K-8 students plus new math resource equals tremendous academic gains for all
When Blue Valley implemented its new K-8 math resource, iReady, at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, it was clear early on that it was a game-changer.
By the end of the school year, teachers were astounded. The impact the math resource had on student learning led to assessment scores that exceeded expectations.
The iReady diagnostic assessments were administered in the fall, winter and spring. From the fall to the spring, students demonstrated substantial growth, far exceeding iReady’s growth benchmarks. Blue Valley students additionally showed tremendous overall scores with students scoring on iReady’s national benchmark 26 percentage points higher than the national population.
The gains can be seen with the district’s highest-achieving students and those who have historically struggled in math.
“In the first year of implementation I think that data is really impressive,” said Adam Wade, Blue Valley’s Director of Academic Programs and Accountability. “Our teachers leaned into the rigor of the resource.”
One of the most important changes students experience with iReady is a stronger incorporation of problem-solving work. This approach allows students to develop a deeper level of conceptual understanding and procedural fluency.
Teachers’ embrace of resource led to successful first year
A lot of work, prior to the start of the 2022-23 school year, went into ensuring teachers began the implementation of the iReady resource prepared and confident.
Jennifer Taylor, the district’s K-8 math coordinator, said many teachers embraced the new resource from the beginning.
District professional learning and a math cadre, consisting of a small group of educators who worked to prepare and train teachers, were just two ways the district worked to prepare staff.
Coaches from iReady came to each building twice a year to meet with teachers individually and help them understand the resource better.
The fall diagnostic provided teachers with baseline data, with the winter diagnostic the first opportunity to clearly measure student growth. Results showed leaning into iReady had proved successful, and teachers were ecstatic.
“Teachers were like, ‘OK, it’s all worth it. This is why we do this,’” Taylor said. “Not that test scores mean everything, but as a system, we have to have something to show growth… We have it now.”
What’s next for student math achievement?
District growth goals for the 2023-24 school year reflect a goal of 80% of students to score in the top two categories of the iReady diagnostic by the end of school.
“We will continue to support students and staff through this work, but the data in year one affirms that we’re on the right path,” Wade said. “When a system streamlines its efforts in terms of a resource, instructional ideas and support, good things happen.”
As students enter the second year of the iReady resource, Taylor hopes that students experience even more success.
“We are going to be able to help teachers help kids realize the importance of the diagnostic so that kids want to do better,” Taylor said. “Now that teachers are seeing how well the kids did, they want to set some goals with their students. I’m hopeful we’ll continue to see growth.”