A couple of the schools I’ve worked at over the years have used NWEA as our diagnostic assessment. As a previous test and data coordinator, and as a classroom teacher, I’ve spent a lot of time digging into the data and using it to help make instructional decisions. I have used it to help identify students in need of additional supports through MTSS or RtI. It’s helped me decide specific skills to reinforce with my students. I also take a closer look at those students that aren’t making the expected progress to rethink my current work with them and make changes. Here are some of my favorite NWEA resources I use as I’m analyzing the data.
I begin by looking at my students scores in connection with the norms (or the percentiles given). 50th percentile is average, or what is given on the norms chart. NWEA shares their norms along with the standard deviations, so I have created the chart to just include the norms on one page.
Using NWEA Data
Of course, an assessment isn’t very useful if you don’t do anything with the data. Because NWEA isn’t exactly aligned with our standards, I don’t use it in conjunction with them. I always recommend using it when you are looking for what you need to work on with your really low students or your really high students, or students that aren’t showing intended growth. For high students, it can give you some ideas for independent work or what will continue to push their progress forward. For low students, it can tell you what their deficits are in so you know what to target during intervention and reteaching times. Here are some of my favorite NWEA resources when making instructional decisions.
- Learning Continuum: You access the continuum from within the reports site. It gives you specific skills to work on for each RIT band within each domain. Selecting “Test View” allows you to see skills to reinforce and those to begin working on, but aren’t specific with your students. By clicking “class view” you are able to filter by domain and then RIT band to see which students need reinforcement with which skills. The student breakdown by RIT is available in another report, but this is nice because the skills to practice are right next to it. Printing is less than ideal, however.
- RIT to Concepts Charts: The Learning Continuum is not printer friendly, unfortunately. So, another option is using the RIT to Concepts charts to identify skills to practice. These are not as detailed with specific skills, but give you vocabulary and specific skills to reinforce. There are separate charts available for K-2 Growth and 2+ Growth. I printed these, have them available in a folder, and then I print the Class Breakdown Report, by Instructional Area and use them side by side.
- For Idaho Teachers: Another option is the curriculum ladders from For Idado Teachers. Click your subject, then a skill within a domain, and skills by RIT are shown. They offer a printable version that has space for student names which you would then match from the Class Breakdown report. This is nice if you want to see a progression of specific skills. For example, I can look at place value, write my students in, and then get an idea of how I can differentiate my work so each student is working on place value at the skill level they need.
- Khan Academy: Khan Academy allows you, or your students, to enter scores for each domain and get targeted practice (similar to other f0r-purchase programs). They call it “Mappers”. You can read more on their website. Once your class is setup in the program, you can enter the low score for their RIT band for each domain, and they’ll receive targeted practice. I would love to see them come up with Reading support as well!