Step Up for Students Schools and NWEA Partner to See Accelerated Student Growth

December 21, 2017 Lauren Barlis

Step Up for Students Schools and NWEA Partner to See Accelerated Student Growth - TLG-IMG-12212017Like many schools, Dunnellon Christian Academy in Dunnellon, Florida, was struggling with how to use outdated and complex student assessment data. Typical standardized tests – such as TerraNova, which they were using – provide assessment data well after the students have left the classroom for summer vacation. At this point, all the data can really do is show how the school and teachers performed in the past, rather than during the school year.

Principal Kristy Wheat learned about Step Up For Students (SUFS), a tax-credit scholarship program that serves low-income students and those with special needs, and their partnership with NWEA that enables schools to use the MAP® Growth™ interim assessment. MAP Growth measures what students know and what they are ready to learn next by dynamically adjusting to each student’s performance – whether that performance is on, above, or below grade level.

Since the fall of 2016, the SUFS and NWEA partnership has seen some great results:

  • MAP Growth assessments have been given in 215 private schools in Florida serving SUFS scholarship students
  • 25,000 students have been given the MAP Growth assessment
  • Overall, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding their growth targets in Math grew from 63% to 76%

With faster access to student assessment data, Dunnellon teachers are differentiating their instruction, which has resulted in above-average growth in Math. One of their students on a SUFS scholarship scored in the 99th percentile for growth between fall and spring, and at the 96th percentile for achievement on his spring math assessment.

2017 Teachers of the Year - Leading from the Classroom - PodcastsAnother example of the SUFS – NWEA partnership success is with Kingdom Academy in Miami. Teachers and administrators are offered 20 hours of free professional learning from the SUFS Office of Student Learning. Educators can learn how to apply MAP Growth reports and differentiate their instruction in response to student achievement and growth data. Armed with this professional learning, teachers are making an impact by creating a weekly program they call Power Hour:

  • Every Friday from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., students attend a MAP Growth data–based learning group
  • Using the Learning Continuum report, which provides information on what students know and are ready to learn, teachers chart their student’s MAP Growth scores
  • Learning during this time is very hands-on and engaging, and using their scores allows students to make progress more quickly
  • Teachers focus on a skill that corresponds with their score, regardless of grade level

Principals from both Dunnellon and Kingdom Academy have seen improved communication around MAP Growth data with parents and students. That improved communication comes in part from the ongoing professional learning that SUFS offers, as well as the timeliness of the student assessment data.

For more information on these two SUFS-NWEA partnership success stories, download the full case study.

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