Huntington Middle School
Teachers needed to be able to collect data on student learning for common formative assessments and provide feedback in a timely manner so that they could adjust instruction and meet specific areas of need of students.
Gradient was able to provide immediate feedback for diverse assignments and assessments. The collected data allowed PLCs to analyze student learning in various report visualizations.
As a teacher-driven solution, Gradient provided flexibility and time-saving strategies to support utilizing assessment data as a part of the instructional and learning process.
Warner Robins, GA
Faculty to Student
In 2021, Leshan Ferguson started the ball rolling to bring Gradient to Huntington Middle School. She had used the program previously and she knew that it would be a great fit for the staff at Huntington. The teachers were seeking a solution that was able to check for student understanding on common formative assessments and provide timely feedback. Leshan also knew that it was important to find a solution that would allow teachers to have access anywhere, both at home and at school. Gradient was also a great tool to provide students the practice of taking online assessments in preparation for their Spring state assessments.
Leshan first introduced Gradient to her Science PLC team, using it to collect data on their common assessments. Each teacher signed up for a free trial, so they were given the chance to explore the tool for themselves. Even though they were not able to take advantage of the collective data, each teacher was able to easily share the results for their classes. Their existing system provided very limited data and made it difficult to analyze data for PLC conversations. The teachers loved how Gradient’s reports were so easy and flexible to really dig into what students were learning.
Since the teachers were able to try Gradient out first, they had the ability to share insightful pros and cons with the administrators at Huntington Middle School. Leshan and her team knew that Gradient could meet their need for better data. And it was a solution that the teachers backed and brought to their leaders.
Growing with Data from Gradient
Once Huntington Middle School had deployed Gradient for their entire school, all teachers had access to start collecting and analyzing data on student learning. PLC teams met weekly and used the response data collected during common assessments. Since Gradient assessments could be delivered using forms and scanning or delivered online through the Student Portal, teachers were allowed the option to choose the method that worked best for their classroom flow. Some of the more hesitant staff members were able to start with paper, collecting data using a strategy they were comfortable with. And since both paper and digital data was collected in the same place, all team members could analyze the data together.
“We wanted to see which questions students miss the most. Drilling it all the way down to the specific element or concepts that students are missing the most.”
Teachers loved that reports for assessment data were immediately available and could be analyzed in a variety of ways. They could view data by the student, by class, by teacher, and by standard. According to Leshan, the Student by Question and the Item Analysis reports were particularly helpful to her for targeting specific areas where students needed additional instruction. “We wanted to see which questions students miss the most. Drilling it all the way down to the specific element or concepts that students are missing the most.” said Leshan, “[This] allows us to group our students appropriately by level and maximize academic support time.”
The Math and Social Studies departments were quick to get onboard with using Gradient to create exit tickets and unit tests. And since Gradient was an easy-to-use platform for students as well, they were quick to pick up using the online portal to complete assignments. When students would turn in their assessments online, they immediately saw their results. Leshan used that to support students with building ownership of their learning. “The data is not just for me. The data is also for the students.” shared Leshan. Students were able to immediately see where they needed additional help, which supported ongoing student-teacher conversations to clarify misunderstandings and reflect on what was learned. “Gradient has been instrumental in students being able to maintain their data folders and monitor their own progress.” said Leshan.
“The data is not just for me. The data is also for the students.”
Jump In and Try it Out
When teachers received training on Gradient, they jumped right in and started with navigating and creating a basic assignment. Since she was a previous user at her other school, Leshan helped to train the teachers. She encouraged them to learn by trial and error, since she knew how forgiving and flexible Gradient was. The teachers could create a key and could return to fix incorrect responses or add standards, even after student responses had been scanned in. The data would update automatically.
Since Gradient was so flexible to use, the teachers started sharing their questions, strategies, and tips in group email. Each teacher was able to use Gradient to best meet the needs of their own classrooms.
The ease of access to the platform for both teachers and students was a key function that teachers appreciated in order to flow with what was currently going on in their classrooms. At the start of their Gradient implementation, the students did not yet have 1:1 access to devices, therefore some teachers used paper and others used the Student Portal. Now that the district has gone 1:1 with devices, using Gradient has further added to the positive impact on Huntington Middle School’s culture for using data to enhance student learning.
Gradient became a huge timesaver for the educators at Huntington Middle School. They loved how quickly assignments could be graded and how they were able to immediately provide feedback to students. Gradient even helped with gradebook entry by transferring scores in an instant, removing the delay of having to manually input each score.
Teachers did not shy away from asking questions, which Leshan felt was indicative of how they wanted to take advantage of Gradient’s time-saving solutions. For Leshan, she appreciated how flexible Gradient was for different tasks in her classroom – everything from traditional assignments and lab activities to rubric grading for performance tasks. Gradient was an ideal solution for efficiently collecting learning data and providing accessible reports to support informed instruction.