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Closing the Gap: Empowering Students for Future Success through Formative Assessment Strategies

Marketing Team, July 2023, 8 min read

With so much heated debate over the concept of teaching to the test, it almost seems counterintuitive to ask teachers to assess their students even more. However, assessments are the only way to discover if students are actually learning anything, and when done correctly, they can really help students think and grow.

Who says that an assessment has to be boring, tedious, and stressful to actually mean something?

Formative assessments are anything but those things. They can even be quite fun. And in most cases, students don’t even realize that they’re being assessed in the first place, so they stay relaxed and engaged in class—showing off the new knowledge and skills they’ve recently come to know.

What is Formative Assessment

Forget those end-of-unit tests or semester portfolios. Formative assessments include a variety of different activities that take place while students are actually learning, and they provide helpful and immediate feedback that educators can then use to inform their teaching as it happens.

Unlike summative assessments, which test student knowledge after learning has already taken place, formative assessments are more of a low-stakes strategy to see where students are at each day. They basically tell teachers whether it’s time to reteach information in a new way, clarify it, or move on to something else.

Benefits of Formative Assessment

The benefits of formative assessment are many, making it a powerful tool that teachers can use to reach each student individually and improve the overall success rate in their classrooms. By continuously monitoring student learning and providing helpful feedback in real-time, formative assessment strategies help teachers challenge their students in new and creative ways so that they can find academic success all year long.

Here are the top four benefits of using formative assessment strategies regularly in the classroom:

  1. They increase student engagement and motivation to learn.
  2. They enhance student understanding and retention of new information.
  3. They assist teachers in providing personalized feedback and targeted instruction.
  4. They allow for the identification of learning gaps and suggest areas for improvement.

Once daily formative assessment strategies are implemented in the classroom, both teachers and students enjoy the perks right away.


Formative Assessment Strategies

There are tons of different options when it comes to administering formative assessment strategies in the classroom. And the more variety that’s offered, the greater the chance teachers have to reach each of their students throughout the week—letting them shine in the ways that come most naturally to them.

The very best part is that implementing new formative assessment strategies is just plain fun. This is a chance to get those creative juices flowing in the classroom and see where imagination can come into play.

Using the four prominent learning styles as a guide, teachers can utilize any of the well-known formative assessment strategies out there, tailoring them as needed to meet the needs of their particular students, or they can create their own.

Formative Assessment Ideas

Here are twelve formative assessment ideas anyone can use in the classroom organized by the prominent learning style they fall under.


  1. Pictionary
    Set a timer and provide students with a word or concept they’ve been learning in class. Students will then draw a visual representation of that word or concept before the timer runs out.
  2. Affinity Maps
    Prepare a designated space on a whiteboard or poster board with a word, phrase, or question. Next, have each student use a colored marker or sticky note to contribute something to the affinity map as a group.
  3. Graphic Organizers
    Ask students to complete a graphic organizer using what they’ve learned in class that day. Mix it up by using KWL charts, sequence maps, Venn diagrams, and other graphic organizers throughout the week.


  1. Popsicle Sticks
    Have students write their names on a popsicle stick that you keep in a jar. While asking questions in class, draw a popsicle stick, and have that student answer the question aloud for all to hear.
  2. Fishbowl Discussions
    Place students into two groups: an inner and outer circle. Task the students in the inner circle with having a discussion about a predetermined topic and the students in the outer circle with listening and taking notes.
  3. Socratic Seminars
    Arrange all students in a circle with the teacher remaining outside of it. Students will then host a formal discussion among each other regarding a pre-selected topic while the teacher moderates the discussion by asking open-ended questions.

Reading & Writing

  1. Think-Pair-Share
    Start off a Think-Pair-Share by posing a question in class. Students will then write down their answers independently, pair off with a partner to discuss their answers, then share their answers in class one pair at a time.
  2. White Boards
    With small white boards sitting on their desks, students can write down their answers to questions asked in class, hold them up for the teacher to review, then erase them and prepare for the next question.
  3. Entrance/Exit Tickets
    Entrance and exit tickets are a quick and easy way to assess student knowledge prior to teaching a lesson or just after teaching one. Simply ask a question and have students write it down on a notecard or piece of paper to hand in.


  1. Hand Signals
    Using hand signals is a no-prep way to make sure students are engaged in class and learning new material. Just ask students to give a thumbs up if they fully understand a new concept, a sideways thumb if they still have questions or need more practice, or a thumbs down if they feel totally lost.
  2. Beach Balls
    Get your students moving while they learn by having them sit on the floor or stand up at their desk, asking them a question, then throwing a beach ball to them. Whoever catches it answers the question then throws the ball to another student to add more information or back to the teacher for a new question.
  3. Response Cards
    With pre-made cards already on their desks, ask students if they understand the new material and have them hold up one of their cards in response. The cards can have yes, no, or unsure answers on them, a green, red, or yellow traffic light, or even emojis on them to illustrate how they’re currently feeling.

7 Tips for Creating Engaging Summer Enrichment Activities

Educational studies have proven time and time again that learning loss is a real phenomenon.

In just a few short months away from the classroom, many students experience that dreaded summer slide for themselves. Of course, once they return to school in fall, they’ll have to spend several weeks relearning previous skills just to catch back up. And that’s a huge waste of time for both teachers and students who could be working on new skills right away during the upcoming school year.

Fortunately, summer learning loss and constant reteaching year after year are not inevitable occurrences. When students are given quality instruction during the summer months and provided with comprehensive learning materials for enrichment purposes, they can actually start the new school year off ahead—ready and willing to learn from day one.

To help your students make the most of summer vacation this year, it’s imperative that you provide them with enrichment activities that keep them engaged and working continuously on the mastery of grade-level standards. And here are 7 tips that can help you do just that.

How to Create Engaging Summer Activities

1. Work Backwards

The most important step in creating engaging summer activities that students find success with is to start by working backwards. Ask yourself where you would like your students to be by the end of the summer, the end of the month, the end of the week, and the end of the day. Doing so will help you narrow down which standards, in particular, your students should master right now.

2. Build Upwards

Looking at where your students are now and which standards you’re going to target next is the precursor to building upwards. Similar to taking baby steps, scaffolding will allow you to break up skill development tasks into smaller, easier-to-manage chunks that your students can complete successfully.

3. Think Variety

No matter how fun your summer enrichment plans are, students won’t want to complete the same tasks over and over again. So build in a lot of variety with a combination of hands-on activities and digital learning opportunities. You can also break up monotony with whole class, small group, and intervention pairings.

4. Tap Into Student Interests

Students are naturally drawn to the topics that interest them most and the different types of reward systems you put into play. Designing enrichment activities around these student interests increases their engagement level and encourages a higher academic result.

5. Utilize the I Do, We Do, You Do Model

Using the I Do, We Do, You Do teaching model helps students gain confidence in their own ability to try something new. As you demonstrate the skill for them, practice the skill with them, then provide feedback as they practice the skill on their own, they learn far more than they would without this perceived safety net.

6. Use Assessments Wisely

Assessments are a teacher’s best friend because they provide important data which you can then use to pivot in any direction based on your students’ current needs. By using assessments wisely in class, you can discover what level your students are at now, how they compare to other students in their grade level, whether or not they understand today’s lesson, and how much learning took place during a unit.

7. Review What You Already Have

Designing the perfect summer enrichment activities for your students doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel. Many of the lesson plans you already have will work just fine—either as stand alone activities or in conjunction with others.

Child on slide

Academic Success with Measuring Up Products

Having a comprehensive and well-designed curriculum at your fingertips will go a long way toward creating summer enrichment activities that engage students in their learning.

The Measuring Up line of products from Mastery Education is one such curriculum that pairs incredibly well with summer enrichment programs and integrates with any curriculum you already have. Having these products at your disposal will make building summer enrichment units all the more easy.

Measuring Up Reach are instructional ebooks that are customized by location. They provide lessons based on specific grade-level standards in your particular state, which helps you work backwards in your planning. They also come with built-in scaffolding, so building upwards becomes a much simpler process. Plus, each of the included lessons are blended learning opportunities which can be taught as whole class, small group, or intervention, creating a sense of variety.

Measuring Up MyQuest is the online portal for students. Full of activities based on interesting topics, Measuring Up MyQuest also takes gamification to a whole new level with rewards tokens, leader boards, and other built-in fun. The practice activities found therein are also designed around gradual release and are adaptive in nature, providing corrective feedback as students work.

Lastly, Measuring Up Insight is the assessment component. With plenty of pre and post assessments to choose from, as well as exit tickets and state practice tests, teachers can quickly gather important data on all of their students.

Summer Enrichment Activities for Students

With the right guidance and materials, students can find academic success each school year—without losing ground over summer. Enrichment activities are meant to integrate with your current curriculum and do so in a fun way that excites kids and keeps them learning. And using high-quality, targeted instructional materials, like Measuring Up, make it easy for both teachers and students to make that happen.

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.



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!



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.







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 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!

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.

Summer Learning Narrows the Achievement Gap

Summer is almost here. For many, it’s a time to relax and leave schoolwork worries behind. However, by the time school starts up again in the fall, many students will have forgotten a good percentage of what they learned the previous year. Looking just at mathematics, most students lose about two months of grade-level efficiency in mathematical equivalency skills over the summer months, according to an often-cited study by Cooper, Nye, Charleston, and Greathouse.[1] Lower income students and English learners lose even more skills than their peers.


Many schools encourage students to continue reading during the summer months to prevent learning loss. However, according to an article published by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the loss of math skills over the summer is even greater than that in reading proficiency. Harvard faculty member Joanna Christodoulou explains why: most parents have been encouraged to utilize reading in everyday life with their children, but they tend not to integrate math in the same way. She argues, “…it is easy to overlook the presence of math in everyday activities, like measurement in cooking, calculation when dealing with money, or distance while driving.”[2] With this research in mind, it’s easy to see why students start school each fall at a deficit.


To complicate the issue further, summer learning loss also impacts test scores and preparedness, and this achievement gap widens when you compare results between middle class and disadvantaged students. By the ninth grade, two thirds of this gap can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities in the elementary grades. Many of these students move on to higher grades at a deficit, where they tend to be placed into lower-level classes, thus becoming more likely to drop out, and are less likely to attend college or be career ready.


The solution is summer learning. But what does that mean? Summer learning does not necessarily have to equal summer school in the traditional sense. For students who don’t have access to traditional summer learning programs, we can offer alternative, positive methods to promote learning, especially for struggling students. According to the Wallace Foundation, strategies for preventing summer learning loss include identifying effective summer learning programs and approaches, replicating these effective programs, or even establishing extended-year or year-round schools that incorporate practices and approaches from effective summer learning programs.[3]


Summer learning programs that accomplish meaningful goals have a few things in common:

  • They engage students in recreational and enrichment activities, as well as activities focused on building positive relationships with peers and adults.
  • They blend remediation with enrichment activities and more advanced curricula.
  • They are attended by students of varied skill levels.
  • They are voluntary and take place over a full day.[4]

When programs are designed with these fundamentals in mind and communities support the whole child for the whole year, students thrive. High-quality summer learning programs improve academic skills as well as motivation and relationships. Effective summer learning can be cost-effective and extremely targeted by using tools such as the Measuring Up Live 2.0 program or the Measuring Up instructional worktexts. While Measuring Up Live pinpoints gaps in student knowledge and provides adaptive practice to target learning standards deficiencies, the print instructional worktexts provide educators with the skills and standards knowledge to narrow the learning gap.

Measuring Up from Mastery Education provides supplemental instructional and practice materials that are standards-based to meet the state assessments. To learn more about how Measuring Up can work with your summer school curriculum, visit

[1]  “The Effects of Summer Vacation on Achievement Test Scores: A Narrative and Meta-Analytic Review,” by Cooper, H., Nye, B., Charlton, K., Lindsay, J., and Greathouse, S. Review of Educational Research, 66: 227-268, 1996.

[2] “Summer Math Loss: Why Kids Lose Math Knowledge, and How Families Can Act to Counteract,” by Schafer, Leah. Harvard Graduate School of Education:, June 24, 2016.