By PHIL GARBER, Managing Editor Recorder Community Newspapers, Mt. Olive Chronicle
MOUNT OLIVE TWP. - A new educational software system is using standardized tests to help teachers to better track students’ progress and individualize classes to fit the needs, Schools Superintendent Larrie Reynolds said.
The system, LinkIt!, is part of the district’s “Smart Goals” effort and it’s being used in kindergarten through eighth grades and for all special education students. There is not yet a program for high school students in typical classes.
LinkIt! uses its own standardized tests to gauge abilities in language arts and math. The program cost the district about $20,000 a year, about half the cost of the “Learnia” program that was in use last year. Learnia was funded with a state grant for the last five years but the funding has ended and Reynolds said it would have cost about $40,000 to buy the Learnia program.
“We’re using individual student data points for all teaching teams in grades K-8,” Reynolds said. “In education that has been lacking because the technology was not available. This is using technology to more skillfully target information.”
Students were assessed by LinkIt! last month and teachers have since shifted education targets. They expect to meet the new goals as determined through LinkIt! by April, Reynolds said. Students will be assessed and goals revised twice a year. “Teachers are interested in knowing this sort of information because it’s easier to teach when you know what students need to know,” Reynolds said.
The data from LinkIt! also will be used to help guide the district in obtaining other technologies and capital investments.Student achievement in math and reading throughout the district have been continually improving over the last 10 quarters and Reynolds said he expects LinkIt! to result in more progress. The new system will be able to quickly grade children’s abilities through standards, skills or other categories including race, gender, and special programs.It also will help provide information to best place students and it can chart attendance.