Within the Common Core (California State Standards), there are six standards, three of which are directly addressed through NoRedInk, that demand proficiency in language usage. While these three standards are integral to our curriculum, they can be difficult to assess in isolation, especially for students with a wide range of exposure and proficiency in each.
L1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
L2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
L3: Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
(National Governors, 2010)
Further, the cornerstone of ELA curriculum is writing. Six of ten California State Standards directly identify a need for a program like NoRedInk.
W1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
C. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
D. Establish and maintain formal style.
W2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
C. Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
D. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
E. Establish and maintain formal style.
W3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive, details, and well-structured event sequences.
C. Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence, signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another, and show the relationships among experiences and events.
D. Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.
W4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W5: With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
W10: Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames.
(National Governors, 2010)
District-wide, the ELA team has been working to ensure effective instruction in every classroom and move toward establishing a guaranteed and viable curriculum. A large part of the work this year that has helped us to do this has been identifying priority standards and developing proficiency scales to address those standards. The language standard identified above are difficult to assess using proficiency scales outside of writing that contextualizes the skills. This said, a formative tool to support students in developing proficiency in these skills would be invaluable particularly in the ways in which the learning done could be leveraged into assessable writing. Further, using NoRedInk, “Teachers can track student progress on state and national standards and topics assessed by the SAT, and ACT” (NoRedInk, 2018).
NoRedInk has been a part of a number of studies assessing its impact on student achievement. In partnership with WestEd, NoRedInk was run as a trial to assess its effectiveness as measured by NWEA MAP tests; “NWEA uses anonymous assessment data from over 10.2 million students to create national norms” (NWEA, 2018).
The findings (available in full, here) of the NoRedInk trial were impressive: “Every 10 topics mastered on NoRedInk correlated to achieving 20% of expected annual growth on the MAP Language Usage test” (Matlen, Huang & Zhu, 2017). Further, “37% of students grew by 200% of expected annual growth or more” (Matlen, Huang, & Zhu, 2017). Performance on the NWEA Map tests directly correlates to performance on SBAC exams.
While no product should be assumed to be a “silver bullet,” it is clear that adaptable technology allows students access to differentiated learning experiences that are specifically tailored, in real time, to their needs. Within the English departments at the middle and high school levels in TTUSD, there is no current adoption of any adaptive technology for students to use and benefit in this way. Immediate feedback, as Hattie (2009) describes it, encourages students to achieve and want to move to the next level; Hattie (2009) makes a connection between real-time feedback and video games--the learning becomes engrossing and engaging and the “player” aims to become more proficient. Students are offered intervention and reteaching at their current level of need until they are able to demonstrate proficiency and advance in their learning. These benchmarks of success also correlate directly to state and national standards as well as the SAT and ACT. Teachers with access to this program can sort through “50+ learning paths spanning 500+ topics in grades 4-12” (NoRedInk, 2018) in order to specifically tailor instruction to prepare students for their tasks ahead (either in-class assessments or state and national assessments).
Currently, NoRedInk is used at North Tahoe High School by their English department. This tool would be a valuable asset for every ELA teacher and student in an English course in TTUSD. We are currently requesting funding for the program at North Tahoe School, and would like consideration of funding for both North Tahoe School and Alder Creek Middle School. If this grant is offered to North Tahoe School, it will impact four teachers and roughly 440 students. If this grant is offered to both middle schools, it will impact fifteen teachers and roughly 980 students.
Hattie, John. (2009). Visible learning: a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York, NY: Routledge.
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). California Common Core state standards. Washington DC: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2gA0bAH
(2018, January). NoRedInk Premium Features. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2nPfKbS
Matlen, B., Huang, M., & Zhu, N. (2017). Correlation between NoRedInk performance and achievement on the MAP language usage assessment. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2sitjFB