Improving Teacher Experience; Improving Learner Experience

At 50 years young, Curriculum Associates has put mission and long-term values first in charting a path to its current position as an industry leader. For many, it may be the most important edtech success story you don’t know about.

Headquartered in North Billerica, Massachusetts, this self-professed “service-obsessed” edtech company has taken a very different path from many of its competitors. After decades as a print workbook publisher, 10 years ago Curriculum Associates began bootstrapping an adaptive learning business from scratch to meet the demands of new, more rigorous standards. Over the years, they’ve continued to extend their impact by listening to educators and continually updating and improving their solutions.

Much of the company’s success in the last 10 years has been driven by their adaptive math and reading product, i-Ready, often used in a blended classroom in combination with Ready (a rigorous instruction and practice program for K-8 reading, writing and math).

In keeping with their commitment to ensuring students and teachers have the best possible tools for success, Curriculum Associates has made four major updates to their i-Ready program just in time for back-to-school season:

1. Improved Teacher Experience.

The i-Ready teacher interface is new and improved based on feedback from thousands of educators, rigorous testing, and research into what actually works in the classroom when it comes to effective implementation and teacher support.

The data available is now more simplified, succinct and actionable, freeing educators to spend more time where it matters most – with students. With the new interface also comes updated alerts, reporting and recommendations that help educators differentiate instruction, monitor progress, and drive growth for students.

The overall design is set up to work the way we know helps students the most and will encourage implementation with fidelity. By making data access and goal-setting simpler for teachers, the new interface will help make data discussions part of classroom culture and give students more involvement in their learning.

2.  Major Expansion in K-5 Math and Reading Lessons

Based on cutting-edge research on how students learn best in a digital environment, i-Ready has added lessons for both math and reading that keep learners focused and engaged. Informed by leading researchers, these interactive lessons were created to build rich conceptual understanding and provide meaningful feedback to motivate students to persevere.

There are over 100 new reading lessons and full new range of math lessons, including instruction that helps Kindergarten students build the foundational skills they’ll need to succeed in Math.

3. Differentiated Growth Measures.

Perhaps most exciting is the introduction of a new, differentiated growth model. Based on research into the growth of millions of i-Ready students, a student will get two personalized, complementary benchmarks for growth at the start of the school year:

  • Typical growth – The average growth for students at a similar starting point.
  • Stretch growth – A more ambitious target that shows the amount a student needs to grow to get on track for grade-level proficiency or improve beyond proficiency.

Stretch growth is a particularly powerful tool for teachers whose students are showing growth but perhaps aren’t quite at grade level. Stretch Growth provides an aspirational path for students, illuminating how much growth a learner should shoot for to reach proficiency goals. See this recent post on the importance of assessing growth measures in support of learners, educators and leaders. The goal of this new model is to provide educators with better insight into how students grow, and more personalized benchmarks for understanding student growth.

4. Technology Enhancements.

i-Ready is now a complete HTML5 experience, making it fully available for student use on a supported iPad. This update ensures better access for students in classrooms with iPads, more accessibility for early learners, and opens up more opportunities for students to access instruction from home.

Curriculum Associates’ commitment to continued improvement doesn’t stop there. The team has more new releases planned through the year. In support of educators navigating these program updates, they’ve also posted extensive training materials, including videos and webinars, and on-demand support is available.

With this latest release, it’s clear this company is continuing to live its founding mission of “making classrooms better places for teachers and students.” We look forward to seeing what’s next!

For more, see:

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Jessica Slusser

Jessica is the Senior Director of Impact at Getting Smart. She leads business development and growth of advocacy campaigns, advisory services, product development, marketing, and Getting Smart's blog. As part of her role, Jessica also oversees team events, conferences, and speaking engagements.

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