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.


 

As another school year is coming to a close, I hope that you and your staff are planning for some fun and relaxation over the summer break among all the planning, inservice, and curriculum development that I know you’ll be engaged in!

You likely have a list a mile long of things to do to close out the school year. When it comes to MasteryConnect, there are a few things you’ll want to do, too. You may have many questions, such as:

  • What happens to our data at the end of the school year?
  • Can we use our same materials for next year?
  • How do administrators add or delete teachers?
  • And many more…

Soon you will be receiving additional details from us regarding school year rollover, but in the meantime you can get ready for the transition by reviewing our End of Year Best Practices article:

help.masteryconnect.com/hc/en-us/articles/219191007-End-of-School-Year-Best-Practices

This article will give you some tips as well as important dates to consider when planning your rollover with regards to MasteryConnect. We look forward to helping you smoothly transition to another school year with MasteryConnect!


 

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.

 

 

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.

Help Center

 

Calling all New York administrators, teachers and leaders! Join us on October 5th as we kick off our nationwide 2017 MC Summit Series, a new kind of event for education leaders.

The New York City event is held in partnership with Teaching Matters, a NYC-based organization committed to improving teaching and learning in urban areas. Together, MasteryConnect and Teaching Matters will facilitate this intimate evening to explore the important work being done in NYC schools, especially in regards to better technological tools and improved teacher development.

Register for the NYC event now — you won’t want to miss this!

 
More About the MC Summit Series

The new MC Summit Series will connect the best and the brightest in K-12, providing an intimate space to share ideas that make a meaningful impact on student growth. When you attend, you’ll rub shoulders with other education trailblazers and take a deep-dive into the many ways to implement lasting change through innovative assessment, mastery learning, and the latest education technology. You’ll be encouraged to share your story and network with others in your area tackling the same challenges.

At each event, a panel of local experts and the MasteryConnect team will discuss and share tangible takeaways on the hot topics, like:

  • Formative Assessment
  • Professional Learning Communities
  • Standards-based grading
  • RtI

Read more about the MC Summit Series and our featured speakers here.
And be sure to join us in NYC or look for upcoming dates across the country.

Back-to-School Tips from MC Pros

September 8th, 2017

Help Center

 

Another school year has kicked into full gear! At MasteryConnect, we’re proud to be a part of your classroom, and we want you to have the best MC experience possible.

Today our team of support gurus share their best tips to help you go back in style with our curriculum and assessment tools.

 


 

Locate Internal Support

It’s likely that your school or district has designated an internal employee to be the first line of support for you and your fellow teachers. They may have very specific resources or training opportunities.

To see your internal support contact and their contact info, click on the question mark icon next to your name in your MasteryConnect interface.

 

Get to Know Online PD

online-pd

Did you know you have on-demand MC professional development anytime, anywhere? Our Online PD courses offer a slew of instructional videos that provide detailed instructions for MC. Use Online PD videos to find answers about the software, get a quick refresher after a long (but not long enough!) summer, or practice putting all of these pieces into action. And we have updated video content for the year, as well as new courses—like MC for mobile devices.

Access Online PD by logging into your MasteryConnect account and clicking the ? icon at the top right of the page next to your name.

dashboard-onlinepd

 

Search Our Help Center

Our Help Center is stocked full of articles to walk you through any aspect of MasteryConnect. Build your MC superpowers with step-by-step instructions on just about any topic.

Access the Help Center articles by logging into your MasteryConnect account and clicking the matrix at the top right of the page next to your name.

dashboard-help-center

 

Make Necessary Firewalls Fixes

A strict firewall can block or interrupt MC. Your school or district’s IT team will need to ensure all required websites are accessible from your network.

View all domains that need to be whitelisted in this help article.

 

Update GradeCam

GradeCam saves you loads of time when it comes to grading stacks of bubble sheets. To make sure this magical scanning goes off without a hitch, be sure you GradeCam plugin is updated to the latest version.

Get the latest plugin and test your GradeCam settings, visit: downloads.gradecam.com

And view our GradeCam troubleshooting guide. Most issues can be resolved by the steps in that guide, like uninstalling and installing the plugin. (Another good tip: make sure the assessment you’re scanning for has an active Test ID.)

 

Update Your Browser

The MasteryConnect site is always tested on the latest and greatest versions of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. That’s why it’s best to keep your browser version updated.

View details on our browsers and hardware specifications here.

 


 

Submit Support Tickets

If you are unable to find answers to your questions in Help Center articles or Online PD videos, you can submit and manage a support ticket from the Help Center.

The ticket system allows you to

  • See your open tickets in a single view
  • Add comments to your tickets
  • Add screenshots
  • View additional ticket details like status and assignee

Submit a support ticket by following these steps:
1. After you login to MasteryConnect, click Help below the main navigation bar.

dashboard-help-center

 
 

2. The Help Center will open in a separate browser. Click on your name again and select My Requests.

dashboard-help-center

 
 

3. From this page, you’ll be able to manage any submitted tickets. At a glance, you can see when the ticket was created, the last time there was any activity on it, and the current status.

4. Click the subject line of the ticket to open it.Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 10.35.52 AM

dashboard-help-center

 

5. Here, you can see your original request and all communication concerning it. If the ticket has been assigned, you’ll also see the name of the support team member who’s handling it.

dashboard-help-center

6. When you’re done, click the MasteryConnect logo to return to the Help Center, or close the browser window to continue working.

 


 

We hope you’ve had a great start to the school year, and here’s to tracking mastery in ‘17-’18!

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

Get a single-page view of all trackers in a student’s progress report with new Summary Pages. Learn how this new option streamlines the Progress Report process for administrators.

 

 

For step-by-step instructions on Progress Reports, view our Help Center article.