School Differentiates Instruction and Gets Parents Involved Using Instant Data from Early Childhood Assessment
Honolulu, HI | serving 710 students in PK-6
Moanalua Elementary School is one of four elementary schools in the Moanalua complex in Honolulu. This high-performing school uses the Children’s Progress Academic Assessment (CPAA) for screening and helping to plan instruction in kindergarten through grade 2. The CPAA serves as an instructional resource not just for teachers and administrators, but also for parents.
The CPAA is easy to use. We like the fact that our students are engaged and we receive performance and progress data, as well as suggested activities, instantly.
“Before we started using the CPAA, we were using a progress monitoring measure that was good at giving us snapshots in time but didn’t offer teachers and parents a strategy for using that data to affect teaching,” says the school’s Curriculum Coordinator, Lani Arakaki.
Moanalua’s educators wanted to add a formative assessment component to their toolkit that would be quick and easy for teachers to administer but that would also provide them with specific recommended next steps based on student performance.
The school’s teachers use the CPAA for screening three times a year and for checking up on student progress more frequently (as needed) in kindergarten through grade 2.
Describing how she uses the program in her classroom, Kindergarten Head Teacher Jenifer Lau says she first reviews her classroom report to determine how her students did overall and then drills down to view additional detail for those who are struggling in particular areas. She also shares parent reports with families during conferences. “I really like the computer administration format. Students can go on and complete the assessment on their own. The other important thing for me is being able to see the results right away. It’s great that I can also use it to monitor student progress,” she shares.
Second Grade Head Teacher Lori Arai-Shiraishi also likes sharing her students’ reports with parents to help ensure that targeted learning continues beyond the classroom. “CPAA reports help me look for areas of need and adjust my curriculum to my students in specific areas like phonics and spelling,” she adds.
First grade Head Teacher Sherri Koide says, “The CPAA helps us get an initial picture of where our kids are at. Plus the detailed reports give us ideas about where the kids are having any difficulties. It’s short and easy to use.”
Teachers use CPAA data alongside classroom observations to group students into reading centers. Reading support also continues beyond classroom time for students who need it. Moanalua has a reading specialist who holds 30 minute pull-out sessions two times a week. The specialist sometimes uses CPAA activities for these sessions and also re-administers the assessment more frequently to assess progress. The specialist then shares data with classroom teachers to help the team stay on the same page.
In order to ensure that the CPAA is used in a formative (as opposed to summative) manner, Arakaki mentions that the school’s administrators do not use the data for comparing teachers. It is used as a classroom tool, meant to help with differentiation and instructional planning.
The Pros of a 1-on-1 Assessment Without the Cons
Arakaki says, “The CPAA is like a one-on-one assessment between the child and the computer.” Compared to an oral individually-administered measure, CPAA administration for a full classroom is more streamlined, children are more engaged and the individualized feedback is tailored to each student without any additional time burden for teachers. The immediately generated web-based reports make it easy to act on the data right away.
Instant Data Informs Instructional Planning
Arakaki and Moanalua’s teachers mention the CPAA’s instant performance and progress information helps inform classroom planning and the recommended activities provide ideas of next steps for teachers and specialists.
“We are at the first phase of implementing RTI more systematically. We have the monitoring devices in place,” Arakaki shares. She also adds, “There are several elementary schools in our complex using the CPAA. At the administrative level, we are looking forward to using the data to review whether there are areas of need overall.”
Parent Reports Keep Families Informed
Moanalua’s educators enjoy being able to share student assessment results with parents. CPAA parent reports contain not only a summary of performance but also suggested activities that parents can try at home to reinforce specific concepts or provide an additional challenge for a high-performing student.