Preparing for new college and career standards with rigorous yet flexible assessment and instruction materials
By fall 2014, figuring out how to meet the requirements of the Common Core State Standards was critical for administrators in Glendale USD. The district, which is just outside of Los Angeles and serves over 26,000 students, was in need of high-quality materials that could help them transition to the Common Core while providing each student the opportunity for personalized learning.
“We were particularly concerned about providing the right foundation for students as we adopted the more rigorous Common Core standards, particularly as they moved into high school,” says Bonnie Gould, district coordinator for assessment and evaluation.
Glendale selected Ready® Reading, Ready® Math and i-Ready® Diagnostic & Instruction from Curriculum Associates for the 2014-15 school year. Ready is a rigorous, gradual-release instructional program. Curriculum writers in GUSD use the print Ready books to help inform their curriculum mapping, and teachers regularly integrate Ready lessons into classroom instruction to supplement other resources.
i-Ready combines a valid and reliable growth measure with individualized instruction in one online program that saves administrators and teachers time by providing actionable data so they can personalize learning for each student. At GUSD, students are given baseline, midyear and end-of-year diagnostic tests through i-Ready. The program also meets students where they are and allows for intervention for those below grade level. It also provides opportunities for advancement for students who are performing above expectations. For the 2015-16 school year, i-Ready testing is mandated for all students in grades K through 9, as well as at-risk students in grades 10 through 12. “We wanted to establish a benchmark where there had not been one in the past,” says Gould.
Curriculum Associates provides extensive training on the i-Ready system for all implementations; the session for the 2015-16 year was particularly helpful to Glendale’s faculty. “I have seldom received such positive reviews on training as I have this fall,” says Gould. “Teachers and principals have been totally engaged.”
One of the benefits of using i-Ready has been exposing students to an environment requiring thought and a slower pace. “Students are used to clicking and moving on when they use computers,” says Gould. “But our students were ready for CAASP, the new California online test, because of their digital reading and thinking experience through i-Ready.”
The goal at GUSD is for students to be proficient in reading by the end of third grade, and proficient in math at the end of sixth grade, as measured by i-Ready and CAASP. While there are several factors that have impacted an improvement in student performance, since implementing Ready and i-Ready, student proficiency, as determined by state test scores, has been on the rise. In 2013, the district performed 6 percentage points higher than the state average for “at or above proficient.” In 2015, the district performed 16 percentage points higher than the state average for “meets or exceeds proficiency.”
Curriculum Associates recommends students spend at least 45 minutes per subject per week in i-Ready online instruction. At GUSD, students who committed to this time made more progress than those who did not in 2014-15. Some teachers use the program during a rotation period where students are broken out into small groups. Others assign lessons in i-Ready as homework or even extra credit.
“We have not found anything close to i-Ready as far as a resource that is Common Core-aligned and that allows for individualized instruction,” says Gould.
And i-Ready has proved very popular with GUSD parents as well. “When we turned off the program, we got so many calls from parents who said that using i-Ready was part of their summer routine,” says Gould. “They are very enthusiastic about it.”
For more information, visit i-ready.com