Classroom teachers generally serve as those in a school community who “systematically collect and analyze student achievement data, interpret results, and communicate findings to improve instructional practice and maximize student learning” (International Society for Technology in Education, 2011). In my role as school librarian, I was surprised to find how much I could be involved in the assessment process.
My school recently launched STAR360 assessments, a “comprehensive K-12 assessment [tool, that allows teachers] to screen and group students for targeted instruction, measure student growth, predict performance on Smarter Balanced exams, and monitor achievement on Common Core State Standards” (Renaissance Learning, 2016). Along with my job as school librarian, I also serve as one of my school’s technology integration specialists and have been heavily involved in facilitating the STAR360 testing. My primary responsibilities include:
- Downloading the STAR360 app on classroom iPads
- Ensure the STAR360 app is updated regularly
- Connect with Renaissance Learning to obtain RPID (Renaissance Place Identification) information
- Set up individual accounts for each student
- Link student accounts to classroom teachers
- Create and monitor testing calendar so iPads are available for each grade
- Teach students how to enter their login information on testing day(s)
- Oversee classes during testing periods and troubleshoot issues that may arise
While I generally would not be involved in interpreting the results of standardized tests, I had the opportunity to a mentor a teacher who was working on her ProTeach Portfolio. The ProTeach Portfolio is an “evidence-based assessment designed for teachers seeking the Washington professional certificate. It evaluates teachers on their ability to impact student learning [by looking at practices in] effective teaching, professional development and professional contributions” (Washington Professional Educator Standards Board, 2015). Using data collected through the STAR360 assessments, my collaborating teacher and I were able to discuss ways to incorporate differentiation in an informed way, targeting specific students and their individual needs. We were then able to look at growth reports through STAR360 and determine if those changes in instructional practice were proving effective.
One surprising bonus that came out of my mentorship work with my collaborating teacher is that I was able to make more informed book suggestions to my students during their library time. By examining their results on the STAR360 assessments, I had a better understanding of “just right” books. I was also able to offer them an array of “just right” books at their level, as well as easy books for building confidence and relaxed reading, and challenge books that would push them. This simple bit of data helped me to “improve instructional practice and maximize student learning” (International Society for Technology in Education, 2011).
Renaissance Learning. (2016). Star assessments. Retrieved May 19, 2016, from http://www.renaissance.com/products/star-assessments/star-360
Washington Professional Educator Standards Board. (2015). Washington proteach portfolio. Retrieved
May 19, 2016, from http://www.waproteach.com/