MOBILE, ALA. (Nov. 8, 2006)–Research shows that formative assessment is one of the most effective education interventions in raising student achievement. The Alabama Department of Education has contracted with STI, a leading provider of education data management systems, to provide its web-based formative assessment system to schools in the state that are deemed “in need of improvement” under the No Child Left Behind Act. Following successful use of STI Assessment in other Alabama schools, the Department of Education is offering funding and support to help schools in improvement implement the assessment tool to improve teaching and learning.

“We partnered with STI to provide schools in need of improvement with a valuable tool to assist them in taking corrective measures that will lead to an increase in student achievement and meet AYP requirements,” said Warren Craig Pouncey, assistant superintendent for the Alabama Department of Education. “STI Assessment is an invaluable tool for administering and monitoring ongoing formative assessment, which studies have shown is critical in closing the achievement gap.”

Throughout the state of Alabama, school districts are using the student information system and the special education tracking system from STI. The company’s assessment solution integrates with these two systems to eliminate double data entry and provide more accurate data collection and analysis. Schools in improvement will now have all three systems to facilitate data-driven decision-making.

Schools not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in the same component for two consecutive years are identified for School Improvement. Achieving AYP is not an easy task as NCLB mandates that schools meet all of the established AYP goals, one of which is meeting the annual measurable objectives for grades 3-11 in reading and math.

With STI Assessment, educators will be able to:

1.) develop formative assessments or benchmark tests using the system’s large bank of questions that is tightly correlated to the Alabama Course of Study.

2.) conduct tests online or on paper, and receive immediate results regardless of the testing method.

3.) administer continuous assessments to see where their students are versus where they need to be in terms of their mastery of the standards.

4.) clearly identify areas for improvement to modify instruction to meet student needs.

5.) create a living record of student progress over the span of their academic career.

6.) quickly and easily create meaningful assessment reports of aggregate and disaggregate data to meet local needs and NCLB reporting requirements. The reports can be accessed online by administrators and teachers as well as by parents if the district decides to grant permission.

7.) implement the assessment system district-wide if desired, since the system is scalable to any school level or district size. (Currently the state Department of Education is only funding the system for schools in improvement.)

School improvement specialists will receive training on STI Assessment and share best practices with their peers from other districts. The training will be on-going throughout the year as both STI and the Alabama Department of Education are committed to building lasting capacity within school districts.

Increasing student achievement is not a yearly focus measured on an annual exam, rather it is a daily focus assessed on a continual basis. In a white paper on formative assessment released by STI, researchers found that formative assessment is an effective strategy in providing teachers with evidence of student learning and feedback for instructional modifications or adaptations, and that it must be part of an ongoing, active learning process. STI Assessment provides teachers with the tools to focus on student progress on a continual basis and to help them reach students before they fall far behind.

For more information, visit www.sti-k12.com or phone 800-844-0884.

About STI

STI is a leading provider of Education Data Management solutions to the K-12 market. STI’s fully integrated suite of products addresses attendance, scheduling, special education, assessment, discipline, grade reporting, professional development, fund accounting, health, and parent/teacher communications. More than 6,000 schools in 28 states use STI solutions. The company was founded in 1982 and is headquartered in Mobile, Ala. For more information, phone 800-844-0884 or visit www.sti-k12.com.

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