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Elementary, middle schools implement i-Ready exams


By Faith Zantua, Co-Copy Editor

This year, all third to fifth graders, alongside any sixth to eighth graders attending individualized reading classes, are taking the i-Ready reading diagnostic, a digital adaptive assessment.

i-Ready is an online platform providing reading and mathematics assessments and instruction to schools across the nation. Last year, several TESD elementary and middle school classes piloted the i-Ready reading diagnostic assessment, which teachers use to determine students’ strengths and weaknesses in reading comprehension. The goal is to better prepare students for standardized testing in the spring. Michele Houghton, a fourth grade teacher at Devon Elementary School, was part of the original i-Ready piloting phase.

“I like (i-Ready). It’s another way to see how our students are doing,” Houghton said. “It has supplemental materials that can provide next steps and resources for instruction, and I think it’s pretty user-friendly for our teachers.”

The TESD Curriculum Department began looking into i-Ready last year. Each elementary school had one third grade and one fourth grade class take the assessment. Additionally, fifth grade teachers in both middle schools administered the test to students.

At the elementary level, it served as a reading replacement for 4Sight, the previously used, now discontinued screening test for reading and mathematics. For math, elementary schools will administer general tests periodically throughout the year.

Students take the i-Ready assessment online using iPads or laptops. This brought up concerns among staff, including reading specialist Kirsten Firestine who works at all of the elementary schools.

“We wanted to make sure (the technology) wasn’t a hurdle,” Firestine said. “Once we started seeing all those (features) that i-Ready already supported, I think that piece was kind of not a worry anymore.”

i-Ready is adaptive, adjusting the difficulty of the questions based on a student’s answers to the previous questions. Teachers receive class and individual student scores on a 100 to 800 scale, with details on how the students performed in specific reading comprehension categories. Teachers can also see what grade level reading comprehension the students have, and based on the results, teachers adjust their curriculum to better fit students.

All third and fourth grade classes will use the i-Ready assessment going forward. According to Dr. Patrick Gately, curriculum supervisor for English Language Arts and Health and Physical Education, district administration will look into the results from this year’s fifth grade classes, and using community input, determine the extent of i-Ready’s implementation in the middle schools in the future.

Julie  Gerstle, mother to a sophomore at Conestoga and a seventh grader at Valley Forge Middle School, has generally positive thoughts regarding digital assessments. Her children used i-Ready in their former elementary and middle schools.

“I think (digital tests are) very helpful as a supplemental tool,” Gerstle said. “My concern would only be if (technology) started to replace the interaction with a live teacher with live students.”

Faith Zantua can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Faith Zantua
Faith Zantua, Co-News Editor
Faith Zantua is a sophomore and the Co-Copy Editor of The Spoke. As Co-Copy Editor, she edits print and web articles, ensuring that they follow the Associated Press' guidelines. She covers local events in the community, with an emphasis on education and policy-related topics. Outside of the newsroom, she researches other topics as part of Conestoga's National History Day Club and serves as a committee chair of the Mini-THON Planning Committee 2024.