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Warren County Middle School implemented Yearly ProgressPro™ in 2006 to help students meet rigorous new state performance standards. Since then, the Title I school has improved student learning and achieved significant gains on the Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests. From 2006 to 2008, the percentage of students passing the state tests in English language arts/reading increased from 79 percent to 86 percent; in mathematics, the percentage jumped from 48 percent to 74 percent.
Warren County Middle School (WCMS) is located in Warrenton, GA, a rural community about 40 miles west of Augusta. The Title I school enrolls 158 students; all students receive free breakfast and lunch based on federal poverty guidelines.
"The majority of our students live with grandparents, guardians, foster parents or in single parent homes," said Principal Truett Abbott.
While WCMS students consistently performed well in English language arts, Abbott grew concerned about mathematics as the state launched a new curriculum with rigorous new performance standards in fall 2005.
"The new mathematics curriculum ranks as the fifth most rigorous of the 50 states, compared to a ranking of 45th for the previous curriculum," said Abbott. "To complicate matters, the state rolled out the new math curriculum beginning at the sixth grade level. This meant that students entering our school from fifth grade were already at least two years behind. We knew we had to do something more to prepare our students for this level of work."
WCMS implemented Yearly ProgressPro in fall 2006. Developed by CTB/McGraw-Hill, the online progress monitoring solution combines ongoing formative assessment, prescriptive instruction, reporting, and data management to help educators monitor academic performance and improve student learning.
"We chose Yearly ProgressPro to assist in improving academic performance in the new curriculum and performance on our state tests," said Abbott.
Yearly ProgressPro is built on 25 years of research in curriculum-based measurement (CBM). Unlike mastery measurements that assess mastery of single skills, each CBM test assesses all the different skills covered in the annual curriculum. Through these weekly curriculum-based assessments, Yearly ProgressPro provides detailed diagnostic information on students' progress toward Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals. It is aligned with state and national standards, including the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS).
"I like the idea of testing students in the whole curriculum each week," said Abbott. "Yearly ProgressPro helps students become aware of what they do not know and provides the tools to guide their own learning. Students now raise their hands and say, ï¿½I was doing Yearly ProgressPro and came across this problem I couldn't do. Will you show me how?' When you have children asking to be taught, you no longer have a motivation problem. In public schools, motivation is key to excelling in academics."
All students work on Yearly ProgressPro 35 minutes a day, twice a week in the computer lab. The program is also available for individual classroom assignments.
"The assessments and reports provide a continuous supply of data to evaluate how each student, class, or grade level measures up to the state curriculum," said Abbott. "With this data, teachers can track mastery and retention of grade-level skills, and effectively differentiate instruction."
In addition, some teachers use Yearly ProgressPro to create customized classroom assessments from an extensive item bank. "This allows teachers to measure specific skills as needed," said Abbott.
Yearly ProgressPro also provides tutorial exercises that can be assigned to each student's need and skill level. Each exercise consists of instruction, guided practice lessons, and a graded quiz.
"The exercises provide an individualized program of study for each student," said Abbott.
With Yearly ProgressPro's data management and reporting system, teachers and administrators can track student performance in real time and generate reports at the student, class, school, and district levels.
"I share the reports with everyone, from teachers to the superintendent," said Abbott. "I also compare our current reports to those from the previous two years to make sure we're improving."
In addition, WCMS incorporates Yearly ProgressPro into its RtI program. "We use Yearly ProgressPro to provide academic intervention to students who did not pass our state tests," said Abbott. "We monitor each student's progress and discuss the reports with the classroom teacher, special education teacher, and special education director. It provides us with another way to help individual students excel."
"Our goal is to increase the number of students who pass our state test each year," said Abbott. "We've achieved that both years we've had Yearly ProgressPro."
Thanks to the hard work of students, teachers, and administrators, WCMS is a Title I Distinguished School. It has been featured three times on CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" because of its improvement in state academic test scores, and has been featured twice in the Augusta Chronicle and on local TV stations.
"Yearly ProgressPro has been a significant contributor to the continuous improvement in state test scores in math, and English language arts/reading over the past two years," said Abbott. "It has assisted us in the implementation of a new and much more rigorous state curriculum in these areas. It has provided us with the capacity to continuously monitor student progress toward mastery of curriculum standards. Our current analysis of our Yearly ProgressPro data indicates we're on track to improve again this year."