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Assessment | News

Minnesota District To Use Academic ROI System

A Minnesota district has adopted a new system for managing the student assessment process and improving how teachers gain access to the results. School District 197, which serves West St. Paul, Mendota Heights and Eagan, will be using the Performance Matters assessment and data management system (ADMS). As part of that deployment, the district will also adopt Unify, a new "social assessment" platform that lets educators develop, administer and share assessments collaboratively.

The company's flagship application includes several modules. The testing module allows teachers to build tests from their own item banks or from a third-party item bank; issue the tests to students on paper, online or through clickers or camera; and enter results into a data warehouse. That database feeds reports and dashboards to provide assessment information for a student, a class, school or district.

The Minnesota district chose ADMS as an analytics tool to support the collection and reporting of student assessment data to assist with calculating "academic return on investment (AROI)," across the district. AROI is a process in which a given program's cost is compared to results.

"We didn't have a classroom assessment tool that was used district-wide, and therefore no way to accurately view data from a district perspective," said Cari Jo Kiffmeyer, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. "We needed a system that would allow us to conduct a standards-based, item analysis for our classroom assessments, and then compare that data to our district and state assessments. We also wanted to develop technology-enhanced items for our assessments. Unlike other systems we reviewed, Performance Matters allowed us to do all these things in one assessment and data management system."

She added that Performance Matters would "allow teachers and administrators to easily do their own data analysis instead of having to ask someone to create a report."

Initially this fall teachers in grades six through nine will use the platform in mathematics. They'll expand to analysis of classroom assessment data, followed by district and state data. The district-wide rollout is expected in 2015.

Performance Matters products are used at East Windsor Regional Schools in New Jersey, the School District of Palm Beach County and Calvert County Public Schools in Maryland, among others.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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