Wowzers partnered with NWEA to meet students where they are and determine where they need to go. Student needs are identified and paired with engaging content to teach students “what they need to know when they need to know it.” NWEA MAP Growth RIT scores are imported to the Wowzers’ K-8 standards-based content. This new feature automatically builds a personalized curriculum for each student based on their MAP Growth test results. It examines goal-level RIT scores and NWEA norms to assign “just the right” Wowzers content. Since each path is individualized, it can include content from multiple grade levels to perfectly suit the student.
Teacher and administrator response to this new feature has been overwhelmingly positive.
The NWEA paths were instant! Literally one click of a mouse and I had real and true personalized learning for every one of my students. Students love the immediate feedback that Wowzers gives. But it’s more than that–students get nudges and reteaching to help with understanding the math.
However, the ease of use of this new feature is only part of how we judge its success. To truly consider it successful, we needed to test whether students who use their custom Wowzers curriculum perform better on their next MAP Growth test. To check whether this is true, 12 schools and 96 classrooms during the 2017-2018 school year participated in a pilot study.
To analyze the results, we collected each student’s MAP Growth RIT scores (taken approximately 3 months apart) and the time spent in Wowzers between the two tests. The students in this study varied from Kindergarten through 8th grade.
Analysis of the data uncovered that:
- Students who used Wowzers from 2 – 3.99 hours between subsequent tests increased their effective grade level on average by 16.9%.
- Students who used Wowzers from 4 – 6.99 hours between subsequent tests increased their effective grade level on average by 20.9%.
- Students who used Wowzers from 7 – 11.99 hours between subsequent tests increased their effective grade level on average by 21.1%.
- Students who used Wowzers from 12 – 14.99 hours between subsequent tests increased their effective grade level on average by 24.8%.
- Students who used Wowzers more than 15 hours between subsequent tests increased their effective grade level on average by 26.3%.
In summary, students who used Wowzers more between subsequent MAP Growth tests displayed improvement over their previous MAP Growth RIT score. This suggests that on average, students who use Wowzers’ personalized curriculum (based on previous MAP Growth RIT scores) longer see a greater improvement in subsequent MAP Growth tests. For more information on the schools involved in this study and how we calculated students’ effective grade level, check out our full study summary.
We’ve discussed before on how test prep can give students an advantage. With high-stakes testing season approaching, now is the perfect time to start vetting test prep programs to find a good fit for your classroom. There are several characteristics that the most effective programs have in common.
Practice Taking Real Tests
Many programs include tips and tricks for taking tests, including ways to quickly find the correct answer or maximize their score. However, without the opportunity to actually practice these techniques, students are unlikely to remember them when actually taking the tests. By taking similar tests in advance, students gain familiarity and become more confident in their abilities. This lessens those “pre-test jitters” and helps prevent students from freezing up during the test itself. In any test prep program, check to make sure it includes sample tests, based off of the type of assessment your students will be taking.
Up-to-Date with Current Practices
The world of high-stakes assessments changes quickly, particularly as everything migrates to a digital medium. Check when the test prep program was created and how often it’s updated. Look for one that was created within the past 3-4 years and is updated on a regular basis.
Extended Response Assistance
Some of the most difficult questions for students are often the ones that require them to explain their reasoning or defend their approach. Even students who understand how to find the answer don’t always know how to address the writing portion. These questions are often heavily weighted and any test prep program needs to teach students how to answer these types of questions and provide them with plenty of practice. Bonus points go to programs that also provide teachers with a rubric on how these questions are graded so that they can give their students informed assistance.
One of the most overwhelming parts of prepping students for high-stakes testing is that these assessments often cover material from an entire year. Many programs combat this issue by including a wide variety of topics and lightly touch on each one. Others only cover what they consider the most difficult material. The best test prep programs include a way to customize the material for individual students.
To learn how Wowzers K-8 Online Math program can help students prepare for high-stakes testing, contact our team or try a free trial.
Just talking about “high-stakes testing” raises the stress level of most teachers. The idea of trying to summarize everything a student has learned into a single test is a terrifying proposal, particularly with students who are easily distracted, overwhelmed, or unengaged. Now that most testing programs are done through a computer, this adds a new level of complexity for students who may be unfamiliar with the format. In order to get the most accurate result possible, test prep programs help prepare students for these tests in a few simple ways.
Test prep programs have put a lot of research into the types of questions students will run into on high-stakes tests. By familiarizing students ahead of time with these types of questions, students won’t run into the time-consuming process of learning how to use digital tools and manipulatives during the test itself. By practicing and learning how these tools and questions function ahead of time, students become more confident in their abilities and are able to show what they really know, which is the ultimate goal. Probably the most frustrating part of high-stakes testing is seeing students struggle because although they know the answer, they don’t understand how to input it correctly.
Extended Response Practice
Long-form questions, where students explain their process or defend their answer, is becoming a large part of high-stakes testing. Although students practice basic concepts on a daily basis, the act of writing out their thought process is less common and less practiced. A good test prep program includes a variety of extended response questions, where students can practice transferring their knowledge into logical, sequential text. As an added benefit, this type of practice allows teachers to analyze whether students are truly understanding new concepts, or whether they have simply memorized the necessary steps.
Most high-stakes testing covers content over a long period of time, sometimes even years of learning. Practicing with a test prep program beforehand allows students to review the content and brush up on concepts they might have forgotten in the months since they last used it. By reviewing each student’s scores, it’s possible to revisit this content before the real deal. This type of analysis also highlights whether the classroom as a whole missed an important concept, and what would be beneficial to review.
Rather than leaving students to fend for themselves, creating a stressful environment where they are setup to fail, test prep programs give all students a fair chance to truly demonstrate their knowledge and abilities to the fullest.
To learn how Wowzers K-8 Online Math program can help students prepare for “high-stakes testing,” contact our team or try a free trial.
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