Browse Tag: measuring up

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!

 

Sources:

[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!

 

New Measuring Up Instructional Worktexts Written to Your State Standards

A key challenge for educators is finding a way to customize and differentiate learning for each student in their classrooms. Teachers need tailored tools that allow them to target instruction and differentiate learning for all students in the classroom, including struggling learners, English language learners, and advanced students. And to ensure that students are making progress, educators also need to track and monitor incremental progress and mastery of the standards. To meet the needs of these educators, Measuring Up has created a new instructional worktexts built specifically to meet your state standards.

 

These new state-customized Measuring Up worktexts focus on helping students master the state standards and prepare for rigorous end-of-year assessments. Connecting seamlessly with the Measuring Up Live 2.0 digital assessment and adaptive practice solution, these worktexts help educators target instruction to those skills students most need support on.  It is a simple but powerfully effective approach, incorporating a comprehensive alignment of assessment, instruction, and practice for each student. This new program is customized for each state, addressing challenges educators are facing today with lessons that inspire confidence, engage students, and improve assessment results and growth.

 

This program was built with the needs of educators in mind. Through extensive market research, Mastery Education identified key needs, which informed the product development, including:

  • Providing real world connections to help students make deeper meaning.
  • Supporting all learners in a classroom, including English language learners.
  • Integrating writing within lessons.
  • Demonstrating multiple ways to solve mathematics problems.
  • Offering educators Exit Tickets for quick comprehension checks.

 

These new Measuring Up worktexts were built for CA, FL, GA, IL, NJ, NY, OH, PA, and TN standards, with additional states coming in early 2018. A national edition is also available, written to meet the needs of the Common Core standards. The lessons feature:

  • real-world learning goals,
  • vocabulary defined in context,
  • guided instruction to learn and apply skills,
  • independent practice in a format that emulates the state test,
  • and an Exit Ticket to check for student understanding.

Writing is embedded into every ELA lesson and mathematics lessons offer multiple ways to solve problems as well as more discussion opportunities.  Throughout the lesson, students will see work-space areas, checklists, and prompts like Turn and Talk to keep students engaged. These prompts encourage learners to apply what they’ve learned and elicit self-evaluation.

 

The Teacher Edition features teaching suggestions for struggling learners, English language learners, and above-level students. It also provides additional standards information, and offers support on how to use data to evaluate student learning and more effectively target instruction.

 

Measuring Up can be used in a variety of usage scenarios:

  • Supplement to a core curriculum
  • Before- or after-school program
  • Intervention
  • Summer school
  • Progress monitoring
  • Benchmarking
  • Test readiness program

 

Mastery Education constantly strives to deliver opportunities that provide richer and deeper learning experiences to unlock a brilliant future. With materials built for each state, the Measuring Up blended solution allows teachers to pinpoint each student’s standards level, target instruction to their skill level, and improve high-stakes state assessment results. Personalized and differentiated learning coupled with robust data and reporting give educators the tools to drive students’ improvement and success.

 

It is important to choose a partner that evolves with the ever-changing education landscape. To learn more or view sample lessons, visit MasteryEducation.com today!

Six Strategies to Increase Student Engagement

No teacher wants to lecture to a student who is bored or disengaged, and no student wants to sit in a classroom feeling the material is meaningless. When it comes to learning, engagement is essential. Savvy educators seek to connect with students and engage their growing minds in new and innovative ways. But these engagement methods must be grounded in research, rather than guesswork.

With so many resources available today, how can educators find those that engage students? According to Robert Marzano in The New Art and Science of Teaching (2017), monitoring student engagement is critical so that teachers know when to employ effective engagement strategies and sense when students may need differentiated instruction to optimize learning.

Students can provide teachers with self-reported engagement data through informal verbal or written prompts during a lesson. Marzano suggests that teachers should react when they see students are disengaged. Increasing engagement might involve creating a “lively pace” through the use of instructional segments, allowing students to work at their own individual pace, or grouping students according to where they are in their comprehension of new material. Educators may also want to add physical movement, such as standing to vote for an answer, or present new and unusual information through real-world connections.

To engage students, teachers should consider the following strategies:

1. Make It Meaningful: If students do not consider a learning activity worthy of their time and effort, they might not engage in an effective way, or may even disengage entirely in response.

2. Foster a Sense of Competence: Competence results from a student’s ongoing personal evaluation of whether he or she can succeed in a learning activity or challenge.

3. Provide Autonomy Support: Teachers should create a sense of autonomy by nurturing the students’ sense of control over their behaviors and goals.

4. Embrace Collaborative Learning: When students work effectively with others, their engagement may be amplified as a result.

5. Establish Positive Teacher-Student Relationships: High-quality teacher-student relationships are another critical factor in creating student engagement, especially in the case of difficult students and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

6. Promote Mastery Orientations: Engagement is more likely to be full and thorough when students pursue an activity because they want to learn and understand through mastery, rather than get a good grade, look smart, please their parents, or outperform peers.

Research by Marzano has shown that providing choices to students of all age levels often increases their intrinsic motivation and have been linked to increases in effort, task performance, and subsequent learning. However, for students to feel that their decision has an impact on their learning, teachers should provide students with choices of tasks, reporting formats, learning goals, and behaviors.

The new Measuring Up instructional worktexts offer engagement features designed to get students thinking about their progress so they become invested in their own success. These materials engage students through collaboration, turn and talk, and prompts to check understanding. Students learn relevance through with real-world applications of vocabulary and math skills, authentic writing tasks, and real models of math concepts. Each lesson is grounded in the significance of concepts being learned.

And the digital Measuring Up Live platform offers games, dashboards to monitor progress, and data and reporting, all designed to allow students to be drivers of their own success and to help teachers monitor student engagement.

It is important to choose a partner that evolves with the ever-changing education landscape. Mastery Education, the creator of Measuring Up, is constantly striving to provide richer and deeper learning experiences that prepare students for the challenges of mastering today’s standards and unlock the possibility of a brilliant future.

To learn more, visit MasteryEducation.com today.


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