Many school leaders all across our country are struggling with how to best implement instructional and assessment practices that align with the Common Core State Standards, or other state learning standards. This is especially true for elementary mathematics—the content area in which most schools are hoping to make substantial improvements in the upcoming school year.
While the methods many are employing focus on tightening alignment between content, instruction, and high-stakes summative assessments, not as much attention is given to formatively assessing student growth and regular progress monitoring.
Reliably accelerating student achievement is a function of personalizing instruction by improving the quality and quantity of learning feedback and monitoring student progress towards mastery. These strategies are associated with exceedingly high gains in student achievement (Hattie, 2009, 2012; Magaña & Haystead, 2013; Magaña & Marzano, 2013, 2014, 2015; Marzano & Haystead, 2009, 2010).
For several years Dr. Sonny Magana and his colleague and co-author, Dr. Robert J. Marzano, have compiled compounding research evidence highlighting reliable methods for improving student achievement. The research strongly indicates that the most effective strategies focus on enhancing the quality and quantity of learning feedback, providing clear unidimensional learning goals, and continuous student progress monitoring. These strategies are correlated with effect sizes of 1.44 (Hattie, 2009; 2012), and 1.60 (Marzano & Haystead, 2009, 2010; Magaña & Haystead, 2013; Magaña & Marzano, 2013; 2014; 2015). Such exceedingly large effect sizes are equivalent to students achieving 4 or more years of academic growth in a single school year.
MasterTrack is a cloud-based progress monitoring system that was designed specifically to support these highly effective feedback and progress monitoring strategies. MasterTrack makes it easy for teachers, principals, and district leaders to assess and monitor student progress on the Common Core State Standards or other state learning standards, in real time. Using a simple 3-point coding scale, teachers use MasterTrack to get clear, actionable data at the right time, and with our innovative monthly virtual data coaching, building leaders can orchestrate significant gains in student achievement.
MasterTrack allows instructional leadership teams to be able to see how their students are performing on the CCSS, not by the results of those examinations, but every week during the instructional phase well before those examinations. Every teacher is able to see precisely how every student in their school or district is progressing towards the CCSS in real time!
MasterTrack allows students to regularly monitor their progress towards the learning outcomes in the CCSS and this feedback helps them plan for achieving mastery with greater precision. Seeing the impact of their effort translated into real progress is highly motivating for students and helps them develop a growth mindset (Dweck, 2006).