How do we use the easyCBM program with remote and virtual learning?
While we did not create the easyCBM system with remote learning in mind, we have come up with ways to work with the existing platform.
With the impact of remote instruction on students’ learning still unknown, it is more important than ever that teachers have a way to identify students who are falling behind grade-level expectations so that they can work with parents to ensure that appropriate supports are being provided.
Having an accurate way to monitor students’ progress throughout the year so that changes can be made in the strategies and focus for instruction is even more essential when teachers do not have the benefit of daily in-person interactions with their students. As a result, many districts are asking their teachers to continue to administer Benchmark and Progress Monitoring Assessments or to begin using them for the first time.
The easyCBM assessments can fill this critical need: providing teachers and parents with sensitive measures of student progress. The good news is that as an online system, easyCBM is accessible from any computer with an internet connection. Thus, it is possible for students to be assessed from home.
There are basically three ways in which the easyCBM measures can be administered remotely. They vary in terms of how much control teachers have over the testing environment. As a result, they also vary in how much you can trust that the scores students receive accurately reflect their current knowledge and skill.
The three ways are discussed below, in order of most secure to least secure.
1. Teacher Administers Individually Using “Screen Share”
In this approach, both the teacher and the student need access to a computer/tablet with an internet connection and a camera.
The teacher uses screen sharing to make it possible for the student to see what they are being asked to respond to – in this way, it’s similar to placing a paper copy of the assessment in front of the student, reading the instructions, and then recording their responses.
For fluency-based assessments (LN, LS, SEG, WRF, PRF), the teacher can either use a paper copy of the assessment to record the student’s responses and then later log in to enter them on the system, or they can have a second device logged on to do the data entry using the “Item-Level Data” entry while the student is responding.
Prior to the session:
Download the Student Copy of the different measures you plan to assess and have them readily available on your computer.
Either print an Assessor Copy of each measure for each student you plan to assess or have another device (one the student will not be able to see) logged on to your teacher account in order to do the data entry as the student is responding.
For assessments designed for computer administration (VOC, BRdg, PRdg, and both Basic and Proficient Math), the teacher should log on to the system using the Student Portal and select the name of the student they are testing, as though they were the student. The teacher will share their screen, with the student telling them when they need them to scroll down, etc. As the student selects their answer choice, the teacher will serve as their “mouse” and click the answer choice they have indicated. At the end of the test, the teacher will click “Done”.
Prior to the session:
Be sure that the online tests you want to administer have been “activated” for your students. For Benchmark tests, this means that the Benchmark window must be open. For Progress Monitoring tests, this means that you have “assigned” the test form to the group of which the student is a part.
Here is a link on how to assign online tests: Getting Started With Your easyCBM Account
2. Teacher administers in a Group Setting using an online video-conferencing system (e.g., Zoom or GoToMeeting).
In this approach, both the teacher and the student need access to a computer/tablet with an internet connection and a camera. This approach will not work for individually-administered measures (LN, LS, SEG, WRF, or PRF).
Prior to the session:
Be sure that the online tests you want to administer have been “activated” for your students. For Benchmark tests, this means that the Benchmark window must be open. For Progress Monitoring tests, this means that you have “assigned” the test form to the group of which the student is a part. Here is a link on how to assign online tests: Getting Started With Your easyCBM Account This approach most closely resembles the way in which teachers would administer group tests in a computer lab or classroom setting. The main difference is that the teacher is unable to walk around the room to make sure that students have selected the correct test (both test type and their correct name from the list of students in their group). The teacher and students all log on to the same video conferencing system and then go to the easyCBM site and then students log on using the Student Portal while the teacher logs on using the Teacher Portal. The teacher guides students through the process of selecting the their group, their name, and the test they are supposed to take and then monitors students while they complete the test(s) online.
Expert Tip: The teacher can monitor their students’ progress through the test by going to “Reports Group Test Name” and refreshing their screen every few minutes. As students complete the test and teachers refresh their screen, they will be able to see how many students have completed the test by checking the table and/or Summary bar graph that open up when a particular test is selected from the list.
3. Teacher Assigns the Tests to Students; Students Complete Them Without Teacher Supervision In this approach, the student needs access to a computer/tablet with an internet connection. Fluency-based assessments will require the assistance of a parent/guardian. For the computer-based assessments (Voc, BRdg, PRdg, Math), teachers can either ask students to complete the tests on their own (honor system) or can recruit parents to proctor the tests and verify that the student completed them without assistance.
For fluency-based assessments (LN, LS, SEG, WRF, PRF), the teacher emails PDFs of both the Student and Assessor Copy of the assessments that will be administered to the parent/guardian who will be administering the assessments. The parent/guardian administers the assessment, marking the Assessor copy of the PDFs just as would be done by an assessor at school. They then email a picture or scan of the Assessor Copy PDF back to the teacher, who enters the item-level data into the easyCBM system
For computer-administered assessments (Voc, BRdg, PRdg, Math), students log on to the easyCBM system using the Student Portal, select their Group, select their name, and the test they are to complete, then work their way through the test, just as they would if they were taking it at school. If a teacher would like to work with parents to have students take the online easyCBM measures, they would instruct parents to have their children log on to https://app.easycbm.com/ and then click in the “Student Log In” portal on the left side of the homepage. From there, they will enter the teacher’s Username, then select their Group, their Name, and then the test they want to take, (just as they would if accessing the assessments at school). The key thing to remind parents is that they should verify that their student has, indeed, selected their own name, not anyone else’s.
Prior to the session:
Be sure that the online tests you want to administer have been “activated” for your students. For Benchmark tests, this means that the Benchmark window must be open. For Progress Monitoring tests, this means that you have “assigned” the test form to the group of which the student is a part. Here is a link on how to assign online tests: Getting Started With Your easyCBM Account
Expert Tip: Because this approach is more susceptible to cheating, teachers might want to make a note on the students’ file (this can be entered as an Intervention Note. To access these notes, first create an intervention, and then add a note to it. Create an Intervention for the student to document what is being done, instructionally, for the student (given the challenges of remote instruction, this might be a good idea anyway, to ensure that the school has an accurate record of the instruction being provided – time, amount, frequency, duration, types of activities, etc.)
Things to consider when taking remote online tests
• Ratio of teaching/learning days to testing days. The easyCBM assessments are intended to be used to monitor the progress students make over the course of the year as they receive instruction. Should school closures disrupt students’ opportunity to learn, maintaining the same testing schedule may not make sense. Teachers might need to adjust the frequency of the assessments to fit students’ learning opportunities.
• Fluency tests (e.g., LS, WRF, PRF) need to be administered one-on-one by someone trained in how to administer and score such measures. It is possible for parents/guardians to administer these tests under the direction of the child’s teacher. In this scenario, the person administering the test would send the results to the teacher, who would then enter the data on easyCBM.
• UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should teachers share their log-in credentials with parents/guardians. easyCBM data falls under the same FERPA regulations as teachers’ grade books, and it’s important that access to student data is limited to those people who have a legitimate right to see those data.