Acuity, Student Diagnostic Testing, and Teacher Time To Refocus Instruction

Teach it Differently

A district is using the Acuity program to assess its students at various grades levels on Math and ELA. (The same company that makes the state benchmarks produces this program-just a coincidence, I’m sure 🙂 )

If the school district uses this program three times a year, they can get valuable information on the progress of each student. My concern is that the teachers will have insufficient time to analyze the results and refocus instruction. If teachers do not have plenty of time to figure out how to do “remediation” or “re-teaching”, then the Acuity program serves no purpose.

I was involved in a program in which our Spanish students were tested every 6 weeks on the 40 most important objectives for the course. An hour or even a half day of release time was not enough time to digest the feedback on the students’ progress and to refocus instruction. Often we would see major gaps between what we thought we taught and what the students actually learned. A day was not even enough to figure out different ways of presenting the learning so students could be successful. Reteaching by speaking slowly and speaking loudly with the same material was not going to result in better student learning. Having students just do more problems will not help them unless they have learned a new strategy.

I advocate that any school district using Acuity or any similar tool gives those teachers at least two days after the results are available each testing time. For example, all ELA teachers of the same grade level will have the same two days to analyze the results, to share successes, and to plan for how to re-teach. If Acuity were administered three times, they would have a total of six days.

So how many teacher refocusing days have your built into your Acuity program? Or are you just having students do more problems that they still do not understand?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


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