Highlander Launches Formative Assessment App for iPads & Smart Phones

New England Post – 10/10/2011

The passing of Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs last week brought with it heartfelt tributes — shared on fans’ Facebook walls and Twitterfeeds — from the moment the news was made public.  Pictures, quotes and videos, countless likely posted from devices that Jobs himself helped pioneer and bring to market, were used to celebrate Jobs’ life, career and the undeniable impact he had on culture and technology.

One place where software applications (more commonly known as “apps”) for touch screen devices like iPods, iPhones and iPads can’t be found as readily is in the classroom.  Shawn Rubin and Stephanie Castilla, co-founders of Metryx, figured it was about time for schools to get with the program.

The new Metryx app, a formative assessment tool for teachers, is one week into alpha testing at Highlander Charter School in Providence, Rhode Island.

Mr. Rubin, a teacher with 11 years of experience, told New England Post that it’s challenging for teachers to keep track of each student’s achievements and difficulties.  “I’ve been doing formative assessment in my classroom for the last four years,” Mr. Rubin said.  “But the formative assessment that I used to do was on tiny little scraps of paper.”

Think of formative assessment as qualitative data and notes about each individual student in a given classroom, used to alter teaching practice.  Summative assessment, like test scores, is quantitative and final.

Mr. Rubin continued, “Prior to that, I had been doing differentiated instruction,” or tailoring his lessons to fit student alacrity and aptitude, “but it was not based on formative assessment, it was more based on my gut.”

Mr. Rubin told New England Post that he wanted to know that the decisions he was making—classroom group differentiation chief among them—were backed up by data.

Highlander Institute Launches Touch Technology Consulting Services

Click to Watch Video

Interested in how touch technology can revolutionize teaching and learning at your school?  Talk to the experts at Highlander Dunn, who can help you use various touch platforms to:

* increase differentiated instruction
* improve the proficiency of struggling learners
* address curriculum gaps
* build lesson plans that are universally accessible
* engage all students in learning

Services include full or half day workshops on technology platforms including Smart Boards and  iPads; and tailored technology planning that aligns technology resources, professional development and current software options.

For more information, please contact Cathy Sanford at 401-831-7327 x17

Highlander Dunn Celebrates Fort Barton's Reading Scores

TIVERTON — Test score success at Tiverton’s Fort Barton Elementary School is being touted by the Rhode Island Literacy Project (RILP) as evidence of the benefits of school-based literacy reform.

Highlander Dunn Institute, the organization that spearheads the RILP, pointed to results at the four participating state elementary schools following the release of 2010 NECAP scores.

While NECAP scores remained flat at elementary levels across the state, the four partner elementary schools of the Rhode Island Literacy Project experienced significant progress in reading over the past three years since the Project’s launch, the group said.

“The fact that our four partner schools increased their reading NECAP scores by an average of 9 percentage points in 2010 validates the hard work of teachers, administrators and our Dunn team over the past two years,” said Cathy Sanford, director of the Highlander Dunn Institute.

Launched with corporate support in September 2008, the RILP is a five-year demonstration project initiating school-based literacy reform work in four partner elementary schools, including the Highlander Charter School in Providence, the Fallon Memorial and Elizabeth Baldwin Elementary Schools in Pawtucket and the Fort Barton Elementary School in Tiverton.

“Taking part in this initiative has been an amazing process that has given our school a common curricular vision,” said Suzette Wordell, principal of Fort Barton.

Highlander Dunn Partner Schools See Significant Literacy Gains!

While NECAP scores remained flat at the elementary levels across the state, the four partner elementary schools of the Rhode Island Literacy Project (run by the Highlander Dunn Institute) have experienced significant progress in reading over the past three years since the Project’s launch. “The fact that our four partner schools increased their reading NECAP scores by an average of 9 percentage points in 2010 validates the hard work of teachers, administrators and our Dunn team over the past two years,” said Cathy Sanford, director of the Highlander Dunn Institute.

 

Launched in September 2008 by the Highlander Dunn Institute, the RILP is a 5-year demonstration project initiating school-based literacy reform work in four partner elementary schools, including the Highlander Charter School in Providence, the Fallon Memorial and Elizabeth Baldwin Elementary Schools in Pawtucket and the Fort Barton Elementary School in Tiverton. The RILP places a heavy emphasis on data-driven decision making and creating culture changes across public schools in urban, rural and charter environments.

 

Read the full story in the Pawtucket Times…

Highlander Institute's Article in the Journal of the International Dyslexia Association

As schools continue to wrestle with how to effectively match academic interventions with student needs, the Highlander-Dunn Institute and Cumberland Public Schools have partnered to develop an extended learning time model to raise the literacy proficiency of struggling readers.

The model, which blends research-based literacy interventions with a strong emphasis on data analysis, was launched in two Cumberland elementary schools during the 2009-2010 school year. The catalyst for the initiative was concern over state assessment scores in the district’s higher need schools—and a sense of urgency around increasing intervention time for at-risk students.

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