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Maximize Your Formative Instruction Strategy with Study Island in 3 Simple Steps

Setting a robust formative assessment strategy before testing season starts will help you to understand who may need a little extra assistance and take some of the stress off your students.

In the midst of some uncertain and disruptive years of formative instruction, returning to the basics with tried-and-true practices is a safe approach. Consider how a solid, research-based formative assessment strategy can be at the center of that work. By definition, formative assessment involves keeping a pulse on what your students know while they’re still in the process of learning it and using those insights to shape future instruction.

Setting a solid formative assessment strategy long before testing season hits will not only make your life easier by understanding who may need a little extra assistance but also take some of the stress off your students. With Study Island, you can rest easy knowing that you have a trusted formative assessment tool at your fingertips.

However, we know that having a tool and using it effectively are two different things. Read on for our three easy steps for a successful formative assessment strategy with Study Island.

Step One: Assess Knowledge with a Practice Assignment

After you’ve taught the core instruction of a specific topic or standard to your class, it’s time to dive into the first step of this three-step approach: assess what students know. While there are a few different ways to formatively assess students within the program, today, we’re going to be focusing on practice assignments because of their seamless interaction with Sensei, Study Island’s personal interactive data dashboard—but more to come on that in step two.

Building a practice assignment within Study Island enables you to assess on either the topic you’re covering or a single academic standard that you may be focusing on that week. Because the practice content in Study Island is already built to globally aligned standards, you can feel confident that students are being assessed on their knowledge accurately and effectively. Additionally, practice assignments make the process quick and easy with a fixed and randomized (to cut down on any cheating) 10-question session.

Step Two: Measure and Review Success with Sensei

Now that you’ve assessed your students, it’s time to see who is meeting grade-level expectations and who needs additional support. Remember that interactive data dashboard, Sensei, mentioned earlier? Here’s where this feature in the program gets to shine.

Because practice assignments directly feed all their data into Sensei, measuring and reviewing your students’ results for the topic or academic standard they’re being assessed on is a breeze. With its color-coded graphics, visual cues, and intuitive charts, educators get an in-depth look at how their students performed, which is easy to interpret and simple to turn into a plan of action. It also works as a live view, meaning that you can see student scores as they come in, saving you precious time. By reviewing the trusted data within Sensei, educators can determine which students are ready to move on and which need more practice and then assign more practice right from the dashboard to the students who need it.

Step Three: Reassess with a Group Session or Built Test

In the final step of our tried-and-true formative assessment strategy, it’s time to reassess your students’ understanding. After reteaching the topic or academic standard to the students who needed it—which could be in small groups, through extra practice in Study Island, or even a whole-class review—teachers can create a Group Session or a Built Test to easily reassess which students are mastering the topic or standard. Reassessing after reteaching is a critical step, as it gives educators the confidence that their students are prepared to ace their graded assessments, whether it’s a smaller end-of-unit exam or end-of-year exams.

Using Group Sessions and Built Tests within Study Island to reassess your students allows teachers to relax with the knowledge that each of the questions used is built to globally aligned standards and can be put together quickly—keeping things accurate and efficient. Not sure how to decide which feature to use to complete that final checkpoint with your students? You can do so both ahead of time and with a moments notice.

Though having a solid formative assessment instruction is important year-round, it’s especially important to keep in mind as we inch closer to high-stakes testing. Study Island is here to act as your trusted sidekick when it comes to formative assessment, giving you the ability to pinpoint specific gaps and misconceptions in your students’ learning as you prepare for testing. Even better, it works seamlessly in three simple steps, keeping you from feeling the need to revamp your whole classroom routine.

Are you new to Study Island? Explore how it can be used to boost standards mastery and proficiency.

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