A key Response to Intervention (RTI) foundation is that all students receive good instruction from the onset in their general education classrooms. There are multitudes of ways in which Illuminate can facilitate this process.
Use Data to See Which Lesson Plans and Components Are (and Aren’t) Working
Illuminate DnA’s rich assessment reports disaggregate results by teacher, teacher+period, teacher+course, site+course, site, and district or county. Thus teachers can see which lesson plans and components are working in their classrooms and which are not.
For example, a teacher can see how lesson plans and components utilized in a particular period, course, or for all students compare to those used by other teachers of the same course, site-wide, and district-wide.
This comparison can take place in terms of average overall proficiency, as well as performance levels (which can be customized in terms of both cut points and labels). Thus a teacher can see how all lesson plans and components used to teach concepts worked together to prepare students for a particular test.
Sort summarized test results by standard, so you compare how everyone (teacher, teacher+period, teacher+course, site+course, site, and district or county) performed on particular standards.
Thus a less-vocal teacher can realize the lesson plans and components she used to teach to a particular standard resulted in that period’s students surpassing students in other classrooms. She will then be more likely to speak up concerning those lessons’ success and share them with her colleagues.
Likewise, even previously-complacent teachers will see which standards they struggle with in relation to their colleagues (or one site versus the district, etc.). Illuminate charts show them which standard’s lesson plans need to be reworked or replaced, and they can seek resources and/or advice from their colleagues, thus improving their instruction.
This analysis can also take place for any question groups you opt to establish. For example, you can opt to see how a teacher’s lessons are engaging students’ critical thinking skills in relation to questions’ Bloom’s Taxonomy levels, or you can set up other criteria (e.g.., power standards vs. non-power standards, clusters, hard questions vs. easier questions, etc.). The options are limitless.
Debrief What Counts without Losing Students’ Attention
Remember the days where teachers unveiled a test’s answers on the board and either said, “Does anyone have any questions?” or rehashed every single question on the test? For some, those days are now, and many students don’t even get their results until after days or grading or waiting for scanning time.
Illuminate has come to the rescue. Not only does it eliminate scanning time (since the minute each student drops his or her answer sheet under the camera in the classroom, its score is captured by the system and displayed for the student), but it gives teachers the question-by-question feedback they need to debrief effectively.
The Illuminate Response Frequency Report shows you exactly how students answered each question, as well as which students selected each answer option (even if that’s a rubric score, a true/false, or any other criteria established for the question). You can also see overall percent correct by question to pinpoint which concepts students struggled with the most, as well as the content standard to which the question was tied. Some test options will even show you the rationale between each answer option.
For example, a teacher can sort the assessment’s questions and focus his or her debrief of the test on the questions students struggled with the most (thus not wasting time on questions they aced). The teacher can also “get inside their heads” and see which wrong answers they mistook for correct (thus not wasting time on answer options they knew were wrong). Seeing which students answered each way, the teacher can then engage correct students in sharing their thinking (students who didn’t learn a concept the way the teacher taught it can be saved by peer-to-peer language), and the teacher will know which students to check for understanding during key questions’ debrief. He or she can also use results to pair up students, group them at different stations, etc. In any case, the teacher won’t waste his or her own time (or students’ time) with anything unnecessary.
Utilize Instant Formative Feedback
RTI’s mandate for good instruction is not likely to happen unless teachers can easily acquire instant formative feedback so they know exactly which students are struggling with which concepts so they can response accordingly. Educators are trained to know formative assessment makes any instruction more effective, but delays in getting the necessary feedback make responses to data stale and less effective.
Fortunately, DnA provides instant formative feedback. Teachers can use web cameras (already built-in or bought for less than $8) or some document cameras already in use to instantly determine a lesson’s success and respond accordingly (teachers don’t even have to scan, as students simply drop completely crooked is fine their answer sheets under the camera as they turn them in).
Garnering quick feedback from DnA even mid-lesson, teachers can instantly use data for flexible grouping of students, judging how to pace and plan the next lesson, etc.
For example, after lecture/modeling I could quickly ask students these 3 questions (tied to the lesson’s content standard and easily put in the system), and they could drop in their answers as they pick up materials for the next activity…
…I would instantly know most students can jump right into the next/related activity, but I would pull aside the small struggling group for a reteach, or I would work with this group on the next activity providing added guidance, or I would give them each a particular role in the activity paired with another student for support, etc.
Examples of using formative feedback to inform good instruction were included earlier in this lesson, and examples of using formative assessment to differentiate instruction are included in the next section.
Make Differentiated Instruction a Reality
With instant feedback on student performance (noted above), teachers can judge mastery of concepts immediately after teaching a lesson and pass out differentiated homework accordingly. They can see which standards and/or strands or clusters individual students need more support in mastering and individualize instruction and assignments based on data-informed needs.
Without a tool as powerful and yet easy-to-use as DnA, differentiated instruction and individualized learning plans are simply not being executed to their fullest potential. DnA reports (both pre-built and custom) allow teachers to easily track progress and intervene accordingly.
Differentiated Instruction Example 1 (Resources)
For example, our Standard Progress Report allows you to easily see students' progress on specific standards on any (or all) assessments they take over time so you can quickly see where they are improving and where they are not. This and other reports (like our Student Profile Report) are excellent tools for IEP meetings and IEP writing (e.g., always up-to-date with assessments, demographics, grades, and more).
Our online Help system even helps you understand how to use DnA reports for student grouping and differentiation, as appropriate grouping has traditionally been confusing for many educators. Fortunately, DnA is full of tools to make differentiation straightforward and practical.
Since data is grabbed instantly (in the classroom), teachers can use it immediately for grouping students at stations, assigning appropriate roles in activities, pull aside a few students, or a number of other options.
Differentiated Instruction Examples 2 and 3 (in the Classroom)
As another example, as students enter the classroom they could drop their homework (bearing a photocopy of the answer sheet box) under my webcam (thus scanning automatically)…
…Or, the day before I could circulate while students work on a lab or activity and (using a rubric, yes/no criteria, or anything else) I could bubble each student’s answer sheet (I put them in page protectors so I can use the same sheets all year long) by the end of the day based on how he accomplished the day’s lesson…
…Since the day’s lesson will build on a particular standard covered in the homework (or previous day’s activity), I’ll open the assignment’s/assessment’s Peer Comparison List Report in Illuminate and sort students by that standard (outlined in red above); note I may also do this by cluster or any question group I set up (e.g., Bloom’s Taxonomy level) if more appropriate.
While students go through the morning’s routine’s, I’ll pull aside the students who struggled with this standard, as well as students who didn’t complete the assignment, to prep them in what they’ll need for the upcoming whole-class activity. During the whole-class activity, I will check on them most frequently as I circulate.
Differentiated Instruction Example 4 (in the Classroom)
As another example, students turn in their open-response homework (remember: you can use Illuminate for more than just multiple choice answers) and I grade (bubbling based on a rubric) and scan the papers later…
…I’ll open the homework assessment’s Peer Comparison List Report in Illuminate and sort students by Overall % Correct.
…As students enter class the next day, I’ll assign them to stations (as outlined below) where they’ll be working on a task appropriate for their level. Though I’ll regularly circulate, I’ll give the lowest performing group added attention in learning the concepts they’ll need to be successful with current and upcoming steps.
Differentiated Instruction Example 5 (in the Classroom)
What if I don’t want to use rubrics for grading assignments?
As another example, I can just bubble a “C” for correct (or “Y” for yes, or whatever I want to set up) for every correct answer on a student’s assignment (classwork or homework), and then scan the results…
…Something like this will tell me that the next time I see me class, we need to cover the material again. Since my previous lesson didn’t work well, I’ll borrow lessons and ideas from my colleagues or other resources…
…Something like this will tell me my lesson worked well, and my class is ready to move forward as a whole…
…Something like this means differentiation is especially needed.
…I’ll open the homework's Peer Comparison List Report and sort students by Overall % Correct (just like in the last example)…
…As students enter class the next day, I’ll place them in groups (as outlined below) where each group member plays an assigned role (secretly based on his or her level, as indicated by the scanned assignments).
Differentiated Instruction Example 6 (in the Classroom)
As a final example, consider how Illuminate can revolutionize how homework is assigned.
After the day’s lesson, within the last minutes of class, I could quickly display these 3 questions (tied to the standard we covered in class)…
…Students bubble their answers (I put them in page protectors so I can use the same sheets all year long), then they drop them under the webcam where I see their results…
…When students score 2 or 3 (out of 3), I give them this assignment (above)…
…and when a student scores a 0 or a 1, I give him or her this assignment (above).
Both assignments cover the same standard(s) being taught, and both require the same amount of time to complete, but they begin at different places and offer different levels of support.
For example, the lower-level sheet contains a glossary on the back and use simpler language when providing directions. In contrast, the higher-level sheet requires the student to take the material further and practice more without spending time on preliminary explanations.
As a vital bonus, when students are done scanning I have an instant indication of how successful my lesson was (I record any notes that might help me the following year) and how much review I will need to offer the following day. I can also use the results to group students for the next day’s opening activity. Once again, we see that formative benefit.
Collaborate with colleagues to make the most of your time and efforts; while more of each could be required initially to create alternate versions of assignments, your students will benefit tremendously from the differentiation. Fortunately, DnA saves you time in determining exactly what each student needs, so you can redirect any time you used to spend in the past determining individual students’ strengths and weaknesses.
It Doesn't Stop There
Add multiple assessments to an Assessment View to report on them together, check out the Assessment Summary Report, or explore other reporting tools within the system.
Illuminate enhances instruction in other ways, as well. Such factors as sharing data with students, communicating strengths and weaknesses with parents, determining student-specific needs, and other components of good instruction are featured later in this manual.
You might also be interested in other chapters and lessons within the Illuminate Help system for assistance performing the actions described in the "RTI" manual for more help with your RTI implementation. For example, lessons in the "Assessments," "Reports," and "Summary Assessments," manuals might prove especially helpful, depending on the actions you wish to perform.