The power of formative assessment

By Shannan Statz, Product Marketing Manager
 
Change is sweeping K-12 assessment. Many teachers are evaluated against summative test outcomes. Students are expected to step up to the higher bar of Common Core and state standards. Districts are taking ownership of assessment tools, striving to scaffold teacher success with standardization. The Consortia are expanding the use of technology-enhanced items into high-stakes testing. Digital is supplanting physical.

In the midst of all this change, teachers are making heroic efforts to keep their eyes fixed on their primary mission: educating students. That’s the true measure of an assessment’s value: what insights does it provide to improve instruction? How does the data help educators to improve student outcomes? How does it enhance teacher effectiveness?

Research shows that assessment literacy and the effective use of formative assessment has the highest correlation to teacher effectiveness. Surprised?

For years, formative and summative assessment lived in silos, but districts are looking to move from diagnostic to prescriptive, from judgment to action-ability. DACs and SACs want to transcend simple measurement, using formative assessment to actually drive growth.

Renaissance’s Star Assessments have kept pace with the need for universal screening, progress monitoring, and growth measurement. And today we are taking a big step forward with the introduction of Renaissance Star Custom®.

Star Custom is a completely new way to do formative assessment. It’s built right into Star and allows educators to probe for mastery of targeted skills within math, English language arts, and science. Star Custom includes an enormous bank of tools that make it easier to craft fixed-form assessments. Educators can now pinpoint mastery of individual standards and assess specific skills.

This is a major extension of Star, and it is truly helping to bridge the actionable insights of Star to specific CCSS, State Standards, and learning progression skills.

Here’s how it works:

First, Star guides a probe for specific standards and skills based on Star scores and the Core Progress learning progression. Educators are then able to select CCSS-aligned items from an enormous bank of options, and can seamlessly assign the newly created tests to the appropriate students. Then Star Custom immediately delivers insight into depth of mastery via in-depth skills-specific reports.

To quote Gene Kerns, Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Renaissance, “Formative assessment post-CCSS is much the same as pre-CCSS.” However, if testing to teach is a time-tested tool, the Common Core means all forms of formative assessment must be aligned to a standards-based curriculum. That’s why Core Progress is central to Star Custom. Teachers will find and build assessments using the new Core Progress Navigator, and item authors can associate their work to skills and standards via the Navigator.

Core Progress is a sturdy researched-based bridge between Star Assessments and Star Custom, enabling teachers to employ Renaissance’s full spectrum of formative tools as a psychometrically integrated suite.

Over the coming months, the new Star Custom will make its way into K12 classrooms across the country, bringing the power of a single, indispensable formative assessment tool to educators nationwide. We’re extremely proud of Star Custom, because it has the potential to improve educator effectiveness and student outcomes like never before.

As always, thank you for all you do to keep the focus on educating our students.

Curious to learn more? Explore Renaissance Star 360® and importance of Star Custom.

Shannan Statz, Product Marketing Manager

Shannan Statz holds master’s degrees in educational leadership and counseling. Prior to joining Renaissance, she spent six years as a director of curriculum and instruction and elementary school principal.

Shannan Statz, Product Marketing Manager
Shannan Statz, Product Marketing Manager
Shannan Statz holds master’s degrees in educational leadership and counseling. Prior to joining Renaissance, she spent six years as a director of curriculum and instruction and elementary school principal.

19 Comments

  1. Barbara Moriearty says:

    Will RenLearn be offering any seminars on the new STAR Custom?

    • Shannan Statz says:

      Yes. In fact Renaissance will be hosting several online webinars to explore STAR Custom. Information for registration should be posted soon. Thank you. ~Shannan

  2. Melissa says:

    I am very interested in this webinar and what STAR may now be offering. However, I will be unable to attend the webinar. Will there be a way I could later access the webinar or information or preview STAR Custom?

    • Shannan Statz says:

      Absolutely. If you signed up for the webinar and we unable to attend you should have received an email with a link to the recording. If you did not receive that, simply contant our customer service via telephone or use the ‘Live Chat’ in Renaissance Place and request information to view the recording of the Formative Assessment Webinar from 4/30/2014. Thanks so much, Shannan

  3. Anne Loftus says:

    The STAR assessment seems unfair to the kids. When the test keeps changing and getting harder it is discouraging when the children’s scores drop. It seems that the test is comparing apples and oranges. How do children see the progress that way?

    • Shannan Statz says:

      Anne, thank you for reading my blog and for posting your reflection and question. Regarding the reflection and questions, when I was a school administrator I did not realize Renaissance had all these ready-to-use resources for teachers. All you have to do is ask for them. The “R” numbers I have listed are expanded resources you may request if you would like.
      When you write that the test keeps changing, I think you are comparing STAR psychometric assessments to fixed form tests? The STAR adaptive assessments use Item Response Theory (R14807). It is possible for a student’s score to drop as part of regression to the mean (R13556). Finally, Core Progress™ is an excellent tool to use when discussing learning progression with students (R57117). In addition Core Progress has a variety of resources to support you with instruction in the classroom.
      I would encourage you, or anyone who reads this and wants to learn, to ask our Customer Assistance (answers@renlearn.com) agents to answer your questions. I hope this helps and that you feel confident in using STAR in your classroom. Please use Renaissance Learning’s resources if you have unanswered questions and don’t hesitate to reach out. You may also dial (800) 338-4204 or use the “Live Chat” feature when you are logged in to Renaissance Place. I truly want you to be empowered to accelerate learning for children in your classroom. Sincerely, Shannan

  4. Cyndi Thompson says:

    Could you send me more info on STAAR and TEKS based curriculum with Renaissance? Thanks, Cyndi

  5. Sandi Jarvis says:

    Shannon, this sounds like a great webinar; however, I have a prior commitment and will be at a Migrant Mtg. in Madison on the 30th.

    If this is taped or if you will be offering this webinar or future webinars again, please keep emailing me! Your picture looks great! It appears that this job is just right for you! Best to you and we look forward to moving forward with STAR Enterprise this summer.
    Sandi

    • Shannan Statz says:

      Thanks so much Sandi. The Webinar is available as a recording that will be emailed to you. Thanks for all your leadership in your district. ~Shannan

  6. Erica Merrick says:

    Hello I am a Principal in St. John Parish . OUr district uses REnaissance however with so many recent changes I feel a bit out of the loop and would like to join blog, attend webinar and learn how to help my teachers use data from Renaissance to guide instruction.

    • Shannan Statz says:

      Hello Erica and thank you. I think a terrific idea would be for me to host a June and July event series on all the “need-to-know” of our STAR products for administrators and interested teachers. I realize May is probably a chaotic month to add to the educator’s plate, but will work with our Marketing Department to get a summer series set-up. Thanks so much for sharing and prompting such a great idea that meets our mission to accelerate learning for all!

  7. Anne Wechsler says:

    Will this webinar be available to watch on-demand afterwards? I am unable to participate at that time, but I am very interested in the content.

    • Shannan Statz says:

      If you signed up for the webinar and were unable to attend you should have received an email with a link to the recording. If you did not receive that, simply contact our customer service via telephone or use the ‘Live Chat’ in Renaissance Place and request information to view the recording of the Formative Assessment Webinar from 4/30/2014. Thanks so much, Shannan

  8. Deana says:

    Will this webinar be available to watch on-demand afterwards? I am unable to attend, because I will be teaching at the time of the webinar, but I am very interested in the content.

  9. Tammy Richardson says:

    I am very interested in this webinar, but I have students in class at that particular time. Will there be a way to watch it after it shows at 1:00?

    • Shannan Statz says:

      If you signed up for the webinar and were unable to attend you should have received an email with a link to the recording. If you did not receive that, simply contact our customer service via telephone or use the ‘Live Chat’ in Renaissance Place and request information to view the recording of the Formative Assessment Webinar from 4/30/2014. Thanks so much, Shannan

  10. Shannan Statz, Product Marketing Manager Shannan Statz says:

    Thank you all for your comments. For those that registered for tomorrow’s webinar an email will be sent after the session with a link to a recording which will include the slides. To learn more about STAR Custom, please visit the website: https://www.renaissance.com/events#webinars. Demos of the product will be available in the near future. Please keep your questions and comments coming—we enjoy your feedback.

  11. Carol Naylor says:

    Webinars are great but for most of us they are held during the day when we are teaching our students. I don’t know about other districts but i know mine won’t pay a sub so I can take part 🙁

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