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Aimsweb - what can you tell me?
Old 02-28-2015, 07:32 AM
 
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Our principal said we will probably be using Aimsweb for assessing next year. We do not know anything about it. Can anyone share what they like or don't like about it? Is it easy to give? Thanks


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We absolutely hate it!
Old 02-28-2015, 08:50 AM
 
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I teach first grade. We teach our kids to look for meaning to help them figure out a word. We also teach them to use the picture to get clues. Aims webs tests nonsense words and gives timed reading tests. By our way of thinking, it tests word calling--not reading. There is no comprehension component, no meaning involved.
The math is okay, except for the fact that everything is timed. Some kids just don't do well with timed tests. We've found that our really bright kids score low because they overthink things.
I do like the charts and graphs, and the way it helps you know who needs extra help before it's too late. But we found that we couldn't divide kids into groups using their formula because some of the data is missing in first grade.
If you like a quick test that you can give one-on-one in five minutes per kid, it's great. If you like graphs and charts, it's great. If you care more about comprehension than word calling, you won't like it.
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aimsweb
Old 02-28-2015, 03:05 PM
 
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We use the probes for progress monitoring for some kids who are in Rti, depending on their intervention, but we do not test school-wide. I see no reason to do that.
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We just started to test
Old 02-28-2015, 03:22 PM
 
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We test all the students in first grade. I don't find it accurate for the reasons that linda2671 stated. My students after they begin to read will do poorly when they read the nonsense words because they want to make sense and real words out of them.
I have been notified by the staff giving the test which students are "at risk" Two of the "at risk" students are in my top reading group and 1 is in the next highest. I don't think it is a useful measure for the classroom teacher, but I have seen studies that show it pretty accurately predicts how students will do on the state test in 3rd grade.

It's all about the test.
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Old 02-28-2015, 05:46 PM
 
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I teach third grade and we use both the MCOMP and the reading fluency probes as screeners for our whole school. If kids come up as below the targets, we talk about them and whether or not they need further help or RtI. Used in this way, I think it's fine.

I guess I would say it depends on how it's used. If it was a be all, end all I wouldn't like it. But as a screening tool, fine.


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Agree
Old 02-28-2015, 06:16 PM
 
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I agree with linda2671. It goes against what we teach kids to do. Work carefully, but if you speak too slowly when counting or if you repeat your answer when reading you'll end up identified for RTI. Like the pp said if it is just to screen it is okay, but it can be very time consuming. At the beginning of the year we were required to do all (I think 11?) probes in first grade. The program can be very slow to load and crashed a lot for us. A one minute probe takes more like 3-4 minutes per student x 11 probes x 20 kids. There were many hours of lost teaching time so we could do all of the assessments. It was very hard to find time to pull the kids when the rest of the class isn't into a routine yet. Now we've cut down on the number of probes we do for benchmark testing which helps.
You really have to use your judgement if the kid truly needs RTI even if he/she didn't do well on the tests. Hopefully your admin realizes that the teacher knows the kids and if they are truly struggling with something.
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had to use it
Old 02-28-2015, 06:35 PM
 
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Last year our entire district used it and I hated it. I felt a sick feeling and a knot in my stomach each time I gave a progress monitoring test to a kiddo when I knew it went against all the training I had on how to teach reading.
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:10 PM
 
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[QUOTE][we use both the MCOMP and the reading fluency probes as screeners for our whole school. If kids come up as below the targets, we talk about them and whether or not they need further help or RtI. Used in this way, I think it's fine. /QUOTE
This is the same at our school. We do not use the nonsense words. In first grade, we have found the fluency test to be a good indicator for interventions. We are lucky that teacher input is more important than scores.
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:35 AM
 
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We have used this for several years. It is a good initial screening tool; however, I have the same complaints as linda2761. I already know which students are good readers and which ones struggle. I do not need a test to tell me that! Good readers will do well on reading fluency despite the fact that there is no passage introduction, discussion of prior knowledge, pictures, etc. Readers who struggle even with the use of these prompts and strategies will be entirely frustrated.
We use the assessments to group students for reading enrichment and intervention, RTI, progress monitoring, and the vendor approved assessment that determines whether our students make a year's worth of growth which is 50% of our evaluation. Last year, I had several students who were reading between 90 and 150 words a minute in first grade and the class as a whole still only made average growth based on national norms.
If a teacher scored Accomplished on an evaluation (two formal evaluations and several walkthroughs), the students had to meet above or well above average growth in both reading and math in order for the teacher to remain at the accomplished level. However, I believe that a teacher could score in the skilled category based on observation and the students could make above or well above average growth and the teacher's rating would move up to accomplished.
These assessments are 1 minute each and are given 3 times a year. It is a snapshot in time that is being used to determine a student's yearly growth and teacher effectiveness.
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Old 03-02-2015, 04:43 PM
 
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I have been using it about 6 years. I like it as one tool to monitor progress.

We benchmark reading three times a year- 1 minute to read as many words in the passage as possible. So it is JUST A FLUENCY probe. I think when you look at it as only one measure of reading, it doesn't give you a good picture. However, when I have a second grader that can only read 7 words in a minute, there is a problem. I think it's also helped with my instruction- fluency is something I never really spent time on. Now, it is something that I focus on regularly. Every time I do a running record, I take the student's WPM- which is one of the areas looked at on a DRA. I also like the progress monitoring- it's quick and easy to do with your Tier 3 kiddos every week since it is only one minute. The graph for those students is helpful when you are considering students for SPED. The graph is really good documentation for a child that is not making progress because it calculates their rate of improvement. As others mentioned, you can't use it as the only measure for reading. I use this, running records, DRAs, and comprehension checks to monitor.

I find the MComp (math) really hard! The MComp is benchmarked for all students 3 times a year too. Most of our students don't have very good computational fluency- they are counting on fingers and making tally marks, which obviously slows them down. They have 8 minutes to finish as many of the 25 problems as possible. I used the progress monitoring for this too, for students that I had in a math intervention.

One other advantage is that it is nationally normed- you can tell a parent or administration exactly what percentile a child falls nationally. So for some of my intervention meetings, it's been helpful to say "this child is below the first percentile nationally" instead of just saying that they are really struggling with their math facts.


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