Saturday, September 27, 2014

Interactive Achievement - onTRAC testing

This year, much like every year, the district has rolled out a new program for us to use to help with the new Common Core Standards, PARCC testing, and SGOs.  Normally I spend my time in the in-service groaning about the new "resource", daydreaming about other things I wish I could use in class, and thinking about how this is a one and done kind of thing...this year's in-service was different.  We were introduced to a company called Interactive Achievement and their program, onTRAC.  And I've got to say...this program is actually REALLY helpful.

It has an assessment library that includes thousands of questions that are all linked to the common core.  On the first day of school I created a pre-assessment for my Geometry and Algebra 2 classes.  I was able to use questions from the 7th and 8th grade common core intertwined with Algebra 1 review from the 9-12 common core and some stuff that I haven't officially taught yet.

The thing about this program that I really like, as a special ed teacher, is that it's done on the computer.  This has been incredibly helpful for preparing my students for the PARCC exam, which will be taken on the computer.  Students are not used to taking tests this way and have no clue how to navigate the additional things like the pop up calculator, scrap paper, and highlighting tools so this is great practice for them.  The other great thing is that I can see what question each student is on so I know who is wasting time and who is actually working.
I also love that it breaks down each question by standard for easy reporting and so I can target my students' weak areas.  I was able to use the data from their pretests (which were AWFUL) to determine where to begin for the school year.  I could figure out what skill I needed to target first before jumping into the curriculum.

I must say that this is one new initiative that I'm VERY happy our school is implementing.  I hope that we can use more programs like this that actually make the teacher's life easier and not just another thing to have to do in order to be considered "highly effective".

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