RTI Success and Beyond with Edmentum and NWEA in Navasota, Texas
RTI Success and Beyond with Edmentum and NWEA in Navasota, Texas
Navasota ISD, Navasota, Texas
Navasota Independent School District serves the students of Navasota, Texas, a mostly rural community located 71 miles northwest of Houston. At the start of the 2017–18 school year, the then-new assistant superintendent of instruction and learning, Dr. Tracy Brewer, and her team identified a gap in the district’s instructional program—it didn’t have a consistent way to effectively identify students for response to intervention (RTI), which meant that it would be difficult for the district to provide appropriate tiered interventions for struggling learners.
Navasota ISD’s implementation kicked off in the fall of 2017, spearheaded by Amberly Kolby, district testing coordinator, and Jo Anna Moreland, instructional resource coordinator. Ms. Kolby and Ms. Moreland made sure that all teachers were trained on how to use NWEA MAP Growth; Study Island, Edmentum’s K–12 practice and assessment program; and Exact Path, Edmentum’s K–12 individualized learning program. Navasota ISD’s Edmentum consultant, Jeri Trice, led the trainings for Exact Path and Study Island.
“[Jeri] has been very good about coming out and meeting with teachers during PLCs,” explained Ms. Moreland. “. . . Which is nice, because it individualizes the subject theory that they’re in, and each time she comes, I think she adds a bit more and they begin to understand a little more about what all is in Exact Path, how to look at the data, and how to use the data in the classroom. We love Jeri; she’s great.”
Once students completed their NWEA MAP Growth assessments, Ms. Moreland uploaded the results into Study Island and Exact Path, which generated individualized learning paths for each student. On the elementary campuses, students use Exact Path and Study Island during station rotation time. Teachers decide when students will use each program based on the students’ needs. Many times, tier 1 intervention students work on Study Island for practice, and tier 2 and 3 students work on Exact Path for intervention and additional instruction. Teachers in Navasota ISD love how the programs help them differentiate instruction and keep track of how their students are performing.
“I’ve had several teachers say, ‘I love it [Exact Path]. I open it up—I see my notifications, and that’s what I use to create my groups for my centers for the week because I know which kids need help in those particular skills,’” said Ms. Moreland. “I mean, if they’re struggling, you’re going to know, and it gives you an opportunity to help that student.”
Educators in Navasota ISD also like that Exact Path can provide accelerated instruction to advanced students because the program includes curricula that span K–12 and provide age-appropriate options for addressing higher- and lower-level skills.
“It’s also good for the gifted and talented students; it challenges them, which is good because we need them to grow as well,” said Ms. Moreland. “It’s been very beneficial for them.”
In addition to utilizing the individualized learning paths in Exact Path, elementary teachers in Navasota ISD also use the assignments feature to assign specific lessons to individual students or to the entire class to support what is being taught based on the district’s scope and sequence.
Although the Edmentum implementation at Navasota Junior High School looks quite different from that of the elementary schools, the programs are still being used with fidelity. Nearly all 8th grade students have an assigned class period in which they use Exact Path, while 6th and 7th grade students identified as needing targeted intervention are enrolled into an intervention class period in which they use the program. The intervention classes are small, and while the intervention teacher is working with an individual student or a small group, the other students work on Exact Path.
“The teacher looks at the data [from Exact Path] to know which students to pull at the same time, which students are struggling in the same areas, and so they use that to help guide who they pull and what they work on,” explained Ms. Kolby.
Navasota Junior High School students also use Exact Path and Study Island one to two days a week during their technology applications classes, and many students also use Study Island at home and during after-school tutoring.
In addition to the high-quality instruction, practice, and data, there are a few additional features in Exact Path and Study Island that teachers across Navasota ISD really love:
The content drawer accessible from the Learning Path page or Knowledge Map in Exact Path that contains student and teacher resources aligned to each skill
“A lot of the teachers use these resources for particular skills, like to introduce the skill to the whole class, so they'll use the videos, which are available for you,” Ms. Moreland explained. “There are also worksheets—if maybe they need something for a center, they can use those.”
The gamification elements in both programs, Study Island games and Exact Path challenges, that make them more fun and engaging for student
“They only get to [play the game] if they get the answer correct,” said Ms. Moreland. “And, so it really encourages them to get the answer right. It amazes me what they’ll do to play games.”
The flexibility to accommodate new students with auto-generated instructional pathways
“When we have new students come in, like now when we’re between our testing windows in math, a teacher can go in and set a path for that student,” said Ms. Moreland. “She can set that path to start them on grade level . . . or maybe she has some records to show her they may need to start back a little bit. She can go in and actually do that.”
Through the integration of NWEA MAP Growth with Exact Path and Study Island, Navasota ISD now has the RTI program the district set out to build and much more.
“[The programs] were initially purchased for help with RTI . . . but it’s grown into more than just that— but then because all students used it, it’s just kind of exceeded what we were initially hoping for,” reported Ms. Kolby.
“We love Edmentum,” proclaimed Ms. Moreland. “We love their products. The kids love Study Island. They love Exact Path. . . . I just can’t say enough about the combination of [NWEA] MAP and Edmentum and what it’s done for our kids.”
Many students across the district have demonstrated growth and improved achievement through the use of the programs, including the intervention students at Navasota Junior High School, who are students who had failed the STAAR, the Texas state assessment, the prior year. Of the intervention students, 70 percent of the 6th grade students met either their expected or accelerated growth measure on the math STAAR, 78 percent of 7th grade students met their expected or accelerated math growth measure, and 75 percent of 8th grade students demonstrated expected or accelerated growth in math. Additionally, 64 percent of 7th grade students showed expected or accelerated growth in reading, and the number was 73 percent for 8th grade reading.
“So, we are very pleased with those numbers,” said Monica Guerrero, Navasota Junior High School assistant principal. “And, we attribute that to, of course, the instruction from the teacher, but that instruction included a lot of Exact Path practice and integrating Study Island lessons—the kids, we felt, were really engaged in them. Exact Path really broke it down to the kid level, so we had some students that may be in 8th grade, but they missed a 3rd grade standard, and so then, Exact Path would then go back to those things they missed and pick that up. And then, Study Island kind of lets them practice on their grade level. So, we felt it was the best of both worlds, and we expect to see that same growth this year with using both of those programs in the classroom.”
“We love Edmentum. We love their products. The kids love Study Island; they love Exact Path. . . . I just can’t say enough about the combination of [NWEA] MAP and Edmentum and what it’s done for our kids.”