New Research from Curriculum Associates: Student Achievement Shows Concerns and Bright Spots in Recovery—More Students Are Behind in Phonics but Some Schools Are Exceeding Expectations

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. — While more students are falling behind in foundational reading skills, some schools buck the trend with positive practice in the pandemic’s wake, according to new research released by Curriculum Associates today. 

The first report, The State of Student Learning in  2022, analyzes reading and mathematics data gathered from nearly two million Grades 1–8 students during the 2021–2022 school year via the edtech company’s i-Ready Assessment tool. In a second report, Keys to Unlocking Success, Curriculum Associates identified 301 schools across the country at which students are exceeding learning expectations and conducted research to understand how school leaders are ushering their students and schools toward recovery.  

“We’re beginning the third full academic year since the pandemic began, and many school communities are still grappling with the impact of the massive 2020 disruptions,” said Dr. Kristen Huff, vice president of assessment and research at Curriculum Associates. “The question is no longer if or howthe pandemic affected student learning, it is if and how it can recover. It is critical to grow our understanding of what measurable shifts have occurred in student learning as we have more distance from 2020 and more investment in recovery efforts.” …Read More

Discovery Education and Illumina Corporate Foundation Present a New Virtual Field Trip for Students to Explore the Power of DNA

Charlotte, NC Discovery Education and The Illumina Corporate Foundation today announced a new virtual experience – Genomics: Decoding the Language of Life Virtual Field Trip – to immerse students in grades 6-12 in the power of DNA. Presented by the Illumina Corporate Foundation and Discovery Education, this virtual field trip is part of DNA Decoded, a program designed to inspire students to unlock the power of genomics with ready-to-go, standards-aligned lessons and activities.  

Premiering September 15th at 1 PM ET and available on-demand, this virtual learning experience transports students to the Illumina labs in San Diego, CA to meet real-world experts harnessing the power of the genome to improve lives and support the conservation of the Earth’s natural resources. During the Genomics: Decoding the Language of Life Virtual Field Trip, students will explore the cutting-edge genome sequencing technology that is being used to revolutionize everything from medicine to agriculture to sustainability and much more. Learn more and register here

“DNA has not only the potential to transform life, but it can also inspire students to pursue careers in STEM,” said Sharon Vidal, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. “At Illumina, we are dedicated to fostering opportunities for students in the world of genetic science and to expanding future possibilities for the next generation by putting genomics into action.”   …Read More

3 reasons literacy is essential in child development

Literacy is a fundamental element of a child’s development. Literacy means much more than just knowing how to read a book. It can also impact the ability for a child to learn other subjects, to understand road signs when driving or crossing the street, and can be a major contributor to a child living a fulfilling life into adulthood.

Despite its importance, two out of every 10 children enter kindergarten with skills two to three years lower than their grade level, and another two start school with a one-year disadvantage, according to the Children’s Reading Foundation. Students who are behind typically make only one year’s worth of progress at each grade level, keeping them behind their classmates throughout school and making them more likely to repeat grades, according to ProLiteracy.org.

Today, literacy is evolving into much more than the ability to read the newspaper or the latest bestseller. It is linked to things like graduation rates, socio-economic status, and even the development of social-emotional skills like empathy. …Read More

Education Arm of The Buck Institute – PBLWorks – Receives a $2.9 Million Grant from the Bezos Family Foundation

Novato, California – The Buck Institute for Education (dba PBLWorks) was awarded a $2.9 million grant from the Bezos Family Foundation to design an innovative social studies and civics curriculum that uses a Project Based Learning (PBL) model. The new PBL units are being designed for teachers of grades 4-12 and will be available free as Open Educational Resources (OER). 

The curriculum units are being designed with teachers in Colorado and California, in collaboration with experts in culturally-responsive teaching, and with a curriculum design team at the Buck Institute for Education (BIE).

The project draws on recent studies published and supported by Lucas Education Research (LER), a subdivision of the George Lucas Education Foundation (GLEF), which underscore the impact that PBL, professional development, and high-quality instructional materials can have on student outcomes across grade levels, racial/ethnic groups, and socioeconomic groups.…Read More

Kentucky Department of Education Approves Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready® Assessment for Grades K–3 as a Universal Screener for Early Literacy

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass.—The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) recently named Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Assessment for Reading as an approved universal screener for early literacy. Now, districts across the state can use data from the online program as part of a multi-tiered system of supports for students in Grades K–3 as outlined by the state’s Read to Succeed Act. Today, i-Ready serves more than 11 million students and approximately one-third of all students in Grades K–8 in the United States, including more than 80,000 students across Kentucky.

“Early screening is the first step to helping young learners on their path to reading success,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “The data from our i-Ready Assessment will help Kentucky educators understand where students are in their reading and develop a reading improvement plan, if needed, to help students meet reading goals.”

As part of the Read to Succeed Act, all superintendents in the state must select at least one universal reading screener to administer to all students in Grades K–3 by January 1, 2023. Superintendents can choose from the approved list of screeners, all of which underwent a rigorous review by the KDE. KDE’s approval process, which is guided by the National Center on Intensive Intervention at American Institutes for Research’s Screening Tools Chart Rating System and the Institute for Education Sciences, examined measures for classification accuracy, reliability, validity, and representative sample.…Read More

One district’s push to help students feel like they belong

Bullying is prevalent in high schools and can lead to a lack of a sense of belonging. According to a new study, 51 percent of high school students say they have witnessed bullying at their school. When it comes to reporting, just under half (49 percent) say they would be comfortable talking to a teacher about bullying they witnessed, while just 34 percent would be comfortable if they were the ones being bullied.  

Iowa City Community School District, which serves over 14,000 students in grades K-12, uses Qualtrics to make it easier for students to communicate their concerns about bullying, sexual assault or harassment, discrimination and school safety to administrators. Students can scan QR codes on posters prominently displayed in bathrooms, cafeterias and hallways to report what they have witnessed or experienced, anonymously or not. Students can even upload videos, pictures or screenshots to help identify the problem.  

The “Say Something” campaign has resulted in more than 300 reports, triggering automatic emails to principals and select administrators, who have then taken quick action to protect students in cases of bullying, sexual harassment, hazing and more.  …Read More

Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready® Assessment Named to the Georgia Department of Education Approved List of Gifted Identification Screeners

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., August18, 2022—The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has added Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Assessment for Grades K–12 to its approved list of Gifted EducationAssessment Measuresto identify students’ eligibility for gifted education programs in the achievement domain. With this approval, districts throughout the state can now use their existing reading and mathematics data from the i-Ready Assessment as a source of evidence to support a referral for gifted education programs. The i-Ready normative scores can be used to determine if students meet the criteria in the achievement category of the evaluation and eligibility process, eliminating the need for a separate achievement assessment.

“The i-Ready Assessment data is powerful in helping teachers identify students’ strengths and needs so they can provide more personalized instruction,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “The Georgia Department of Education’s approval of i-Ready to support gifted identification will help districts throughout the state save valuable time and resources by eliminating the need for another achievement assessment. A more efficient screening process will also help schools connect students more quickly with services that help them reach their full potential.”

The GaDOE gifted education screening process requires information be gathered about a student in four categories: mental ability, achievement, creativity, and motivation. In order to be eligible to receive gifted programming, students must qualify in three of the four categories, or they must have a qualifying score in both the mental ability and achievement categories. i-Ready data is used in the achievement category.…Read More

West Ada School District Approves Seven-Year Adoption of i-Ready® Classroom Mathematics as Its Core Math Curriculum

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. (July 13, 2022) — West Ada School District in Meridian, Idaho has adopted Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Classroom Mathematics as the primary math curriculum support material for Grades K–5 for the next seven years. Starting in the 2022–2023 school year, more than 800 teachers will use the discourse-driven, standards-aligned i-Ready Classroom Mathematics curriculum to help approximately 17,500 students throughout the state’s largest district become independent mathematical thinkers.

“Using academic data, West Ada has identified math as a primary focus for improvement in our continuous improvement plan,” said Dustin Barrett, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction. “Through our partnership with Curriculum Associates, we are optimistic that the robust nature of the
i-Ready Classroom Mathematics materials, applied in a guaranteed and viable manner for [Grades] K–5, will provide West Ada the ability to improve student math proficiency. The i-Ready Classroom Mathematics materials will allow West Ada to teach, assess, and intervene utilizing easily accessible and actionable real-time data to best support student learning.”

i-Ready Classroom Mathematics will be used alongside the online i-Ready Personalized Instruction and i-Ready Assessment programs, which have already been implemented by the district, to provide teachers with a comprehensive and aligned solution for supporting math achievement. i-Ready Classroom Mathematics was reviewed and chosen by a district adoption committee composed of educators, parents, and community members as part of the selection process.…Read More