Ohio Schools Achieve Significant Gains In State Test Scores Using CTB/McGraw-Hill's Acuity

With student data provided by CTB's Acuity, Firelands Local Schools offers individualized learning and improved instruction to create a culture of excellence

Dec 19, 2011, 09:56 ET from CTB/McGraw-Hill

MONTEREY, Calif., Dec. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Firelands Local Schools in Oberlin, Ohio, which has used CTB/McGraw-Hill's Acuity® to inform instruction, promote data-driven decision making and improve student learning since the 2009–2010 school year, has shown significant progress on state tests, according to the district. With accurate, reliable data from the Acuity InFormative Assessment™ solution, district educators have created a culture focused on academic growth and progress that has led to double-digit gains in student performance on the Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAA) in the areas of reading, mathematics and science.

From 2009 to 2011, Firelands students in Grades 3–8 showed an average improvement on the OAA exam of 14.9 percent, the district reported. In addition to test score gains, the district has shown improvements in Ohio's key performance indicators, including the Performance Index, Average Yearly Progress and Value-Added measures. As a result, the district raised its designation from "effective" to "excellent."

"Through the use of CTB's Acuity and its resources, not only has student achievement risen dramatically at Firelands Local Schools, the culture has greatly improved, too," said David Brand, curriculum coordinator for the district and principal of South Amherst Middle School. "The culture of our district has become that of striving for excellence and professional collaboration. It's been only two years, but the growth we've seen is significant."

Firelands Local Schools, which began using Acuity in fall 2009, comprises three schools with a total enrollment of nearly 2,000 students. Developed by CTB/McGraw-Hill in collaboration with educators nationwide, Acuity is a unique integration of predictive and diagnostic assessments, reports, instructional resources, item banks, and item authoring—all aligned to state standards and designed to improve student achievement.

Prior to using Acuity, Firelands Local Schools faced considerable challenges, including stagnant student achievement and poor student performance in Grades 5–8. The district attributed these problems to inconsistent data tracking students' progress toward state standards as well as a lack of predictive assessment data.

"When we first implemented Acuity, we talked with our teachers about why we were seeing poor performance in areas like mathematics. Teachers told us it was not because of a lack of content knowledge or a desire to improve. What they lacked was consistent data about what students actually understood," said Brand. "With Acuity, our teachers now have valuable information about student progress relative to our state standards and assessments. Acuity has helped us truly individualize student learning and improve teachers' instruction."

All Firelands students in Grades 2–8 participate in the Acuity Predictive, Diagnostic and Custom Assessments in reading, language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. All algebra students at the middle and high school levels also use Acuity solutions.

According to the district, having a tailored assessment solution and professional development for its teachers contributed greatly to the boost in student achievement. "CTB/McGraw-Hill has been very helpful in training our staff and customizing the product to fit our needs," Brand said.

The Firelands Local School District encompasses more than 89 square miles and serves 1,887 students in Lorain and Erie counties. In the rural district, 24 percent of students come from economically disadvantaged homes.

To learn more about the gains that the Firelands Local School District has made since using Acuity, please visit CTB.com/casestudies.

About Acuity
The award-winning Acuity InFormative Assessment™ solution helps teachers gauge student performance and deliver tailored instruction for every student. Used by more than 100,000 teachers and 1.5 million students nationwide, Acuity heralds a new generation of assessment, enabling educators to deliver true data-driven instruction. Acuity contains four elements of a comprehensive assessment system: ongoing skills measurement, in-depth reporting, data analysis, and resources for individual instruction and intervention. CTB/McGraw-Hill also offers comprehensive professional development, online community forums, implementation, and support services. In 2010, Acuity swept three industry-leading awards to become the premier interim/formative assessment solution available to schools today. For more information, visit CTB.com/Acuity or call 800.538.9547 to schedule a live presentation.

About CTB/McGraw-Hill
CTB/McGraw-Hill has an 85-year record of innovation and excellence in assessment, and serves more than 18 million students in all 50 states and in 49 countries. One of the first American publishers to introduce objective, standardized achievement tests to schools, today CTB/McGraw-Hill is a leader in testing with recognized products for online interim and formative, adult, and language proficiency assessment. Dedicated to advancing the use of student performance data to inform instructional decision making, CTB/McGraw-Hill's innovation continues today with technologies that include Web-based assessment and reporting, student response device (clicker) software, and artificial intelligence for automated scoring of student essays. CTB/McGraw-Hill is part of McGraw-Hill Education, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP). McGraw-Hill Education is a leading global provider of instructional, assessment and reference solutions that empower professionals and students of all ages. For more information, visit CTB.com.

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