A cross post from parent Brandon Wall and GO Public Schools
As a parent, I was worried about the disruption the pandemic would have on my kids’ academic progress. But since the state tests (SBAC/CAASPP) were canceled for two years in a row, I did not have much information about whether or not my children were on track. That’s why I was so excited to get the results from my kids’ i-Ready assessments last spring and this fall.
The results gave me a chance to see where my son and daughter were excelling and where they needed to grow. I was able to have a conversation with each of them about their progress and it gave me insight into how I can better support them. We posted their results on our fridge to celebrate success and to motivate us to keep working hard. Assessment data doesn’t tell the whole story, but it can be helpful, especially when combined with what teachers and parents are observing in the classroom and at home.
Last spring, through i-Ready, we learned that reading comprehension for informational texts was a relative weakness for my son so we started reading and discussing articles (that are tailored to his reading level) using Newsela. This fall, he did better in this area! My daughter’s recent results suggest that she needs a bit more practice on phonics, so she’s been doing a lot of reading aloud and has been working on i-Ready and Freckle at home on her OUSD-provided Chromebook.
Oakland parent, Brandon Wall and his child
i-Ready is a computerized test that is “adaptive.” This means that as students answer more questions correctly the questions become more difficult. That means most kids get about half of the questions wrong—which can be frustrating if a kid doesn’t expect it. I was glad my school’s principal encouraged us to tell our kids to do their best and that it’s like an eye exam—some questions will be too easy, some will be too hard, and some will be just right.
As we look to recover as a community, we must make sure that parents have regular communication about student progress. In September, the district sent the Spring 2021 i-Ready report home to all parents whose students were in grades 3-5 last year. This is a great first step but it’s even more important that teachers communicate directly with parents and engage them as partners. Parents and teachers working together is the path forward toward the learning recovery that our students need and deserve. This year, I hope that all K-5 parents are able to get these reports after each new testing administration—fall, winter, and spring.
In addition to sharing individual results with parents, it’s important that we have a system-level understanding of student learning. I was glad to see that OUSD published this public dashboard with Fall 2021 i-Ready math and reading results and I hope they continue to publish new results this winter and spring to inform the learning recovery.
Here are some tips for parents and teachers as we move forward:
Tips for parents!
- If you didn’t receive your Spring 2021 or Fall 2021 i-Ready reports, ask your teacher directly. It is your right to have this information and it is available for all parents of students in grades K-5!
- After you review the report and identify growth areas, use these math and literacy guides from GO Public Schools and these K-5 academic milestones from OUSD to better understand where to focus with your child.
Tips for teachers!
- Did you know you can “batch print” all your parent-friendly i-Ready reports at once with just a couple of clicks? More info here.
- What would work best for your families? PDFs sent through ParentSquare or email? Paper copies sent home in students’ backpacks, packaged with student report cards, or shared directly during parent conferences?
I’ve felt so lucky to be a part of a community where so many folks are working on behalf of students and families in so many ways. Seeing how everyone has come together during the pandemic to adjust to the realities of remote learning and ensure a return to full-time, in-person learning for all students this fall has given me a lot of optimism about the work ahead. I look forward to a future where all families—in every Oakland neighborhood—have access to joyful, academically excellent public schools. Don’t all of our children deserve the support they need to pursue the paths they choose—college, career, and community—so that they can be the hero(ine) of their own story and build a better tomorrow?