Fuel for Thought – Seven Education Tools and Resources to Help Teachers Plan

fuel-for-thoughtsThis quiet time, before school resumes after the holiday break, affords the opportunity for reflection, and for planning the next half of the school year. By now, if your school or district uses the MAP interim assessment, you have some data that helps you know how your students are faring. Any surprises? A-has? Are your students on track to make the growth of which they are capable? Do your teachers know how to use the data to make instructional choices that drive further learning?

To help you hit the ground running in January, here are some resources to enable you to answer your questions.

1. The Case for Measuring Growth

It’s probably not news to you that the students in your care represent vast academic diversity. Some may be years behind, some years ahead – but all are in need of learning experiences that enable them to grow. To meet that need, your teachers do heroic work that seems all but invisible in the race to proficiency. In this climate, being able to demonstrate academic growth has never been more crucial, as the scrutiny schools withstand intensifies. So NWEA researchers, content developers, and professional development experts joined forces to articulate the case for high-quality growth measurement – why it’s needed, how it’s built, and how to use the data to help students grow. There is also a convenient 10 questions to ask when evaluating growth measurement tools.  Read, share, discuss – we created them to be useful.

2. Online resources for your staff

Differentiating instruction, as one of my education professors used to say, actually is rocket science, it can be so complex. Yet when teachers use data to inform instruction for their students, amazing things can happen. To help out, we have a few resources that can make it easier.

First, the NWEA Knowledge Academy is an online professional learning destination available to all MAP users. Customized, role-based learning plans for each member of your staff allow educators to access the learning and information they need – at their pace, on their schedule, and without impacting your PD budget.

Second, the SPARK Community is where over 14,000 MAP users gather. There are discussion forums, lesson plans (by RIT score!) and other resources to help teachers do what they do best – teach.

3. Learn from your peers

It is our privilege to work with over 6,800 schools and districts around the country and around the world. Whether you are in a large city or a country village, have a large ELL community or work with severely at-risk youth – chances are there are other NWEA partners who have wrestled with similar challenges. Their stories may help inspire new solutions for your students – so we have gathered their case studies in a single space, and are frequently updating this collection.

We are always looking for new ways to add value to our partnership with educators. If there is something you need, let us know in the comments below.