NDPCenter Evaluation of Measuring Up

Summary of Technical Report from November 2017NPD Center

National Dropout Prevention Center’s evaluation of Measuring Up reveals students experienced substantial academic progress


During the 2016–17 school year, the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network conducted a year-long study of the Measuring Up program and its impact on student outcomes measured by both Measuring Up Live 2.0 – Insight and state-administered assessments. The focus of the evaluation was to determine the effect of both the digital Measuring Up Live 2.0 program and the print Measuring Up Instructional Worktexts on both ELA and Mathematics scores. Two methods were used for this evaluation:

  • quantitative data collection using pre- and post-program assessment scores and
  • qualitative data collection from student and teacher questionnaires and classroom observations.

In all schools, Measuring Up Insight scores were used to measure growth in ELA and Mathematics, and state-administered assessment scores were used to measure growth in Mathematics. The results of this study revealed that the Measuring Up program positively affects learning goals and better prepares students for ELA and Mathematics assessments.
Quantitative Findings

Student scores were collected pre- and post-program to assess gains over the school year. Measuring Up Live 2.0 – Insight scores were gathered for ELA and Mathematics before implementation and near the end of the program usage as a post-assessment. A range of grade levels from 4 through 8 were assessed in ELA and Math at each school.

Report ELA & Math

State-administered Mathematics assessment scores from the previous school year were used as a pre-program benchmark, and then post-program growth was measured using scale scores from the 2016–17 school year.

Satisfaction Surveys

Qualitative Findings

In addition to providing assessment results, evaluation of the program included classroom observations and questionnaires. Overall, both students and teachers were satisfied with their experience using Measuring Up (print and digital) and felt that they were better prepared for tests in ELA and Mathematics. Students indicated that the digital program was easy to use, especially in areas where they struggle with the material, and they appreciated the immediate feedback provided by the program. In open-ended questions, students liked that the program “helps me understand things better” and that it “tells me what I got wrong and gives me a hint, and then I can try again.” One student indicated that Measuring Up is “fun, easy, and helps my ability to do better.”

Increase in Math State Test Scores

Teachers also felt that the program was easy to use and that they would benefit from additional professional development for the program, a service provided by the Measuring Up implementation team. Teachers were appreciative of the print materials when technology was unavailable due to connectivity or bandwidth. The overwhelming majority of teachers agreed that their students were better prepared for assessments because of Measuring Up.
Factors That May Predict Positive Outcomes

Implementation varied significantly from school to school and from classroom to classroom. Teacher training prior to implementation of the program was found to be a significant attribute towards success. All four schools saw gains in student achievement, regardless of implementation and training scenarios. In addition, students tended to prefer the digital version of the program. However, since access to technology in some classrooms was limited, teachers often gravitated to the print materials. The blended solution (print and digital) that Measuring Up offers promotes differentiated instruction and independent practice, and allows for various coaching techniques in the classroom.  As shown by the study, struggling students displayed substantial academic growth, even with differing levels of implementation, participation, and access to technology.  

Complete findings within the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Measuring Up Evaluation Technical Report can be found on our website, www.masteryeducation.com/research.html.

How Curriculum-Based Assessment Improves Education

As public schools are increasingly expected to be accountable for student progress measurements, educators know just how critical it is to perform periodic assessments. Educators can use assessments to measure how well students perform on the curriculum and progress towards standards mastery. Data from assessment results provide educators with valuable knowledge to pinpoint areas in which students need additional work and modify or target curriculum to ensure student success.


Educators employ curriculum-based assessments (CBA) to understand student progress and to differentiate curriculum to student needs. Many educators benefit from the use of measurement tools and tracking resources to leverage CBAs to the advantage of their students and schools.


How CBA Work

Students are expected to master several curriculum objectives over the course of an academic year. CBAs simply allow educators to measure student progress along the way. The technique links instruction with assessment and enables teachers to “specify instructional goals.”


Students learn in a variety of manners (with some exhibiting differing learning styles by subject), so it is important to adapt to students’ needs to ensure their success. CBA evaluations are often performed weekly. They are brief and offer insight into student progress so that teachers can adjust their methodologies and adapt to the students’ needs. Also, providing measurable, real-time, and actionable data is critical to success.


Examples of CBA in Action

According to the National Association of Elementary School Principals, nearly 30 years of empirical evidence show that CBAs are an effective, scientific strategy for improving student performance. However, teachers are often skeptical of CBA techniques, much of which could be due to educators being unsure of how to implement the strategy.


Many examples demonstrate that educators are effective when equipped with curriculum-based measurement (CBM) tools. Special education teacher Candyce Ihnot has been using CBAs in her classroom for 22 years. Although originally skeptical, Ihnot is now an advocate of the strategy because she has the necessary tools. In her experience, CBAs give her the following teaching advantages.


  • They offer evidence of learning progress for students, educators, and parents.
  • They identify specific learning struggles early.
  • They increase efficiency by indicating which instructional strategies are or are not effective.


Mr. Smith, an elementary reading teacher, learned to use CBA evaluations along with typical assessments like unit tests and projects. CBAs, he explains, differ from other forms of testing because they allow him to measure student progress on specific skills. For example, he uses CBAs to track student reading fluency and adapts his instruction to the exact struggles students face with this skill.


Implementing CBA

CBAs are such effective and vital techniques for educators; thus, it is important to provide tools to help effectively implement them. Tools that provide standardized measurements can help educators group students based on support needs or targeted interventions.
In Measuring Up Live 2.0, educators not only have access to assessments written to meet the rigor of their state’s testing but also robust data and reporting. Real-time, actionable reporting helps measure student performance, growth, and standards proficiency. Students even have access to their own reporting dashboards, putting them in control of their success and growth. By providing educators with real-time results, they can prescribe automatic practice within the adaptive practice section of the program, modify their instruction, or target intervention to the skills deficiencies each student needs.


Learn more about how Measuring Up Live 2.0 can help educators effectively implement CBAs today.



Formative Assessment is the Key to Unlocking Student Engagement

For classroom teachers, the following scenario is probably familiar: you spend hours coming up with a lesson that’ll cover what students need to learn and you ask a simple question that is answered only by half-smiles or vacant stares. It can be incredibly challenging for educators to know if students are engaged and grasping the concepts that are taught during instruction. After all, it is one thing for a teacher to teach, but entirely another for students to learn. Even motivated learners may only catch bits and pieces of a lecture-style lesson, not absorbing enough information to apply learning. Educators require multiple avenues for engaging students and making sure that they understand the curriculum. One way to improve instructional planning is to use formative assessment. Today’s busy educators may need support to effectively implement formative assessment or to develop their own formative assessment tools. This is precisely why Mastery Education, the team behind Measuring Up, has developed specific tools to help teachers implement formative assessment with confidence.


There are many effective approaches to teaching, and formative assessment can be incorporated into any instructional model. Formative assessment involves student questioning and the use of data which enables students to collaborate in the instructional process by helping them to discover how they learn best.


According to Brent Duckor and Carrie Holmberg’s work on mastering formative assessment[1], there are 7 vital steps to formative assessment that can help make sure students remain engaged from the beginning to the end of each lesson. The first two steps help to orient students so that they understand the lesson objectives.

  • First, educators must “prime” students with background information to help them make the connections between what they already know and what they are about to learn.
  • Second, educators “pose” related questions that help students make cross-curricular connections.
  • Steps three and four occur during instruction. These steps are
    • “pausing”– allowing ample wait time for student responses to questions, and
    • “probing” – asking deep questions that allow for students to elaborate and make more connections.
  • The final steps are “bouncing”, “tagging”, and “binning” – all three of these tools help teachers to collect data about their classrooms to guide future planning decisions.
    • “Bouncing” involves systematically sampling student responses to gather data.
    • “Tagging” involves recording student responses and providing students with information about their own learning styles and needs.
    • “Binning” involves interpreting collected student data to make decisions about future instruction.

Formative assessment can yield many positive results as students begin to take ownership of their learning and see the classroom as a partnership between student and teacher.


Creating instructional methods that reach students with a wide range of interest and ability can be an immense challenge for educators. Finding efficient and effective tools to raise achievement for all students is critical to success in the classroom. When teachers implement the 7 steps of formative assessment throughout instruction, students become more responsive and interested in lessons. Posing questions that encourage discussion helps students readily apply their knowledge, attain confidence in their skills, and bolster their speaking and listening abilities.


Measuring Up’s instructional and diagnostic solutions provides many of these 7 steps to support educators as they target instruction. Measuring Up print instructional worktexts easily allows the teacher to introduce, review and practice on a targeted standard and include variety of opportunities for informal and formal assessment and engagement. Measuring Up Live, digital component, offers diagnostic and adaptive practice that provides additional tools to measure for learning and support student engagement. To learn more about these resources, visit https://masteryeducation.com.



[1] http://www.ascd.org/Publications/Books/Overview/Mastering-Formative-Assessment-Moves.aspx

Adaptive Learning 101

Every student has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses.


Some student may excel in STEM subjects, while others may love literature and writing.  Yet, think about how the average school day is divided up: 55 minutes for English, 55 minutes for gym, 55 minutes for science, as if every student needs the exact same amount of time and support to grasp each and every subject.


As human beings, we just don’t work that way. Educators know it better than anyone. Their students learn at different speeds. And the variety of skill levels in a classroom make it difficult to personalize learning and reach every student. Often, we see the advanced student bored because they’re not being challenged and the struggling student lost because the content is too difficult or quick-paced.


This linear approach to teaching, giving equal attention to every subject and moving students along at the same pace, is not practical. And it may not be the best way for preparing students to succeed on those rigorous end-of-year assessments.


Adapting in the Classroom with Adaptive Learning


More and more, what students need is an adaptive learning approach—an approach that adapts itself to them, with their individual strengths and weaknesses in mind.


Adaptive learning gives students the opportunity to spend time on those concepts and skills needing additional support and instruction. Adaptive learning tools are often technology-based, using this technology to track student progress and adapt lessons to the skills and content students need. Students move quickly through what comes easily to them, but spend more time on what doesn’t.


Adaptive learning doesn’t just empower students, though. It empowers teachers. With adaptive learning, teachers can meet students at their precise learning level. Scores come back in real-time, while the student is working, which means that a teacher knows—almost immediately—which students are struggling and on what specific concepts and teachers can then remediate or reteach an individual student, small group or the class as a whole.


Adaptive Learning = Success


The insight a teacher gains, thanks to adaptive learning, enables that teacher to offer more individualized help or to modify instruction or explain in greater detail.


Ultimately, adaptive learning means greater student confidence and the potential for stronger performance on state assessments. In fact, according to one recent study, students showed a 27% pass-rate increase, a 9% retention increase, and a 10% increase in final grade average, thanks to adaptive learning usage in their instruction. Another study revealed a nearly 50% increase in students who received an A or a B grade. [1]


Ready to Adapt

As we developed Measuring Up Live 2.0, we took into account the profound importance and the practical challenges of nurturing 21st century skills in the classroom. To improve students’ skills, knowledge, and readiness for assessment, our research-based, adaptive, and differentiated solution provides rigorous content and scaffolded support and puts success into students’ hands. Robust reporting is at the heart of the program, giving educators the tools they need to track all students in their classroom, target instruction, and prescribe practice to meet the skills and standards each student needs, all to support standards mastery and assessment success.


Want to learn more about how you can use the Measuring Up Live 2.0 adaptive learning to improve student assessment? Watch This!


[1] http://acrobatiq.com/what-student-outcomes-say-about-adaptive-learning/

Welcome Back! Checklists Aren’t Just for Students

For students, the back-to-school checklist mainly consists of the standard list of supplies, the requisite instructional materials, and maybe a new backpack. Educators, however, have a much more daunting task to prepare for the year. Not only do they have to round up the supplies they need, but they also must create lessons, prepare the classroom, and put in place a plan for ensuring their students come away from the year with a truly educational experience. It’s a few weeks into school now, but we know how chaotic those first weeks can be. We’ve put together our top three suggestions for any educator looking for ways to set their year up for success.


Let’s Get Personal

It can be easy to become so focused on the needs of your students the first few months of the year, that you forget to take care of yourself. As you design lesson plans and meet with students and parents, take some time to set personal goals. What do you want to achieve this year? Be it career advancement, personal progress, or even just a focus on improved relationships with your peers, construct a list of ways you want to improve yourself over the next year. Giving yourself something to work towards can improve the overall classroom environment in surprising ways.

Maybe try keeping a journal. Noting and reflecting on your ideas and experiences not only allows you to keep track of the ever-mounting tasks at hand during the school year, but it will also give you a chance to see how far you’ve come at the end of the year. Between goal setting and journal keeping, our hope is that these measures help highlight the impact you are making as an educator.


Establish Your Baseline

Most educators have experienced at least one instance in which they worked hard on a lesson plan they loved, only to start over when realizing it was overly ambitious for their students’ skill levels. Using assessments helps educators track their students’ level of knowledge and skills. There are variety of helpful tools geared towards this, all of which have unique approaches. Some teachers may choose to simply have the students conduct a self-assessment, while others may utilize a specific formal assessment (summative, formative, benchmarking, etc.). The key is using whatever tool you have to establish what your students know, where they are in terms of their skill level and to identify a clear path for advancement.

It’s a simple fact that your students are all different in terms of skills and knowledge. There will be some far ahead of the curve while others lag behind. A baseline assessment of your class as a whole will allow you to differentiate your instruction to the needs of your individual students.


Establish Benchmarks

While it is important to have goals for yourself as an educator, it is also essential to work out clearly defined benchmarks and progress points that you want your students to reach throughout the year. These benchmarks may be observational, they may be the result of a running record, they may be formal assessment opportunities throughout the year, or they may be a defined set of test scores and portfolio elements. The important thing is that they are clear with target dates and goals to track student progress towards standards mastery allowing you to modify instruction to meet those goals.


The goal of the Measuring Up suite of digital and print instructional materials is to provide educators with the tools to assess students, target instruction, and provide each student with adaptive practice at their just-right instructional level. With over 25 years of experience and research backing us, we are dedicated to making student assessments simple for educators, with the goal of testing to track true yearly progress. To learn more about the Measuring Up solutions, visit us online today or contact your local sales representative!

5 Ways Educators Are Using Real World Connections to Bridge the Gap Between Concept and Curriculum

As an educator, there might be one question you dread above all others: “But when am I ever going to use this?”

For many students, understanding how classroom curriculum applies to the real world is notoriously difficult. In areas like English and Mathematics, many students fall into the trap of regurgitating information without really comprehending the underlying framework. To successfully understand and apply these concepts, students must be able to think critically about a subject matter area and draw conclusions about its importance and application.

Generating positive results on end-of-year tests is a function of helping students make real-world connections between what they are being taught in the classroom, and how those ideas frequently impact their own life.

Research conducted by famous educator Edward Dale showed that when students are able to apply curriculum to authentic experiences, knowledge retention skyrockets to over 90%.[1] This is 18x more effective than when they simply listen to teachers or watch a lecture.

Mastery Education, the developers of Measuring Up, created new state-specific, print instructional materials, which utilize real-world connections to support knowledge retention. Learning objectives are tied into existing background knowledge, which encourages students to focus on real-world connections and applications. This creates a better opportunity for students to internalize the information.

If you are interested in applying this methodology in your classroom, here are 5 tips that support a real-world connection philosophy.

  1. Legitimate Tools

Students want to know why something is important to learn. Providing tools for students that help them grasp how the fundamental concepts they are learning will be relevant later on is crucial. Integrating technology with subjects like math can engage students and prove the legitimacy of what they are learning.


  1. Culturally Relevant

Students are more likely to retain information if it reflects patterns and statistics they find in their own life. “Research on culturally relevant and responsible instruction clearly shows that knowledge of students’ family, community and socioethnic cultures—their languages, literacy practices, and values—can help teachers address the interests and build on the skills of their students” (p. 254)[2]

  1. A Community Framework

One school with a significant population of ESL students challenged their Spanish class to create a helpful video that would help new students learn more about the school and culture.[3] This project not only challenged students to use correct grammar and learn new words, but it created a context for how learning a new language could help them build lasting relationships.

  1. Current Issues

Using current political and popular issues and news is one way to create a lasting impression with learners. These areas often spark passionate debates that resonate much more than antiquated or abstract examples.

  1. Potential Products

The significant interest in entrepreneurship in the United States has created an opportunity for teachers to show how fundamental concepts can enable innovation. When students are tasked with creating products they care about, they are more likely to see how professions like engineering, business, and finance require a solid education.


These are just a few ways that educators can connect lessons with real-world experiences. If you are interested in learning more about how Mastery Education is creating materials for the next generation of learners, click here.




[1] http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/education_futures/2017/03/creating_real-world_connections_and_fostering_college_and_career_readiness.html

[2] https://education.ucf.edu/mirc/docs/pp/FLaRE%20Professional%20Paper%20-%20Culturally%20Competent%20Literacy%20Instruction.pdf

[3] http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/102112/chapters/Making_a_Real-World_Connection.aspx

Are the Tools You Use to Help English-Language Learners Measuring Up?

English Language Learners (ELLs) are the fastest-growing segment of the school-aged population[1] in the U.S. educational system, with many schools needing instructional support to meet the needs of these learners. In places that don’t have large numbers of ELLs and programs to support that population, one could argue it’s even more critical to prepare educators in specializing or modifying instruction to support English learners as they not only learn academic content, but also develop key language acquisition skills.


A recent analysis by Taylor & Francis Online[2] suggests that even academic content tests are linguistically complex, using words likely unknown by an ELL. That’s why testing poses unique challenges for this student population. Tailored tools and options for ELLs to allow educators to take a targeted approach and individually connect with each student in order to address their unique needs for instruction.


Research in the field of language acquisition[3] suggests that using multiple media to provide visual aids, providing repetition along with additional practice, and highlighting and teaching key vocabulary words are some of the methods that have shown to be effective for enhancing instruction for ELLs. Instruction becomes even more powerful when educators have access to data, which drives instruction and adaptive standards-based practice, in order to target the needs of ELLs.


With this challenge in mind, here are some tips for supporting English-Language Learners when preparing for high-stakes testing:

  • Developing oral language skills is critical for the development of literacy skills. In listening to language used in speaking, ELLs use context to figure out what words mean and learn about sentence structure and word order. Oral language and listening skills are a critical step in accessing written language. Educators can encourage this using prompts such as “turn and talk” and pairing students to discuss reading passages or verbalize how they worked through a problem.
  • Academic language differs from conversational English in that it is more complex and it is not typically encountered in everyday settings. Effective teaching includes planned speaking practice so that students have both formal and informal practice using academic English.
  • Students may struggle to use linking words and phrases such as “because,” “therefore,” and “for example” to connect opinions to reasons. Remind students that linking words and phrases help them connect ideas and sentences, which allows readers to follow what they are trying to say or write.
  • Some ELLs may need extra help coming up with different ways to state their opinions. Give them several sentence starters like “I believe…” “I think…” and “My opinion is…”
  • When teaching math, use visual aids. For example, to show examples of fractions, divide a whole circle into equal parts.
  • Develop writing skills by allowing students to jot down notes before beginning formal writing. In this way, students can build from writing fragments to forming sentences, constructing paragraphs, and finally to writing full essays.


Seeing growth and improvement can be a huge motivator for an ELL student. But educators won’t know if growth is taking place if it’s not measured. Regular student benchmarking can show not only what they’ve learned, but give educators the tools to plan future lessons. Utilizing portfolios to show writing progress over time can also be a great motivator.


In addition, ELLs need support to prepare for and thrive during high-stakes testing. The Measuring Up suite of print and digital solutions prepares all students for their state assessments, and further supports educators with teaching tips and guidance for ELL in the state-specific instructional worktexts.


Mastery Education, the creators of Measuring Up, constantly strives to provide richer and deeper learning experiences to prepare students of all backgrounds, including ELLs, for the challenges of mastering today’s standards and unlocking all the possibilities of a brilliant future.


Choose a partner that evolves with the ever-changing education landscape. To learn more, visit MasteryEducation.com today!



[1] http://edglossary.org/english-language-learner/

[2] http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00405841003626619

[3] http://www.cal.org/create/publications/briefs/effective-practices-for-increasing-the-achievement-of-english-learners.html

Six Unique Exit Tickets to Use with Your Students

An exit ticket can be an effective way to determine if students are understanding what they are being taught. They provide immediate feedback, while allowing students to reflect on what they have learned, and challenge them to do more than just memorize and recall. Exit tickets can help teachers evaluate their teaching methodology and approach and determine if students are able to retain the learned information. Exit tickets also aid teachers in pinpointing when and where possible gaps in understanding have occurred so that these areas can be retaught.

Most exit tickets typically include only a few quick questions and that can be effective in supporting educators. In fact, we provide those within our Measuring Up worktext lessons. For those educators who want additional, creative exit tickets, the following suggestions can be used with your students:


  1. Make it Personal

Make the exit ticket relevant to their lives – if the math lesson is about area, students can measure their own rooms or houses. Have them bring in pictures of their room along with the worked equation. For ELA, have them write a story about something related to the lesson that is meaningful to them. Tying in real-world scenarios and helping students make connections from the lesson to their lives is critical to deepen understanding.

  1. Use Social Media

Most students are active on various social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook. If you school infrastructure allows for social media access, tweet questions and have students respond on Twitter, or post graphics on Instagram or Facebook and ask for comments to answer.

  1. The Rap Battle

Challenge students to create a rap about the day’s lesson with extra credit earned for a performance! Variations can include haikus and short poems.

  1. A Trip to the Movies

Students can craft a movie title and description based on the lesson, and then create a marquee poster for their film! Maybe provide your students with some popcorn too as an incentive.

  1. Send a Postcard

Students can create a postcard inspired by the topic. They can write about what they learned, or even ask questions. Make a mailbox for them to “mail” the postcards as they exit the classroom.


Measuring Up is a state-customized blended solution that offers standards-based print instruction as well as a digital component that delivers diagnostic/formative assessment and adaptive practice. The lesson format from the Measuring Up print instructional worktexts easily allows the teacher to introduce, review and practice on a targeted standard. The lesson activities can be used as exit tickets. The digital component also provides another way to create exit tickets easy and quickly for teachers. We believe exit tickets are just one more way to prepare students for the rigors of high-stakes assessments and provide educators with the tools they need to measure understanding and target remediation where necessary. For additional ideas, we love those suggested at Edutopia, and encourage you to develop your own too. Let us know what has worked for you here on our blog.

To learn more about Measuring Up and how it helps students build standards mastery, visit us at masteryeducation.com today!


Welcome Back!

We’ve taken a little break this summer from our posts and hope all you educators have also enjoyed your time off. As school is starting across the country, we welcome you all to subscribe to our blogs to receive updates on product developments and interesting thought leadership on state assessments, differentiated instruction, standards-based instruction, and adaptive, differentiated practice.

To learn more about the suite of Measuring Up solutions, visit us at masteryeducation.com today!


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