FAQs for Using Data to Guide Learning

Why doesn't Track My Progress provide a score for every standard?

Track My Progress provides scores at the 'subject' and the 'domain' levels. This means you will find Reading and Math scores for students at the subject level. At the domain level you will find scores for the different 'strands' or 'domains' for each subject.

Track My Progress is focused on providing an efficient assessment that does not monopolize instructional time and does not overwhelm or discourage students. To that end we do not assess students in every Common Core standard in every test session. The Math test delivers 30 test questions, the reading test 25. In order to provide an accurate and reliable score on each standard for each student we would need to test each standard 3-5 times which would make for a lengthy and possibly discouraging test experience for students.

The Track My Progress focus on subjects and domains provides a high-level view of student progress without compromising instructional time or student and staff morale. The subject and domain scores offer sufficient detail for pinpointing strengths and weaknesses and gauging progress over time. The drill-down view of the specific test question performance allows for test question analysis that can complete the picture for a teacher to move forward with their students.

Why is Track My Progress referred to as a 'transparent assessment?'

We believe that for an educational assessment to truly improve learning it must be transparent. This means that educators can see every test question seen by every student. Educators can see the answers that students provided and how much time they spend on each test question. Additionally, educators can use the 'improve this question' feature to submit feedback to our test question development team, thereby providing educators with a voice in the development and content of the test.

We have learned from experience that using assessment data without this transparency can be limiting. For example, learning that a student received a low score for Foundational Reading would indicate that the student needs additional support in this area. However, if we can also see that the student skipped several of these questions, spent 3 seconds on another question and clearly guessed at the last it helps us understand that the student may need support with engagement and motivation more than the actual skills in the Foundational Reading domain. A test that is not transparent fails to provide the story and context behind the scores to intervene responsibly.

Should we change the default cut scores for the color categories?

For many schools the default cut scores for the definition of red, yellow, blue and green scores is sufficient to identify learning groups, students 'at-risk' for falling further behind their peers and students who are ready for more of a challenge. If your school staff does not have experience with universal screening and benchmarking students you may want to continue with the default cut scores. You can learn more about Track My Progress cut scores and color categories in this article, and you can learn more about universal screening in this article. Here are a few examples of scenarios where schools did decide to change the default cut scores:

  • Most teachers only see students with scores in the blue and green color categories. This occurs at a school that is performing above the national average and nearly all students are above the 40th percentile. It can be valuable to adjust the cut scores to identify the students that are falling behind their peer group. If a student is at the 40th percentile and the core of the class is closer to the 65th percentile this student may still need additional support to close the gap or not fall further behind.
  • Most teachers only see students with scores in the red and yellow color categories. This occurs at a school that is performing below the national average and most of the student are below the 40th percentile. It will not be possible to provide additional or intensive interventions to all students identified as 'at-risk.' However, there will likely still be students who are behind their peer group and will need additional support to close the gap and not fall further behind.
  • Your state or district has a prescribed definition for 'at-risk' and/or 'borderline.' If your school is already working with a prescribed definition of 'at-risk' and/or 'borderline' it can be helpful for school staff to have the Track My Progress cut scores updated to match. This will keep everyone on the same page in terms of definitions and conventions.

I would like to set an end of year goal for my students using Track My Progress scale scores. Is this appropriate?

Track My Progress scores are based on U.S. national averages and they are expressed on a common numeric scale across grade levels and subjects. The Track My Progress scale uses standardized measurement units to track student progress. Each unit on the scale represents the same amount of progress regardless of where the student is located on the scale. This means you can use the Track My Progress scale scores and expected growth table to set goals for your students. You can learn more about the goal setting process in this article.

It is important to keep in mind the Track My Progress philosophy of using multiple data points in your educational decision making. For example, the overall trend of four Track My Progress scores is a better indicator of student progress than leveraging the one end of year score. Additionally, it is best to coordinate your Track My Progress goal setting with other sources of data. You can learn more about the importance of using multiple data points in your educational decision making in this article.

Can we use Track My Progress for universal screening?

Yes. You can learn more about using Track My Progress for universal screening in this article.

How do I see a report on how all of my students did with a particular test question?

Track My Progress is an adaptive assessment. This means that each test is customized to the particular learning zone of each student. As a result students are typically seeing different questions for each test and it is not possible to report on how all of your student did on a particular question. You can learn more about the Track My Progress computer adaptive test technology in this article.

Do the assessments get harder from one test window to the next?

Track My Progress assessments are adaptive. This means that the difficulty level of the assessment is determined by what the student is ready for. You can learn more about this approach here.

For example, most students will make expected progress from the fall assessment to the winter assessment. For these students, because of their increased learning over the past few months, they will be able to handle and will see more challenging test questions on their winter assessment than what they experienced in the fall. However, for a struggling student who did not make much progress over the past few months the winter assessment questions could be the same difficulty as the fall.

What does change from test window to test window are the norms. These are the percentile scores on the School Administrator interface as well as the colors in the graphs. For example, a grade one student might have a score of 472 in the fall which would be blue (on grade level). If that student earned a score of 472 in the winter it would be yellow (borderline) because the peer group of first grade students across the country made progress while this student did not. By the end of the year if this student scored 472 it would be in red (at-risk) because the peer group has made progress over the year which is reflected in the updated norms each test window.

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