TechQuest Project Description
An Educational Need-
All schools around the country need to help students with test taking strategies, especially institutions like Michigan School for the Deaf (MSD). Most students lack the reading abilities because English is a second language to American Sign Language, which puts them behind their age level peers because of this. Even students who are on grade level for certain subjects such as Math, have a very difficult time with test taking because there is a great level of English comprehension that is required. There needs to be constant exposure of taking tests with our students and daily discussions on how to improve their test taking strategies.
We also need data. Currently we receive no item analysis data from the MEAP or MI-Access (state alternative testing) because we have less than 10 students in most grades. Without item analysis, we cannot break down the content strands to see where students are lacking.
How to address this issue with Technology-
We are in the process of purchasing a web-based software called Study Island. Study Island is completely web-based and allows students to access the tests at any time with a user name and password to take the assessments at their own pace. Study Island covers each of the Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCE’s, pronounced as “Glicks”), and will send teachers and administrators a very detailed report of how our students are doing in each content area and what needs improvement. We can use this data to not only see how our students are doing, but also hold accountability to help guide the teachers to change their way of teaching to cover all the content areas.
This software not only interacts with students to familiarizing themselves with test taking, it looks very similar to the actual layout of the MEAP and MI-Access!
Relevant research and resources-
By visiting www.StudyIsland.com , we can get most of the resources we need on how to apply this technology to improve our testing culture at MSD. Further, we can explore Study Island by taking a “test drive” of the software: www.studyisland.com/demoForm.cfm?myState=MI .
Below are several other resources from Study Island that supports the technological resolution of the educational need:
Testimonies from other schools: http://www.studyisland.com/StateDocuments.cfm?myState=MI&docType=4
There are also plenty of resources and information regarding test taking strategies to tie in with the Study Island software. Just to list a few:
The Plan for Implementation (During and After Course)-
During- The first thing that needs to be done is to receive the software then begin training. We should receive the licenses soon and schedule training. In order to effectively set everything up, a Testing Committee meeting will need to be scheduled to set aside time to train teachers how to use the software, set up user accounts for teachers, dorm staff, and students, and decide when to have the students practice during the school day (as well as making sure enough computers are available).
After- After all of the training, accounts, and time scheduling is finished, we will need to implement before students go home to practice over the summer time and start keeping data when students return in the fall. Once students are all using Study Island (some won’t be able to because there is no computer access at home), we will need to use the data to guide teachers in teaching the right GLCE strands.
How the project addresses the four common places of Education-
Someone teaching- Our teachers will be using the Deductive approach as to what is working State-wide with Study Island. Once students understand how the software works, teachers will become “guide to the side” with the students upon reviewing the results from the students.
Someone learning- The students will be learning test taking strategies and will learn what our state assessments look like and will familiarize themselves by using Study Island. Not only will our students learn, but also our teachers and administrators upon receiving the results from the students.
Some subject matter- Our school counselor (with me as the Assessment Coordinator) will pull out students grade by grade to walk them through test taking strategies and show the students first hand what is good and what is not good to eat before taking a test.
In some setting- It is very important that we standardize our setting so that there are no distractions or unfamiliarity with the setting that testing takes place. I have a drawing of how everything must be set-up and what must be done to ensure that every time a student takes an exam that things will be comfortable and what they expect.