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DC Prep Analyzes Literacy Software and Teacher Observation Program

Students at DC Prep, an elementary school in the nation's capital, benefit more from reading and typing skills software when they use it consistently, repeat levels until they achieve a high score and follow the recommended flow of the software, according to data analysis conducted by Applied Predictive Technologies (APT).

DC Prep partnered with APT to analyze the effectiveness of two of the school's educational software programs, as well as its teacher observation program. APT also built a custom software application to help the school manage its teacher observation program.

APT analyzed Raz-Kids and Typing Club software, both of which the school implemented recently. "Raz-Kids is designed to improve reading comprehension by allowing students to listen and read along to books, and Typing Club helps students learn to type more effectively," according to information from the company.

APT's analysis of Raz-Kids found that first and second grade students benefitted most from the software, and that reading a larger number of books resulted in greater reading skills improvement than rereading fewer books repeatedly. The analysis also found that second graders who followed the recommended sequence of listening to the book first and then reading it independently before taking the quiz had the biggest improvement in reading skills.

APT's analysis of Typing Club found that students had two distinct approaches to using the software: Some tried to progress through the levels as quickly as possible, and others didn't move on to a higher level until they had achieved a high score on the previous one. Students using the second approach were more likely to master typing skills, according to APT's analysis.

APT also analyzed the school's teacher observation program and determined which criteria were correlated with student improvement. APT recommended that the school should "use this type of analysis over time to prioritize teacher training in the appropriate areas for each grade level," and use the factors to create a model for identifying at-risk classrooms.

The company also built a software application to help the school make use of its teacher observation data, track which teachers are due for observation and aggregate evaluation scores by school. "The application also tracks teacher scores over time and can benchmark scores against the 'Teacher Index' to show how each faculty member is performing relative to other teachers at DC Prep," according to information from APT.

DC Prep is a network of private charter schools serving 1,200 students in preschool through grade eight at four campuses in Wards 5 and 7 of Washington, DC.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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