I am looking for input about the AIMSweb program. There have been many adoption committees I have been on where a textbook/program seems to be approriate but once we start USING it it, it is not the best fit. My team is now researching many other programs that assist us in our progress monitoring for Rti groups, as well as, the rest of the class. I have researched the AIMSweb site and it all "seems" wonderful but wanted opinions from those who use it. What are its best features? What are its worst? Is it user-friendly? Is it missing key components? Does it seem to be on target? Pros/Cons?
I will be bring this information, along with the information I have gathered to our meeting on Wednesday. As I said, we are reviewing our many options. Is there a program you prefer over AIMSweb?
I am a first grade teacher. Our school has been using Aims Web for the last three years. We use it for progress monitoring every two weeks.
Best features - quick understanding of where students are at with benchmark goals. The quick green, yellow, red indicators along with arrows help with a quick visual on student and class achievement. The individual student graphs are helpful when we meet with child study team for at risk students and those being reviewed for special education services. The graphs are also good for showing to parents where their child is at during conferences.
Worst features - Once a student reaches benchmark on one test (first grade we give three assessments throughout the year) it is time consuming to set up the student for the next assessment. Setting up students initially is a tedious process also. All students during set up are listed alphabetically, but you can sort them by grade level, and its easy to get duplicate students from year to year.
My opinion - as a classroom teacher is that these are just like doing a DIBELs test, and it only gives you one bit of information at one point in time. I don't base my reading instruction and teaching of reading strategies and skills just based on how quickly students can read nonsense words, or one passage for fluency.
I know our principal loves this program as have the reading coaches, and they can quickly look at scores for each class. My principal uses the class and grade level graphs for providing information to the district. The coaches have used this data to target interventions for classes at risk. However, it doesn't really tell them everything I know about my students. Also no one besides me is analyzing my individual student assessments to determine what they are struggling with.
Overall, its on target like DIBELs and provides useful information. It can be tedious to schedule the assessments and enter students at the beginning of the year and move them from one assessment to the next in kinder and first grade. I know second and third grade assessments are just for ORF, so this is not an issue for those grade levels. If you are needing a quick way to manage data and have reports generated automatically, this is a useful program.
I teach fifth grade and have to benchmark my kids with AIMsweb 3 times a year. It is just a waste of time and measures absolutely nothing useful. It is strictly based on how fast a kid can read, do math, or write. We have 3 fluency passages (done individually), one reading maze, two math tests, and one writing. It takes me about 40 minutes to give my class all the tests except the fluency ones. Fortunately, I have an aide for 70 minutes a day and she gives the fluency ones. It takes me about 3 hours to score and record all the information. I wouldn't mind if it actually gave me some useful information. It doesn't.
Our principal loves it because you can get all kinds of graphs and data charts from it. Big decisions are made from the information, but the information isn't really about anything just a kid's speed in completing some very short tasks.
AIMSweb is a progress monitoring tool and I like it b/c it offers more than just probes for reading fluency. You can use it to monitor reading, writing, and math. Each area has more subcategories that you can test. Does it fit in with what you are looking for? I can't say specifically but AIMSweb is mainly designed for RTI. You can progress monitor specific skill or general skills. I think you will find that many of the progress monitoring tools out there are similar. Monitoring reading fluency has been around and similar formats are used in DIBLEs and at the Intervention Central website. AIMSweb just puts it into a nice little package for you.
As a special education teacher, I've given plenty of specialized diagnostic tests in reading. AIMSweb has given me similar results in reading fluency and comprehension. I'd say from my experience, it's a one of the better progress monitoring tools out there. If you have people who are trained to use the AIMSweb program, it becomes much easier. I've never really liked the online data entering part. I use my own charts to track data. I have heard that it's become easier and a little more user friendly but I just haven't found the time to relearn the data entry portion.
I think the key to making RTI work, isn't which program you are going to use. It really how knowledgable your administration is, do you have admin support, is everyone on the same page? Are you going to have something taken off your plate to make room for AIMSweb/RTI?
Our school uses it and it's okay. I don't think it's as useful for the general classroom teacher as some other assessments, but it is useful for progress monitoring - so if you have a reading specialist or Title I teacher or someone else who specifically does interventions with students, this would be helpful. Our school uses it to benchmark everyone and progress monitor students in pull-out intervention programs. Also, classroom teachers do not enter data - we have a small team who do the assessments and data entry for the whole school.
Finally, we use the AIMSweb benchmarks to flag kids for intervention, but it's not the only data we use. Once they're flagged, their is a qualification sheet that looks at things like teacher recommendation for intervention, other testing data, and classroom grades before they're placed in a pull-out intervention program. This is to accommodate for things like test anxiety.