scale with this update to Overview Reports. Because we know how important reporting is for district admins and principals, we’ve improved the look of these charts and graphs. You can now better visualize data between district, class, and tracker charts—ensuring your data is as clear and actionable as possible.

 


Let Us Know What You Think!

As always, we love hearing your feedback! If you have any questions about these new features, please reach out to your Regional Education Consultant or the MasteryConnect Support team.


Not a MasteryConnect user? Learn more at masteryconnect.com/demo.

 

 

We know you’re always on the move.  That’s why we’ve made sure the newest version of the MC Teacher App for iPhone has all the innovative assessment tools you love right on your iPhone. These tools, which were previously only available on iPad, makes it’s easier than ever to personalize learning, target interventions, and personalize learning on the go. 

New features for the MC Teacher App for iPhone include

  • Trackers list and details
  • Student views with mastery levels and performance by standard
  • Raw score assessment creation
  • Standard views with assessments and scores
  • Ability to generate test IDs
  • iPhone X support (we know it’s on your Christmas list!)

Get the latest Teacher App now in the App Store! 

And, as promised, a little note for Android users…

We’ve heard you, and the first version of the MC Teacher App for Android is on its way! You’ll get the power to scan bubble sheets right from your Android phone; no more going back to your desk to get that immediate feedback.

Keep your eyes peeled for more Android news — coming early 2018!

 

Leveraging data for continuous improvement, as you know, can be easier said than done. By working with dozens of school systems around the country, our partners at Schoolzilla have learned best practices to keep any conversation about data positive and productive.

As part of our webinar series focused on using data effectively to drive student growth, the Schoolzilla data gurus will join on Tuesday, December 5th to share their best strategies on how to transform your next data conversation. Whether you’re prepping for a PLC meeting, coaching conversation, or PD session, we’ll help you come away feeling ready to take action for our students!

Sign Up Now!

 
P.S. If you’d like to tune in but aren’t available, please register and we’ll share a recording you can watch at your convenience after.

 

Join us for a two sessions dedicated to building communities for real change

Leading education consultants Tom Hierck and Garth Larson will join MasteryConnect Chief Academic Officer Trenton Goble in a special two-session webinar series in November. These focused webinars, held on November 1st and November 7th, are designed to take administrators on a deep dive into the role culture plays when rolling out new grading, assessment, and learning initiatives. If you are looking to implement change that truly impacts learning, these are two hours you won’t want to miss.

 
PART 1 | November 1st, 10AM MT
Moving Schools Forward, On Purpose with Tom Hierck

A 29-year education of public education, Tom will share his experience in working with schools and districts around the country as it pertains to building a culture of collective responsibility and commitment. He’ll present the can’t-skip steps to building a community that truly promotes “learning for ALL”. Key topics will include leading meaningful collaborative conversations, aligning policy and practice, and planning next steps.

 
PART 2 | November 7th, 10AM MT
Grading for Impact: Raising Achievement through Target-Based Assessment and Grading with Garth Larson

The following week, Garth Larson will join us to discuss target-based grading and how it maximizes learning, increases achievement, and creates a community through honest and accurate results. Join Garth in this interactive webinar to learn more about how target-based assessment, grading, and reporting raises student achievement—and see why it works for ALL schools for ALL students in ALL communities.

Read the full descriptions, learn more about our presenters, and sign up!

KDS Pre-built Assessments

 

Inspect® Prebuilt Assessment Suites for this school year are available within MasteryConnect for Common Core and select states!


 

The Inspect® assessment solution offers thousands of pre-built assessments for ongoing formative assessment throughout the school year, including assessment suites for Classroom Checkpoints, Interim Formative Assessment, Comprehensive / End-of-Year Assessments and more.

These assessment bundles support SBAC, PARCC, and individual state standards. They are included with the Inspect® Item Bank for Common Core standards and the following states:

Alabama
Arizona
Colorado
Florida
Georgia
Indiana

Louisiana
Mississippi
Utah
Tennessee
Pennsylvania
New Jersey

Join MasteryConnect for a live webinar on October 11th as we talk with Kendall Weiser, Inspect® Assessment Director, to learn about the pre-built assessments available with the Inspect® Item Bank.

In this webinar, we will cover

  • The seven different suites of pre-built assessments
  • Evidence-based design principles used to create these rigorous assessments
  • How these assessments benefit students at various levels of cognitive complexity
  • Ways to gain insight into student weaknesses through the different assessments
  • How you may modify the assessments to match your district’s pacing

Learn how the Inspect® assessments can become a powerful tool in your district.

Register for the webinar now!

 
Still want more info? Check out the brochure.

Free Webinar

 

Thursday, July 27th
11AM (MDT)

——

Learn how to use research-based principles to understand and gain actionable information from your formative data. We will identify must-have reports, and we will introduce an instructional strategy that uses higher order thinking as part of the formative assessment process.

You’ll hear

  • The defining features of formative assessment and the formative assessment cycle
  • The garden analogy and why we should think of our students as plants
  • Indicators of what works best in raising student achievement
  • How to make sure teachers are using assessment data

 

Sign up at masteryconnect.com/kdswebinar

Help Center

 

Did you know that MasteryConnect is now fully integrated with the Canvas LMS? That means it’s easier than ever to use MasteryConnect curriculum and assessment tools to measure and promote student growth. In addition to single sign-on and automatic data pass back, teachers can launch formative or benchmark assessments created from any of the million standards within the MasteryConnect platform—directly from the Canvas interface.

To highlight this new dynamite combo, we will be hosting a free webinar on Thursday, March 23rd. Canvas fans will see how MasteryConnect can help

  • Supercharge your PLC
  • Support a move to standards-based or mastery grading
  • Expand your formative assessment footprint
  • Align and map your curriculum to standards
  • Integrate benchmark/interim assessments into the formative process

The webinar will be co-hosted by MC Chief Learning Officer Trenton Goble and Regional Sales Leader James Seaman, both veteran K-12 educators.

Sign up at masteryconnect.com/canvaslti

 

Announcing the New Socrative PRO

 

The countdown is over for the launch of the new premium version of our classroom engagement app, Socrative! Users from around the world have already jumped on board to be the first to experience the new functionality. 

Socrative PRO gives you everything you love about the free app plus a heap of awesome new features to help you personalize learning, amp up engagement, and work formative assessment magic. Thinking about upgrading? Here’s five reasons why you’ll love Socrative PRO.

Multiple Rooms

Each Socrative PRO account allows you to have 10 unique activity rooms. Run quizzes, polls, exit tickets, or Space Races at the same time to better manage multiple classes, remote and blended learning, and differentiated instruction. Create a room for each of your classes, divide students into groups, or assign homework activities—or do it all!

More Students

Large class, PTA meeting, or district-wide training on the horizon? No problem. You can accommodate up to 150 students in Socrative PRO rooms. With three times the student capacity of the free app, Socrative PRO is perfect for conferences, professional development, and grade-level assessments.

Secure Rostering

Save time and energy by uploading class rosters straight from a CSV or Excel file  into Socrative PRO (or enter rosters manually, if you’d prefer). Restrict access to your rostered classrooms by requiring students to enter their personal ID number. And students will save time; they’re only required to enter their ID once into rostered rooms for immediate and future access.

Space Race Timer

Set the timer to have your Space Race end automatically. You can then more freely move around the classroom to answer questions, listen to students, and interact with the class.

More Features Coming this Fall

We’ll be rolling out new premium features to Socrative PRO users in the coming months. What should you expect? Well, instant quiz sharing, a searchable quiz community, and a silent hand raise featurejust to name a few. And you’ll soon get the ability to upload your own icon for a personalized Space Race experience (what will you race?!?).

Whether you’re a seasoned Socrative aficionado or you’re just discovering the formative assessment app, you’ll want to check out all the great new features you’ll get when you upgrade to Socrative PRO.


 

Socrative by MasteryConnect allows you to gather formative data instantly. Looking to gather formative data over time? Check out other K-12 solutions from MasteryConnect.

 

 

Formative Assessment Guide

You may have noticed that we are BIG fans of formative assessment around here. And as we meet with educators around the country, we continually find ourselves in (very) good company.

More and more teachers are using formative assessment in their classrooms everyday to answer important questions about student growth:

  • What do my students know?
  • What do they still need to learn?
  • How should I adapt my instruction?

Unlike it’s more traditional cousin, summative assessment, the formative process embeds checks for understanding into the learning cycle, so teachers can provide personalized learning opportunities based on students’ unique needs. It also helps students track their progress and take greater ownership of their learning. Both super sweet wins in our book.

Over the past few months, we’ve shared a series of articles on the ins and outs of formative assessment and strategies to put it to integrate it into your instruction. But we thought it’d be nice to have all that formative know-how in one handy, comprehensive guide.

Now you can become the hot-footed, whiz-bang, undisputed champion of formative assessment by downloading The Definitive K-12 Guide to Formative Assessment, a free 20-page resource designed specifically for K-12 teachers and administrators. 

What’s inside?

  • An overview of formative assessment and its benefits for students and teachers
  • The difference between formative and summative assessment
  • The three must-haves for meaningful formative assessments
  • Ideas to start using in your own classroom

Whether you’re new to formative assessment or you’re already a diehard believer, there’s something for you in this guide. 

Download now!  


Looking for a formative assessment solution? MasteryConnect can help you collect more formative data more frequently. View our online demo to see how we may be able to help in your school or district.