Category Archive : Assessment

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,

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




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.







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 today!


Tips on Implementing New Educational Technology – A Spotlight from ISTE 2017

The annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference is the marquee ed tech event of the year, attracting educators from all over the country and featuring the newest and most innovative educational technology available. As schools being for many of you across the country, we thought we’d share a little from the conference in hopes to inspire you as you begin your school year. This year’s conference did not disappoint with powerful keynote addresses from influential and inspirational leaders in journalism, education, and technology.

  • Jad Abumrad – Creator and host of the popular “RadioLab” program on public radio, which has been running for 15 years, as well as a recipient of the prestigious Peabody Award in 2015
  • Jennie Magiera – Chief innovation officer for the Des Plaines Public Schools located in the Chicago, Illinois, and author of Courageous Edventures which dives into classroom struggles and how innovation can improve educational performance
  • Reshma Saujani – Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a nonprofit working all around the country to close the gender gap that exists in the technology space


Held in San Antonio from June 24-27, ISTE 2017 was a huge success that showcased the most cutting-edge educational technologies, including Measuring Up Live 2.0 from Mastery Education.


Adopting new technology can help make dramatic improvements in educational excellence, but there are things to consider when doing so.

  • Is there a trial period to get a feel for the technology before a larger investment must be made?
  • Is customer service and technology support available and equipped to respond to issues promptly?
  • How is data security handled, including initial input, storage, and data transfer?
  • Is the product embedded with advertisements, and to what extent?


Here are some tips for adopting new educational technology and evaluation of the program success.

  • Ensure technology products have been tailored to be consistent with school standards
  • Perform a full 360-degree trial prior to adopting the technology
  • Determine if the technology complies with student information and privacy laws
  • Understand the scope of the financial and resource investment
  • Construct a detailed plan for the technology roll out prior to implementation, as well as a full implementation plan
  • Evaluate the technology performance regularly
  • Drive decisions based on data


These questions and tips are key to helping educators and technology innovators embark on fruitful partnerships that will benefit student performance over the course of the school year.


At Mastery Education, we understand the value drivers and pain points associated with adopting new educational technology. As such, we are focused on developing research-based products that promote problem-based learning to deliver measurable educational advancement.


Learn more about implementing new technology and how the suite of digital solutions from Measuring Up can help by visiting us online at 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 today!

Want to learn more about what Measuring Up can offer?

Are you interested in learning more about the Measuring Up suite of digital and print tools for standards-based assessment, instruction, and adaptive practice? Watch this video


Have You Seen Measuring Up Live Lately?

Taking high-stakes assessments can be a stressful experience for students. But the right practice tools can help alleviate the pressure and even make the preparation process fun. The powerful Measuring Up Live 2.0 platform provides data-driven assessment coupled with adaptive, differentiated practice to target each student’s needs. And students will see question types and test formats that emulate what they will see on high-stakes assessments. This familiarity helps build confidence and improves performance.


In a recent study, scientists from Tufts University found that taking practice tests can actually protect memory against the negative effects of stress. Amy Smith, one of the authors of the study noted, “Learning by taking tests and being forced to retrieve information…has a strong effect on long-term memory retention, and appears to continue to have great benefits in high-stakes, stressful situations.”  And an article in Thesis Magazine states that researchers have found that retesting will improve an individual’s score by 2/3rds of a standard deviation, on average.


Measuring Up Live 2.0 is an innovative online assessment and practice platform made up of two powerful programs that work in tandem: Insight and MyQuest. Insight diagnoses student skill level and standards knowledge. Based on the Insight assessment results, MyQuest automatically prescribes targeted, differentiated, and adaptive practice with standards-based learning paths targeted to each student’s individual needs. This allows for true differentiation and targeted instruction. Teachers also have the option to manually assign practice to students.


Insight offers grade level assessments delivered in specific testing formats, such as PARCC, SBAC, AIR, or STAAR. Teachers can use a library of pre-created assessments based on state standards and assessment blueprints or create their own from over 60,000 questions/item types. Multiple grade levels are available to meet the needs of struggling students or advanced learners. There are even features such as text-to-speech to support English language learners.


MyQuest’s adaptive instructional technology adjusts according to students’ individual understanding and responses, allowing teachers to pinpoint instructional needs. As students move through the content they receive immediate feedback, and content level difficulty will auto-adjust based on results. Students can even practice in fun game modes.


Measuring Up Live 2.0 offers true preparation for high-stakes state assessments. With robust reporting and real-time data at the heart of the program, educators can truly pinpoint instruction to student needs. And putting actionable data in the hands of district personnel, school administrators, teachers, and even students is powerful and leads to success.


To learn more about Measuring Up Live 2.0, check out this brief overview:

Or contact your local rep to try it out yourself.