'Learning Loss'

Instructure Intros Assessments to Help Schools Identify Learning Gaps

A December 2020 purchase of Certica Solutions is bearing fruit for learning management company Instructure. The maker of Canvas has announced a new collection of formative assessments specifically intended to help teachers measure "learning loss," built by the curriculum and assessment experts who joined as part of that acquisition. MasteryView Assessments are short, pre-built evaluations for math and English language arts that align with various state learning standards. The assessments can be used with MasteryConnect, an assessment management program produced by a company of the same name also owned by Instructure and integrated with the Canvas LMS.

The assessments are online quizzes and cover math and ELA for grades 3-8. The math versions of the tests cover about 15 "priority" learning standards for each grade. Each assessment has between five and eight questions. The ELA edition focuses on reading comprehension of both informational and literary texts -- about three for each grade. Each ELA assessment includes one or two passages with a short set of questions.

Instructure Intros Assessments to Help Schools Identify Learning Gaps

The assessment content is delivered through MasteryConnect, providing immediate data on student mastery levels, with the goal of helping teachers figure out which students need additional support and which standards need to be retaught.

The assessments are expected to be made available in August 2021 for some grades and states.

According to Instructure, the assessments were created using a psychometric algorithm based on the Diagnostic Classification Model (DCM), to develop "valid, reliable data" on student mastery with fewer questions. The algorithm was developed by Jonathan Templin, a professor in the Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations in the University of Iowa College of Education.

"The combination of more focused assessments and an innovative psychometric model allows teachers to use shorter, standards-based assessments throughout the academic year as a reliable gauge of standards mastery," Templin said in a press release.

"Students, teachers and parents have already experienced enough disruption, so how we approach the evaluation of learning loss in the coming months is critical," added Mitch Benson, chief product officer at Instructure. "That means investing in an approach that teachers can trust, one that doesn't take up significant instructional time, and perhaps most importantly, in a way that directly benefits each student. We designed MasteryView Assessments to meet these needs, and to ensure districts can leverage much-needed stimulus funding to support their efforts."

The company suggested that the assessment solution would fit the criteria for relief funding provided by the federal government to address learning needs during and after the pandemic.

Instructure will be hosting a 30-minute Zoom webinar to introduce the new assessments on April 22, 2021 at 10 a.m. Mountain time.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.