How do we use this great program effectively?
Short answer is to treat it like the Sage test. What!?! Hopefully the iReady experience will not be like the Sage test; we don’t want that. At times this may seem opposite of what you might think an intervention tool should look like. I mean we are supposed to be helping right? However, in our effort to help a student through a frustration by working a problem with them, we may disturb the diagnostic value of the program. We need the diagnostic to know where to target our interventions. This summer I went to a training at Layton High on iReady, and one of the STEM Coordinators in the state (Clarence) said, “…schools who used iReady effectively saw an average of 38% increase in proficiency on their Sage Math scores.” As he kept on chatting with us, he repeated using iReady effectively several times. He emphasized the word EFFECTIVELY each time. So I took the bait, and asked him, “What does EFFECTIVE use of iReady look like?” He was glad I asked. Here is a summary of how he explained EFFECTIVE use:
1) Help should not be given while the students are logged on and working on lessons or diagnostics. We can give students the help they need after iReady lets us know what skill gaps the student has. If we step in and help a student work a problem, then the diagnostic value of iReady is unreliable. What iReady gets, is what you know, not what the student knows. Give them the support and encouragement they need to continue. You can prompt them to think of tools they might have to solve the problem, but try not to do the problem for them. Let them know it is okay if they don’t know everything they are asked to do. We are just trying to figure out which skills they may need support with. Above all keep things positive. If you see a student getting frustrated, support them to move on, make a note of it and do an intervention when time permits.
2) We can use iReady to set up effective interventions. In your iReady training, you learned iReady will flag a student who has not mastered a lesson (skill) after two attempts. This is where the intervention should occur. This is how to use it EFFECTIVELY: The teacher and or a math assistant steps in based on the iReady diagnostic. An intervention is set to work on that specific skill with a student, or small group of students who have not mastered the skill.
They key to Effective use is to identify the problem skill for the students, and then work together with the classroom teacher to do a face to face intervention with the student. This is a great opportunity for us to pull together and really fill the skill gaps. Use your Math T.A. to help you fill these skill gaps. They are trained and ready to go.