by Joan Reissman, Alignment Maven
Software is an integral part of today’s learning environment. There are many excellent and robust software programs, but they do not run themselves. The teacher still needs to know what to teach her students. This academic year of the virus presents unprecedented challenges. Not only will teachers not meet their students personally, but they will have to assess what each student has retained from last year to know where to start this year. They will have to gauge how much review is needed and figure out how to differentiate instruction for individual student needs. This is where JFYNet can help.
Making the best use of instructional time is more important than ever this year. Teachers will need alignments so they can meet learning objectives while filling in gaps. They will also need to prepare for standardized assessments. All these tasks become manageable with support from JFYNet.
MCAS tests were not given last spring, but students will still need to pass them in order to graduate. Schedules will be adjusted to make up for missed dates. Managing learning losses and gaps will make it doubly difficult to prepare for standardized tests. JYFNet has been helping teachers prepare students for MCAS for twenty years. We’ve done the analytics: we know the test inside and out. We can ensure that while your students are working their way through the grade level standards, they don’t miss any frequently tested topics.
We provide teachers with frequent reports on student performance so they can tweak assignments as needed. With so much ground to cover and so little time, it’s critical to know which topics are likely to appear on the test so that your students are not unprepared. Gearing up for MCAS and building a solid foundation for the future by learning grade-level skills are not mutually exclusive goals. In fact, they are mutually supportive.
Our curriculum alignments are not just geared to standardized tests. JFYNet’s baseline goal is to help students build foundational math and language skills. We create our curriculum alignments to help students learn and practice the skills they need to succeed in school and in life. Our curriculum is adaptive, so students are always getting exactly what they need. In language arts, the texts are at their measured reading level so that they can build their Lexile level and become better readers. Our math alignments are also adaptive: students work at their demonstrated mastery level.
JFYNet also tailors alignments to specific needs. When DESE released interim standards in April, JFY responded with a comparison of the interim standards, the comprehensive curriculum standards, and those most frequently tested on the MCAS. We classified all Massachusetts standards for grades 6-10 as comprehensive, interim and MCAS tested. These classifications will help teachers assess students this year, build foundation skills and prepare for future high stakes testing. We also created focused math tasks for this period. These tasks will help direct review this year.
JFYNet’s alignments help teachers focus on giving just-in-time assignments. We facilitate the dual tasks of curriculum support and filling in gaps. Students build skills by reviewing foundational topics that help them progress and meet the skill level of the curriculum they are studying.
Our combination of academic support and data driven instruction helps teachers build programs that meet their students’ needs. Our Learning Specialists adapt online instruction for any learning model by building online learning programs that seamlessly integrate review, current year standards, and test readiness. Our goal is to help teachers and students meet their goals. In a year when the goal posts seem to be moving every day, teachers need all the help they can get. JFYNet helps everyone on the team keep their eye on the ball.
Joan Reissman, the Alignment Maven, has been a JFYNet Learning Specialist since 2000. She is also known as the MCAS Maven.
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