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Georgia District Adopts Assessment Software To Manage Learning Objectives

A district in Georgia is adopting a new set of applications to help it stay on top of assessments the state now requires to monitor student learning outcomes and teacher and administrator effectiveness. Bibb County School District will be working with software from Performance Matters to manage all assessment data. The 41-school district will be using the company's FASTe, the Formative Action System for Teacher Effectiveness, and the Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) Module, which allows teachers and students to create learning plans for each person with assessments and targets. The district refers to SLOs as "GLOs," Growth Learning Objectives.

The adoption of the program comes at a time when the state is implementing the Georgia Student Growth Model, a program for giving schools access to data for performing student-level diagnostics and improving teaching. The new model will also work with a new accountability platform for "educational stakeholders," the College and Career Readiness Performance Index.

"As one of the original 26 Race to the Top districts in Georgia, we had to implement GLOs last year," said Jo-ne Bourassa, the district's coordinator of school improvement in science. "We created 52 GLOs and gave the pre- and post-assessments for each GLO via paper and pencil, which took a great deal of time to administer and even more time to grade. We then managed all the data — from collecting it to applying the GLO growth formulas to disaggregating the data — by hand using an Excel spreadsheet."

Now the district has created 115 GLO assessments, which are going to be managed with the Performance Matters tools. Schools will test students via plain paper scanning and online testing and the results will be made available through the software. With the tool's automatic calculations, teachers will be able to see how each student does against his or her individual GLO and view the overall percentage of students achieving the targets by class or course.

Given that information, added Bourassa, "our teachers will now be able to easily see the baseline assessment results and growth targets for every one of their students. This will allow them to measure students' progress toward the growth target, so they can determine what students need and which standards they need to focus on to reach that target."

Teachers are expected to receive professional training in the new software during the 2013-2014 school year.

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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