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NEWS AND EVENTS
Follow Us!
RBHS Important Dates

 
1/28-1/29                       First semester finals
1/29       Thursday          End of first semester
1/30       Friday              No School - Day between semesters
2/3-2/5                          End of Course Exam retakes
2/5         Thursday         Open House   6 - 7:30 pm
2/11       Wednesday      School Tour   8 - 9:30 am
2/16       Monday            President's Day - No School
2/17       Tuesday           Mid-Winter Break - No School 
2/19       Thursday          School Tour   8 - 9:30 am
3/5         Thursday          School Tour   8 - 9:30 am

Many Scholarship Deadlines are approaching visit the Counselor's Corner Blog or visit the counseling office for a copy of a list of available Scholarships. 

January 20, 2015 | Contact:            (206) 252-6350

Final Exam Schedule Jan 28th and 29th

  

Wednesday /Thursday                                                                                     

1               7:50-9:20

Break  9:20-9:35

3               9:40-11:10

Lunch 11:10-11:40

5          11:45-1:15

7               1:20-2:50

 

AS        7:50-9:15

Break  9:15-9:30

2           9:35-11:05

Lunch 11:05-11:40

4          11:45-1:15

6          1:20-2:50

 

 

 
January 28, 2015 | Contact:            (206) 252-6350

Parent Survey
 
CLICK HERE

The counseling deparment needs your feedback! We want to know how we can better serve our community of parents and students. Please fill out the parent survey here. We need to here from you! The survey is open until January 31st and we will be raffling off two starbucks gift cards to parents who fill out the survey, be sure to enter your email address to be eligible.


Athletic Activities for the week of 1/26-1/31

Mon. Jan. 26th

          C Team Basketball @ Ballard 7:00

Tues. Jan. 27th

          Var. B/Basketball @ Ballard 7:30

          JV B/Basketball @ Ballard 5:45

          Var. Wrestling v. O’Dea 6:30

 ed. Jan. 28th

          Var. G/Basketball @ Ballard 7:30

          JV. G/Basketball @ Ballard 5:45 

Thurs. Jan. 29th

          Var. Wrestling @ Chief Sealth 6:30

Fri. Jan. 30th

          Var. B/ Basketball v. Bishop Blanchet 8:00

          Var. G/Basketball v. Bishop Blanchet 6:30

          JV. B/Basketball v. Bishop Blanchet 5:00

          JV. G/Basketball. v. Bishop Blanchet 3:30

Sat. Jan. 31st

          C Team B/Basketball @ Bishop Blanchet 2:00

 Victory belongs to the most persevering.

-- Napoleon


 January 26, 2015   
 Contact:            (206) 252-6350


 
Open House/ School Tours
       2/5     6 - 7:30 pm
       2/11   8 - 9:30 am
       2/19   8 - 9:30 am
       3/5     8 - 9:30 am
Free Tax Preparation Help!
Tax help is available Jan. 13 to April 18, 2015, at Seattle Goodwill Job Training and Education Center located at corner of Dearborn and Rainier!

Mon, Weds: 5–9 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Closed on February 16th

If your household makes less than $60,000, free help filing your taxes—no appointment needed and no fees to pay.

Plus, get additional services, including signing up for health care and public benefits and pulling your free credit report.


 
Scholarship Deadlines!!!!
Juniors and Seniors please be sure to go to the Scholarships and the Counseling Corner pages for Scholarship information. Deadlines are quickly approaching. Please fill out your applications ASAP!

Online Credit Retrieval Information - Apex

Research Put into Practice:

Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

Allison Moore, M. Ed

Learning Scientist

University of Washington

Tom Baer, M. Ed

Educational Technology Specialist

University of Washington

July 2010

Copyright © 2010 Apex Learning Inc. Apex Learning®, the Apex Learning logo, ClassTools®, ClassTools Achieve®, ClassTools Virtual™,

Literacy Advantage™, and Beyond Books® are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Apex Learning Inc. 1 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

Introduction

Apex Learning® was founded in the late 1990s as one of the world’s first providers

of fully online, digital curriculum for secondary education, at a time when online learning

was beginning to enter the popular lexicon. From the start, Apex Learning has paid close

attention to how students learn and how digital curriculum can support learning.

The introduction to this white paper begins with a discussion about how learning sciences

define learning and the learning experiences students need exposure to in order to be

prepared for college, work, and life. The paper then presents how research on learning

theory has been put into practice in the development of Apex Learning digital curriculum.

How Learning Sciences Define Learning

The National Research Council’s seminal book How People Learn (HPL): Brain, Mind,

Experience, and School (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999) has set one of the most widely

used and respected standards for how educators and researchers define learning.

The HPL framework defines successful learning as moving toward adaptive expertise—that

is, the ability to apply knowledge creatively in new situations (Hatano & Inagaki, 1986).

Student learners are like apprentices who work with experts (teachers and others) and tools

(curriculum) in authentic settings (learning communities) to grow from novices to experts.

Successful learners develop characteristics that experts possess (Bransford, Brown,

& Cocking, 2000, p. 31):

•             Experts have accumulated extensive content knowledge that is organized in ways

that reflect a deep conceptual understanding of the subject matter in their domain.

•             Experts’ content knowledge is more than sets of facts and procedures.

Experts understand facts and procedures within the contexts and conditions for

which they apply.

•             Experts’ deep, conditionalized knowledge enables them to notice features and

meaningful patterns that novices do not notice.

•             Experts can fluently access and recall pertinent knowledge with little cognitive effort.

•             Experts can flexibly apply their knowledge to routine situations within their domain

and may adaptively apply their expertise to unfamiliar situations, including situations

outside of their domain.

Students typically begin as novices in education, with varying formal and informal content

knowledge and understanding. Through the educational process they move toward

formal knowledge.

Apex Learning understands that the goal is for students to become active learners whose

pursuit of increasingly adaptive expertise is a lifelong journey.

Learning for College, Work, and Life

Apex Learning is committed to helping students achieve the educational outcomes they

need to succeed today and thrive tomorrow. These outcomes are consistent with the

characteristics of experts and the goal of adaptive expertise.3 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

Since How People Learn was published, the pace of globalization has increased, and young

people now face significantly more competition in a global workforce. Books such as

The World Is Flat (Friedman, 2005) have driven home the importance of education in

building expertise that supports problem solving, creativity, and lifelong learning.

While developing academic expertise was once a privilege of the few at elite institutions,

today we are tasked with empowering all learners everywhere (Davidson & Goldberg, 2009).

With the growing abundance of information available, students need the intellectual tools

and learning strategies to seek relevant resources, recognize what is important, and

evaluate what is credible (Bransford et al., 2000). They need to understand the fundamental

structures in various subject areas well enough to ask pertinent questions, think

productively, and communicate effectively.

Students need integrated knowledge of facts, concepts, and strategies that will enable

them to make connections and contributions to complex issues such as those related

to the environment, health, and the economy (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2009).

More than ever, education must help learners become innovators—with the ability to apply

their knowledge flexibly and creatively to solve problems in new situations.4 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

Research and Apex Learning Practice

The research presented is divided into three sections. Section I focuses on how learners

build knowledge modeled on the characteristics of experts and how the multimedia

presentation of knowledge can be designed to support this learning. Adhering to these

principles, Apex Learning digital curriculum gives students the tools they need to actively

build knowledge and thinking skills.

Section II discusses research on improving learning with instruction that elicits students’

prior knowledge, makes learning meaningful, and addresses learners’ readiness for new

content. Apex Learning courses differentiate instruction to meet students where they are

and develop their capacities, giving all students access to rigorous content.

Section III focuses on the use of assessment, timely feedback, and effective data

management to reveal student understanding and support effective learning throughout

the instructional process. The Apex Learning management system seamlessly provides

information about learner knowledge to guide teachers in planning instruction, empower

learners in monitoring their own progress, and report standards-based outcomes.

Each research summary is followed by detailed discussion of how the research is applied

within the Apex Learning digital curriculum.

I. Research on Acquiring Knowledge and Thinking Skills

This section discusses important findings about learning and creating knowledge-centered

environments. First, the learning sciences offer a time-tested base of research and practice

on how people learn and how to design instruction so that students build knowledge

modeled on the characteristics of expert knowledge. Second, students learn more when

information in multiple media is presented to them in ways that reduce unnecessary

cognitive effort, facilitate processing of essential information, and maximize processing

potential. These knowledge-centered elements contribute to learning with understanding

and the goal of adaptive expertise.

Actively Building Knowledge and Thinking Skills

The organization of content around central concepts that are supported by selected facts

and information is an evidence-based best practice in curriculum design (Bransford et al.,

2000; Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). This is a time-tested principle. In 1929, Alfred North

Whitehead wrote, “Let the main ideas which are introduced into a child’s education be few

and important, and let them be thrown into every combination possible. The child should

make them his own and should understand their application here and now” (p. 2).

The importance of coherence in the design of curriculum for developing student

understanding was advocated by Jerome Bruner in his 1960 classic The Process

of Education:

The teaching and learning of structure, rather than simply the mastery of facts and

techniques, is at the center of the classic problem of transfer. . . . If earlier learning

is to render later learning easier, it must do so by providing a general picture in

terms of which the relations between things encountered earlier and later are made

as clear as possible. (p. 12) 5 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

Students develop understanding of a discipline by engaging in challenging activities that

allow them to see how, where, and when the important ideas and facts are relevant

(Bransford et al., 2000). Students can acquire more factual knowledge when it is connected

to meaningful problem-solving activities. Conversely, problem solving cannot be taught

without a base of factual knowledge.

Important ideas need to be presented in increasing depth. They need to be revisited

with many examples and built on so that understanding grows over time in ways that

increase students’ ability to use and apply their factual knowledge (Bransford et al., 2000).

Approaches such as problem-based and inquiry-based instruction help students make

connections, develop integrated knowledge structures of facts and concepts, and understand

conditions of applicability.

Clear understanding of what, why, and how subject matter is taught is important for

learners as well as teachers. Instructional goals narrow what students focus their energy on

(Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001). But goals should not be too specific. When students

personalize goals, the goals become relevant for them as learners.

Learning improves when students’ progress toward instructional goals is made explicit

(Bransford et al., 2000; Vye et al., 1998). For instance, students have enhanced

opportunities to monitor their own learning when an overview of the learning process

remains visible and their attention is directed to it as instructional milestones are reached.

Findings from research synthesized by Marzano et al. (2001) indicate that student learning

improves with the use of certain types of instructional strategies and supports.

Use of predictions, advance organizers, and questions elicits students’ prior knowledge,

which is necessary for building new understanding. Summarizing and guided note-taking

can aid comprehension by helping students determine what is most important.

It takes considerable time and practice to learn with understanding, and research shows

that students must be familiar with the skill being developed in order for practice to be

an effective learning support; otherwise, practice may simply reinforce misconceptions

(Bransford et al., 2000; Marzano et al., 2001). A key to successful practice is checking

for readiness before students practice, and then providing corrective feedback

immediately afterward.

While some students master these strategies and supports easily, others benefit from

instruction that scaffolds their use until students become independently proficient with them

(Marzano et al., 2001). Strategies and supports that can be readily integrated into online

instruction include automated concept maps, graphic organizers, and prompts for predicting

and summarizing, which can be used online or printed and used manually (Hiebert, Menon,

Martin, & Bach, 2009).

Teachers can help students learn new content by designing instruction that takes students’

existing understanding and misconceptions into account (Bransford et al., 2000). In order

to use what learners know to guide instruction, students’ understanding must be made

visible. Learners can show what they know by demonstrating understanding according

to a taxonomy of cognitive abilities such as explain, apply, and generalize (Anderson &

Krathwohl, 2001; International Center for Leadership in Education, 2009; Keene, 2008).

These different types of understanding are often presented as a hierarchical progression6 of 20

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Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

through levels, but best practices in instructional design show that they can be used flexibly

and simultaneously, depending on learning goals.

Students can share their understanding using multiple modes of expression (e.g., draw,

chart, graph, write, speak, present). Using multiple expressions with varying levels of

abstraction supports learners’ ability to think flexibly about complex domains and transfer

knowledge to new situations (Bransford et al., 2000). Students can demonstrate their

understanding through projects and performances in addition to discussions, interactive

simulations, and tests. Projects and performances also provide motivation for mastering

content and opportunities for cycles of revision and feedback (Barron et al., 1998).

Another important reason for making students’ thinking visible is to help students develop

metacognition, or active monitoring of their own learning (Bransford et al., 2000).

Metacognition includes making sense of new content, assessing one’s understanding,

and reflecting on one’s learning—practices that increase students’ responsibility for their

own learning and increase their ability to apply new knowledge to different situations.

Online curriculum increases opportunities for students to engage in learning that integrates

important practices like metacognition, while also addressing the need for students to hone

media skills (Hiebert et al., 2009).

Multimedia Presentation of Knowledge

Knowledge cannot be acquired from problem solving alone (Bransford et al., 2000).

In many subject areas, it is necessary to acquire knowledge from text, lectures, or media

presentations. Students are primed to acquire this knowledge when they need it to complete

an analytical task or to meet a purpose, such as a problem they need to solve or a question

they need to answer (Schwartz & Bransford, 1998).

Mayer (2008) presents evidence-based and theoretically grounded principles for presenting

information using multimedia. Instruction that adheres to these principles improves

students’ learning and ability to transfer knowledge:

•             Reducing extraneous processing helps prevent learners from wasting cognitive effort

on activity that is not essential to learning the targeted content (Mayer, 2008).

For example, extraneous processing can be reduced by good layout—text placed

close to related graphics requires less effort to process than text separated from

graphics—or by minimizing unnecessary material. Struggling readers especially

benefit from coherent and clear presentation of content (Hiebert et al., 2009).

•             Managing essential processing facilitates the learning of complex knowledge, once

extraneous processing has been minimized (Mayer, 2008). For example, learning

improves when complex information is presented in digestible chunks, such as when

a narrated animation is presented in learner-paced segments rather than being

presented in one continuous stream.

•             Fostering generative processing means enabling and improving learners’ ability

to maximize their processing potential (Mayer, 2008). For example, students learn

better when knowledge is presented with a conversational rather than formal

narrative style (an engaging voice creates a sense of social relationship, which makes

the learner try harder to understand).7 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

Another example of fostering generative processing is presenting knowledge with words and

pictures rather than with words alone (Mayer, 2008). Multiple representations of information

in online settings similarly assist student learning (Hiebert et al., 2009). These can come in

the form of video, animation, audio, and interactive simulations integrated into the lessons

and available for the students to access as needed. Using multiple modes of representation

supports students’ engagement and comprehension by making connections between texts

and information explicit and the structure of concepts visible.

Knowledge and Thinking Skills Research Applied to Apex Learning Curriculum

Apex Learning courses align with comprehensive state and national curriculum content

standards for rigorous high school courses. With a balanced architecture of direct

instruction, constructive practice, and formative feedback, courses are designed to give

all students access to rigorous content and to the tools they need to actively build

knowledge and thinking skills. The digital curriculum adheres to research-based principles

for presenting knowledge using multimedia that result in improved student learning

and transfer.

Actively Building Knowledge and Thinking Skills

Apex Learning digital curriculum offers a balanced architecture of direct instruction,

constructive practice, and formative feedback. Critical thinking, problem solving, and

questioning are integrated into all courses to support engagement and active learning.

Students observe, inquire, confirm, connect, and create as they build knowledge in

Apex Learning lessons. There are frequent opportunities to check one’s own understanding,

empowering the learner to look back or ahead and control their own progress.

Each Apex Learning course is carefully crafted with a predictable, consistent, and coherent

unit-lesson-activity structure to facilitate use by teachers and support for learners.

Clearly presented content is helpful for adolescent learners, and the conversational voice

of the instruction stimulates learning.

Objectives are presented in ways that tap the interests of learners and effectively use

technology to involve and challenge. Heeding research on goal-setting, anticipatory frames

focus students on what they need to know and do in the units and lessons. “Big questions”

and conceptual frames trigger students’ curiosity and elicit their initial thoughts about the

principal ideas. Not only do students anticipate what is coming and what is expected of

them, but with the digital platform the objectives also remain transparent, a click away

wherever students are in the lessons. Having a window on the overall learning process

improves students’ progress toward the goals.

The primary direct instruction components in Apex Learning lessons are called Studies.

Studies often lead with real-world examples and with challenging questions to make the

content inviting and relevant for adolescents.

As students learn academic content with Apex Learning digital curriculum, they are

supported with instruction that effectively uses research-based reading and comprehension

strategies—including questioning, advance organizers, summarizing, and note taking—with

scaffolds available as needed to provide extra support. These active reading strategies

deepen connectedness of text both online and in print.8 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

To deepen engagement and understanding, students commonly use processes such as

guided inquiry, the scientific method, and reading, writing, and problem-solving processes.

Because Apex Learning curriculum is digital, the online platform seamlessly provides these

instructional supports and offers benefits for comprehension over traditional instruction.

Once students are familiar with content, they have opportunities to test their understanding

of what they have just learned with embedded self-assessments. Self-assessments come

in a variety of formats including Checkup activities, self-check games, and interactive

assessments. Students get immediate corrective feedback that informs them about their

understanding. Metacognition develops as students take control of their progress through

the lesson. They can move ahead when content is mastered or revisit the previous

instruction, drawing on appropriate embedded supports and requesting teacher guidance

as needed.

Knowledge is deepened at strategic points throughout each lesson with Practices, Labs,

Journals, Readings, Discussions, Explorations, and Projects. Practices help build fluency and

target written communication and analysis. Labs provide practice with scientific methods,

lab procedures, science terminology, and data analysis. Discussions offer asynchronous

forums for students and teachers to build on one another’s understanding and develop

communication skills. Explorations are inquiry-based activities that invite students to

explore alternative points of view or to go into more depth on a topic, often by searching

in vetted websites. Journals encourage reflection, and in some cases, analysis, as students

evaluate their personal perspectives and relate them to concepts or apply their original

insights to close reading. Projects are individualized extensions of learning.

In Apex Learning digital curriculum the instruction and evaluation is constructed around a

taxonomy of knowledge, with which different types of understanding are targeted by specific

activities and assessments. Self-checks are designed to allow students to demonstrate

understanding across the taxonomy—but focus on recalling, explaining, using, and

differentiating. Computer-scored assessments have a similar focus. Checkups are largely

about application. Teacher-scored activities and assessments extend across the taxonomy.

Multimedia Presentation of Knowledge

Navigation is consistent throughout all Apex Learning courses. Using the scrollable table of

contents present in the navigation to the left of every page, it is easy to select and see the

corresponding content on the right. Content is carefully presented so that students have

appropriate access to multimodal information without being overwhelmed.

Throughout activities there is a balanced mix of reading, observing, listening, watching, and

doing, where effective use of text, pictures, audio, video, and interaction capture and keep

learners’ interest. Multiple modes of media are used in activities to deepen understanding

of complex information and challenging concepts. For example, with digital curriculum

students studying biology can learn the concept of population growth by viewing a video

on how populations use resources. They can learn about the same concept by reading text

on how the human population is expanding. They can also change variables in a simulation

of carrying capacity in which the consequences of population growth become immediately

visible. And they can listen to audio on how technology is being used to meet population

challenges—all while taking notes in a graphic organizer. In this active online learning9 of 20

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Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

environment, deep understanding results from the range and diversity of experiences

students have with content. Persistence and resiliency result from encouragement,

formative feedback, and steady reminders to use all the resources at hand to solve a

problem rather than walk away from it.

II. Research on Learners

This section discusses three important findings about learners and creating learner-centered

environments. First, learning improves when instruction takes account of learners’ prior

knowledge and misconceptions. Second, students engage more and try harder when tasks

are meaningful to them. Third, students benefit from differentiated instruction tailored to

their readiness. These learner-centered elements contribute to improved student learning.

Prior Knowledge and Misconceptions

A learner’s initial knowledge serves as the foundation for all future learning, determining

how new experiences and information are interpreted (Alexander & Murphy, 1998; Brandt,

1998). Students come to the classroom with preconceptions—and often misconceptions—

about content they will learn in school.

If students’ initial conceptions are not made visible and addressed through instruction,

students may only learn new facts and concepts superficially, clinging to their original

misconceptions (Bransford et al., 2000). These lingering misconceptions form a faulty basis

for future learning and can thwart understanding of new content and concepts.

The implication of this for teaching is that there is a need to elicit students’ pre-existing

knowledge and skills and to build on them in the teaching of new content—at the beginning

of instruction and as learning progresses (American Psychological Association [APA], 1997).

Instruction that is based on learners’ understanding will necessitate offering additional

supports for some students and advanced challenges for others. Students’ needs will change

as instruction proceeds, and learning improves when instruction is continually attuned to

these changing conceptions (Bransford et al., 2000).

Building on current knowledge to progress through high school courses in specialized

content areas presents special challenges for adolescents who are weak readers.

Research on adolescent literacy provides insights on helping struggling readers meet

rigorous demands of high school subjects (Kamil, Borman, Dole, Kral, Salinger, & Torgesen,

2008; Lee & Spratley, 2010), each of which has its own technical vocabulary, syntax

(way of using language), and ways of using elements like diagrams and charts.

There is strong evidence for the value of providing explicit vocabulary instruction and

explicit reading strategy instruction—including the use of predicting, inferring, visualizing,

questioning, summarizing, and more (Kamil et al., 2008). Strategies such as these make

thinking visible and make both students and teachers aware of misconceptions. While these

strategies are important for all readers to learn and use, explicit instruction calls for teacher

modeling, explanation, guided practice with feedback, and independent practice with

scaffolding as needed.

In addition, struggling readers can benefit from discipline-specific strategy instruction

including emphasis on reading comprehension with modeling and guided support for making10 of 20

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sense of text before, during, and after reading (Lee & Spratley, 2010). As important as

these supports are for those who need them, it is just as important that students who

do not need the supports are not encumbered by them.

Making Learning Meaningful

People are motivated to learn what is meaningful to them (Brandt, 1998). Key factors that

contribute to making learning meaningful include the learner’s emotional states, beliefs

(such as the role of effort in achievement), interests, goals, and intellectual habits (such as

persistence through ambiguity) (APA, 1997; Costa & Kallick, 2008; Marzano et al., 2001).

Motivation can be stimulated by difficult but achievable tasks that engage individuals to use

their higher-order thinking skills and exert effort over an extended period of time (Brandt,

1998). Problem-based learning and inquiry-based instruction are two practices designed to

engage students in challenging activities (Bransford et al., 2000).

Motivation to learn can also be stimulated by personally relevant goals, which can be

developed when individuals have personal choice and control (Brandt, 1998). Adolescent

learners benefit from activities they perceive as relevant to their lives and from those that

build confidence (Kamil et al., 2008; Lee & Spratley, 2010).

For example, a study of high school students found that learners’ engagement increased

when the perceived challenge of the task and their own skills were high and in balance, the

instruction was relevant, and the learning environment was under their control (Shernoff,

Csikszenihalyi, Shneider, & Shernoff, 2003). In another study, middle school students’

learning improved when the instruction used media effectively to engage a range of readers

in complex problem solving, was anchored in a simulated real-world context, involved

generating and evaluating multiple feasible solutions, and demanded extended time

to complete (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1997).

Findings from research synthesized by Hiebert et al. (2009) on online learning and

engagement echo the findings on engagement relevant for any type of learning. As in any

context, adolescents are motivated when they believe they have some control over their

learning. For instance, adolescents who believe that their own effort contributes to their

ability to read, rather than it being a given ability, are motivated to persevere in a task even

when it is difficult. Similarly, students are motivated by online content that is challenging

but achievable as well as personally relevant and interesting.

Hiebert et al. (2009) also report that digital learning offers unique motivational benefits,

in part because the online environment itself is motivating to students. In addition, student

interest and expertise improves with online opportunities for student control (e.g., choice

in the pace at which text is presented and in having sections reread) and engagement

(e.g., having texts and tasks at the appropriate level). Together this presents a significant

opportunity for making learning meaningful through digital curriculum.

Learner Readiness

In their own way, learners progress through various common stages of development.

Learning at each stage is most effective when developmental readiness is taken into account

(APA, 1997; Vygotsky, 1986). This includes readiness in terms of physical, intellectual,11 of 20

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emotional, and social factors. It also is determined by the understandings, strategies, skills,

and habits that learners bring to each new learning task (Bransford et al., 2000). As Costa

and Kallick (2008) say, “All kids do learn but not on the same day and not in the same way”

(p. 13). Effective learning requires quality curriculum and quality instruction designed to

meet students where they are.

As students go through similar stages of development, they can work toward common

rigorous goals with individually differing support (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006).

Differing support includes adjusting the content, format, or pacing of lessons to address

students’ needs, strengths, weaknesses, and interests (APA, 1997; Brenner, 2009).

For instance, instruction in a unit may be differentiated by including scaffolds for students

weak in reading skills while challenging others to stretch their communication skills to more

complex levels.

Online environments afford special opportunities for addressing learner readiness through

differentiated instruction. With increased flexibility in when, where, and how learning

occurs, online contexts offer a way to break through the scheduling constraints that so

often limit school learning time (Cavanaugh, 2009). In online courses, students can control

how much time to spend on each activity, choosing to move quickly through tasks to avoid

boredom or revisiting previous lessons to bolster understanding. For some students the

online environment provides the emotional security needed to overcome social insecurities

that hamper ability to focus on academics in traditional classroom environments, allowing

students to prosper with digital curriculum (Watson & Gemin, 2009; Hiebert, 2009).

Findings from research synthesized by Hiebert et al. (2009) shed light on ways to

differentiate instruction by using adaptive and strategic online scaffolds to support

struggling and disengaged adolescents’ comprehension. Online scaffolds help readers

by increasing their access to grade-level content and texts, which in turn increases

their engagement.

Use of adaptive scaffolds (e.g., online help with vocabulary and text-to-speech support)

enables readers to learn with content that is above their independent reading level (Hiebert,

2009). Strategic online scaffolds incorporate instruction on effective use of strategies

(e.g., predicting, questioning, and summarizing) into grade-level content. With technology

such as virtual tutors, responsibility for the use of online scaffolds can be adjusted from

mandatory to independent as learners progress.

Learner Research Applied to Apex Learning Curriculum

Apex Learning digital curriculum meets students where they are and develops their

capacities. It provides differentiated instruction for all students by taking into account

pre-existing conceptions, making learning activities meaningful, and enhancing access

to curriculum based on learner readiness.

Prior Knowledge and Misconceptions

In Apex Learning courses, students are asked to respond to instruction in ways that reveal

their preconceptions and misconceptions throughout learning. Students’ initial thinking

is elicited early in lessons with conceptual frames and “big questions.” Strategies such as12 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

discovery-confirmation, making observations, questioning, predicting, and using advance

organizers before reading, during reading, and after reading make thinking visible and

reveal misconceptions. Activities such as Discussions, Practices, and Journals provide

additional opportunities in which prior knowledge is taken into account.

Making Learning Meaningful

Apex Learning puts the research on making learning meaningful into practice in its digital

curriculum. First, anticipatory frames hook students’ interest, eliciting their prior knowledge

and piquing their interest in the content to come. Next, a variety of activities offers the

right level of challenge to make tasks difficult but achievable, which increases engagement.

Engaging tasks involving problem solving, questioning, and critical thinking also foster

intellectual habits like persistence, ability to handle ambiguity, and belief in self-efficacy—all

important for improving learning as well as providing students with important college- and

career-readiness skills.

Third, with 24-hour access, the option to set one’s own pace, a choice in use of supports,

and the ability to self-monitor through frequent checks on understanding, students increase

their control over their learning—another component of making learning personally

meaningful. Finally, Apex Learning lessons effectively use media to engage learners with

multiple modes of representations, a balanced variety of activities (e.g., guided inquiry and

practice, direct instruction, and interactive manipulatives that encourage students to make

discoveries), and even the opportunity to develop expertise in using the media.

Learner Readiness

With Apex Learning digital curriculum, learners with varying levels of readiness can obtain

the same rigor in different ways. Students are motivated to do better when the bar is

higher. Apex Learning courses set the same bar and shared expectations for all, but there is

flexibility for each student to reach and exceed the bar in his or her unique way and in his or

her own time.

Apex Learning courses that include online scaffolding increase student access to grade-level

content. Adaptive text scaffolding includes clickable access to text transcripts for audio,

to vocabulary definitions, and to English and Spanish audio corresponding to text.

Making text accessible in multiple ways is a technique supported by CAST’s Universal

Design for Learning Guidelines (2008) for curriculum, which accommodates diverse abilities.

Strategic scaffolding is included in lessons to support comprehension while also increasing

access to grade-level content and building a capacity for increasingly independent learning.

As access to grade-level content increases, so does student control and engagement,

leading to improved student learning.

Unlike tracking, there is flexibility for students to shift between paths according to their

differing and growing readiness in each subject area. General studies courses are available

in multiple pathways, all with the same scope and sequence, that can be differentiated

in these ways:

•             Courses designed to meet the needs of students seeking to accelerate their learning

and deepen their conceptual understanding with many opportunities to apply, extend,

and synthesize knowledge.13 of 20

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•             Courses that assume student readiness for grade-level academic challenges, but also

include targeted scaffolding for students who benefit from additional learning support.

•             Courses that meet the needs of students who are reading below proficiency and

who are seeking to master required content in math, science, English, and social studies to

earn credits toward high school graduation. These courses simultaneously develop students’

general and academic literacy skills.

Another pathway consists of College Board–authorized Advanced Placement courses that

prepare students to demonstrate college-level achievement through success on the AP

exams. Courses in a final pathway provide structured remediation in math, reading, and

writing to meet the needs of both high school students and transitioning middle school

students who are not prepared for grade-level academic challenges.

III. Research on Assessment and Feedback

This section establishes the importance of using formative assessment and data to reveal

student understanding throughout the learning process. First, formative assessment

provides information that is essential to teachers guiding learners. Second, learning

improves with cycles of revision, assessment, and feedback, especially when the feedback

is timely, specific, and explanatory. Third, learning improves when students develop the

ability to reflect on their own progress and adjust their behavior accordingly. Finally, the

role of summative assessment is reporting student outcomes and grades as well

as accounting for progress at the classroom level and beyond. Integrated learning

management systems can facilitate the management of student data for formative feedback

and summative assessment.

The Effectiveness of Formative Assessment

In education, much attention is given to assessments that report student learning results.

However, learning actually improves when assessments are used formatively to guide

instruction (Black & Wiliam, 1998). Formative assessments are used during instruction

to make students’ thinking and understanding visible. Students and teachers then use this

feedback to monitor progress toward learning goals, affording opportunities for instruction

to be tailored to student needs and readiness as instruction proceeds.

Research discussed earlier emphasizes the importance of revealing information about

learners’ preconceptions, misconceptions, current depth of understanding, and readiness

for learning new concepts. Formative assessment is one of the most effective strategies

that can be used to make student understanding visible and improve learning

(Bransford et al., 2000).

Formative assessment lies at the heart of effective instruction—this is where the expert

knowledge can guide the novice. Student learning improves when the teacher, as the

pedagogical and content expert, uses formative assessments to make informed decisions

about what students have learned and what instruction is needed (Alexander & Murphy,

1998; Black & Wiliam, 1998; Vygotsky, 1986). This expertise allows the instructor to provide

feedback and instruction that guides the students in developing their content expertise.

Formative assessment is not only useful for helping students, but also for instructors and

curriculum designers who use it to improve their methods.14 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

The key to using activities formatively is turning the information they provide into timely

and specific feedback that informs subsequent teaching and learning (Black & Wiliam,

1998). Formative assessment activities can come in many forms (e.g., multiple-choice or

constructed-response tests, discussions, observations, performances, portfolios, or projects)

and can be designed to reveal varying levels of understanding (e.g., recall, application, or

generation) (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001; International Center for Leadership in Education,

2009; Keene, 2008; Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).

Timely and Specific Formative Feedback

The effectiveness of formative assessment to improve learning and teaching depends on

timely and specific feedback followed by opportunities for learners to revise and improve

their thinking (Black & Wiliam, 1998). Characteristics of feedback useful for improving

learning include the following:

Feedback should be given immediately after testing (Black & Wiliam, 1998; Marzano et al.,

2001). Feedback is most effective when it is still relevant to the learner’s task.

Feedback that is “corrective” in nature with explanations of mistakes has a positive effect on

achievement, while simply indicating right or wrong has a negative effect (Black & Wiliam,

1998; Marzano et al., 2001). Effective feedback provides information that can help students

understand how their thinking compares to their learning goal and that can help them attain

that learning goal.

Feedback should be specific to a criterion rather than a comparison with other students

(Black & Wiliam, 1998; Marzano et al., 2001). Feedback that includes grades or emphasizes

performance in competition with other learners can have a negative effect on learning.

Consistent with literature on goal orientation, achievement improves when the focus is on

the students’ effort and the task (learning orientation) rather than the students’ ego and

ability (performance orientation), even when feedback includes praise.

Students can effectively provide some of their own feedback through self-assessment (Black

& Wiliam, 1998; Marzano et al., 2001). Activities that include self- and peer-assessment

help students take more responsibility for their own learning, which builds capacity for

future learning. This is discussed in the next section on student control and metacognition.

Student Control and Metacognition

As students take increasing responsibility for their own learning, the possibility of

transferring their new learning to future situations increases (Alexander & Murphy,

1998; Vygotsky, 1986). Instruction that integrates metacognitive skills—self-assessment,

reflection, sense-making, and self-regulation—into the curriculum across multiple

subject areas can help students take increasing control of their own learning

(Bransford et al., 2000).

Students’ learning improves when instruction involves cycles of formative assessment,

feedback, and revision (Barron et al., 1998; Vye et al., 1998). Through scaffolded feedback

cycles, students can engage in increasingly independent practice and self-monitoring that

lead to deeper understanding.15 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

Summative Assessment

Summative assessments are used to measure and report learning outcomes, rather than

to inform instruction and improve learning (APA, 1997; Black & Wiliam, 1998). Summative

assessments provide information for recording grades and comparing groups of students.

Typically used at the end of an instructional unit, these assessments must align with the

unit’s learning goals (Bransford et al., 2000). Ideally, unit-based summative assessments

also align with state and national accountability measures.

Digital Data Systems

Online environments offer opportunities for entering, generating, sharing, and utilizing

assessment data with less effort and faster results than possible in traditional school

practice, even when that is partially automated (Partnership for 21st Century Skills,

2009). As part of a transparent system, this availability of data supports improvements in

student learning at the individual, classroom, and school levels. It can make formative and

summative information readily available to students, teachers, and parents in real time.

Digital data systems provide opportunities for increased school time, which is linked

to higher achievement (Cavanaugh, 2009; Farbman, 2009). In addition to bypassing

constraints of the traditional school day with anywhere/anytime access, instructional time

increases when automated data input, access, and reporting reduce time required for

non-instructional activities.

Assessment and Feedback Research Applied to Apex Learning Curriculum

The Apex Learning digital curriculum seamlessly provides formative assessment and

data to reveal student understanding throughout the learning process. Information about

learner knowledge guides teachers in planning instruction, and informs learners about their

progress during lessons. No-stakes and low-stakes assessments are embedded within the

direct instruction and throughout units of study. Summative achievement is measured

in high-stakes assessments at the end of units and semesters. Integrated online data and

reporting systems facilitate the management of student data and make formative and

summative assessment information available to students, teachers, and administrators

in real time.

Timely and Specific Formative Feedback

Formative self-assessment comes in the form of frequent online self-checks that provide

students with automatic computer-generated corrective feedback, freeing teachers’ time

from grading and giving students control over their progress through the lesson.

Teachers provide timely feedback based on student information revealed on teacherand

computer-scored activities. Teacher-scored activities primarily assess higher-order

understanding and in many cases involve reflection, creativity, original thought, argument,

and analysis. There are also frequent computer-scored quizzes throughout lessons that

assess recall, comprehension, and application.16 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

Student Control and Metacognition

During Apex Learning lessons, students develop increased control over their learning and

improve their metacognitive skills. Students control the pacing of activities and self-check

assessments. They also have responsibility for use of optional study aids. With the help of

timely digital- and teacher-provided feedback, students learn to monitor their understanding

and improve their own learning. Understanding deepens as students’ independence

increases through instructional cycles involving assessment, feedback, and revision.

Summative Assessment

At the end of each instructional unit and semester, there are high-stakes computer-scored

and teacher-scored tests to report student achievement. These summative tests align

with unit and course learning objectives as well as with comprehensive state and national

curricular standards.

Digital Data Systems

Apex Learning offers a central role to teachers that is dramatically different from traditional

practice in ways research confirms are valid, meaningful, and essential to outcomes.

With the digital curriculum and data on student progress available in the online grade

book, the teacher has more time to spend individualizing instruction: guiding activities,

differentiating instruction, recognizing achievement, providing encouragement, and

providing one-to-one support. Using timely data and insights from regularly scheduled

meetings with the students (face-to-face, online tools or phone), the teacher can provide

just-in-time acceleration, remediation, or extension.17 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

Conclusion

The science of learning provides an established base of research and practice on how people

learn and how to design instruction so that students learn with understanding. This paper

documents how Apex Learning puts the research into practice in its digital curriculum.

With a balanced architecture of direct instruction, constructive practice, and formative

feedback, Apex Learning courses are designed to give all students access to rigorous

content and to the tools they need to actively build knowledge and thinking skills.

The digital curriculum adheres to research-based principles for presenting knowledge

using multimedia that result in improved student learning and transfer.

Research on learners suggests that learning improves when instruction takes account

of learners’ prior knowledge, that students engage when tasks are meaningful, and that

students benefit from differentiated instruction tailored to their readiness.

Apex Learning digital curriculum meets students where they are and develops their

capacities. It provides differentiated instruction for all students by taking into account

pre-existing conceptions, making learning activities meaningful, and enhancing access

to curriculum based on learner readiness.

Finally, research on assessment states that learning improves when students receive

formative feedback that is timely and specific; when students develop the ability to reflect

on their own progress and adjust their behavior accordingly. Further, summative assessment

plays an important role in measuring outcomes and accounting for progress.

The Apex Learning digital curriculum seamlessly provides formative assessment and data

to reveal student understanding throughout the learning process. Information about learner

knowledge guides teachers in planning instruction and informs learners about their progress

during lessons. Summative achievement is measured in high-stakes assessments at the

end of units and semesters. Integrated online data and reporting systems facilitate the

management of student data and make formative and summative assessment information

available to students, teachers, and administrators in real time.

Designed in accordance with these time-tested research principles, Apex Learning digital

curriculum gives all students access to the content and tools they need to achieve in an

environment of academic rigor.18 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

About the Authors

Allison Moore, M. Ed

Learning Scientist

University of Washington

Allison Moore is a learning scientist with the College of Education at the University of

Washington. Her interests include problem-based learning and effective uses of technology

to support teaching, learning, and assessment. She has experience designing and evaluating

research-based instructional materials, including multimedia and web-based programs,

as well as coordinating multi-site and distal research projects. Currently she is working

with the UW team on development of interactive technology environments for 21st century

teaching, learning and assessment. Recently she has worked with the UW team designing

the content for Microsoft’s international Innovative Schools Program. Since 2003 she has

been involved in UW projects evaluating uses of web-based professional development for

improving teacher practice in and through the arts and designing and assessing Young

Audiences arts-integrated literacy lessons. At Vanderbilt University Learning Technology

Center, Moore was a member of the multi-disciplinary team that developed and produced

the video-based Adventures of Jasper Woodbury mathematics problem solving series,

involving classroom-based research, professional development, multimedia teacher

manuals, and commercial distribution.

Tom Baer, M. Ed

Educational Technology Specialist

University of Washington

Tom Baer is an educational technology specialist at the University of Washington School

of Nursing, which has been successfully using innovative distance learning technologies

to increase access to nursing education. He began developing challenge-based, interactive

learning technology in 1994, when he was the lead instructional designer on the awardwinning

Science Sleuths CD-ROM series. He produced Apex Learning’s first online course,

AP Calculus, in 1998. Since then he has designed and produced a wide range of online

courses for high school and adults in the K-12, corporate, and higher education sectors.

Tom’s interests include interaction design, the role of challenges in making meaning,

and building communities.19 of 20

July 2010

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

References

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& B. L. McCombs (Eds.), Issues in school reform: A sampler of psychological perspectives on learnercentered

schools (pp. 25-60). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

American Psychological Association. (1997, November). Learner-centered psychological principles: A framework

for school reform and redesign (Board of Educational Affairs Report).Washington, DC: American

Psychological Association.

Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision

of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman.

Barron, B. J. S., Schwartz, D. L., Vye, N. J., Moore, A., Petrosino, A., Zech, L., & Bransford, J. D. (1998). Doing with

understanding: Lessons from research on problem- and project-based learning. Journal of the Learning

Sciences, 7(3-4), 271-311.

Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in education: Principles, policy,

and practice, 5(1), 7-75.

Brandt, R. (1998). Powerful learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Bransford, J., Brown, A., & Cocking, R. (Eds.). (1999). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school.

Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Bransford, J., Brown, A., & Cocking, R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school

(expanded edition). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Brenner, D. (2009). Supporting struggling readers in content area learning. Seattle, WA: Apex Learning.

Bruner, J. (1960). The process of education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

CAST (2008). Universal design for learning guidelines, version 1.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.

Cavanaugh, C. (2009, May). Getting students more learning time online: Distance education in support of

expanded learning time in K-12 schools. Washington, D.C.: Center for American Progress.

Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1997). The Jasper project: Lessons in curriculum, instruction,

assessment, and professional development. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Costa, A., & Kallick, B. (2008). Learning and leading with habits of mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for

Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Davidson, C. N., & Goldberg, D. T. (with Jones, Z. M.). (2009). The future of learning institutions in a digital age.

Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Farbman, D. (2009). Tracking an emerging movement: A report on expanded-time schools in America. Boston:

National Center on Time & Learning.

Friedman, T. L. (2005). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York: Farrar, Straus

and Giroux.

Hatano, G., & Inagaki, K. (1986). Two courses of expertise. In H. A. H. Stevenson & K. Hakuta (Eds.), Child

development and education in Japan (pp. 262-272). New York: Freeman.20 of 20

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Hiebert, E. H., Menon, S., Martin, L. A., & Bach, K. (2009). Online scaffolds that support adolescents’

comprehension. Seattle, WA: Apex Learning.

International Center for Leadership in Education. (2009). Rigor and Relevance Framework™. Retrieved January 1,

2010, from www.daggett.com/rrr.hl

Kamil, M. L., Borman, G. D., Dole, J., Kral, C. C., Salinger, T., and Torgesen, J. (2008). Improving adolescent

literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices: A Practice Guide (NCEE #2008-4027). Washington,

DC: Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

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Keene, E. O. (2008). To understand: New horizons in reading comprehension. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Lee, C. D., & Spratley, A. (2010). Reading in the disciplines: The challenges of adolescent literacy. New York:

Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based

strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and

Curriculum Development.

Mayer, R. (2008). Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia

instruction. American Psychologist, 760-769.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2009). The MILE guide: Milestones for improving learning and

education. Tucson, AZ: Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Retrieved online January 1, 2010, from

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Schwartz, D. L., & Bransford, J. D. (1998). A time for telling. Cognition and Instruction, 16(4), 475-522.

Shernoff, D. J., Csikszenihalyi, M., Shneider, B., & Shernoff, E. S. (2003). Student engagement in high school

classrooms from the perspective of flow theory. School Psychology Quarterly, 18(2), 158-176.

Tomlinson, C. A., & McTighe, J. (2006). Integrating differentiated instruction & understanding by design

(Connecting content and kids). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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(1998). SMART environments that support monitoring, reflection, and revision. In D. Hacker, J. Dunlosky, &

A. Graessner (Eds.), Metacognition in educational theory and practice. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Vygotsky, L. (1986). Thought and language. (A. Kozulin, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (Original work

published in 1934)

Watson, J. (2008). Blended learning: Convergence of online and face-to-face education. Retrieved online January 1,

2010, from www.iNACOL.org

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accountability. Retrieved online January 1, 2010, from www.iNACOL.org

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Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and

Curriculum Development.Apex Learning 1215 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1500 Seattle, WA 98161 800-453-1454 www.apexlearning.com inquiries@apexlearning.com

Copyright © 2010 Apex Learning Inc. Apex Learning®, the Apex Learning logo, ClassTools®, ClassTools Achieve®, ClassTools Virtual™,

Literacy Advantage™, and Beyond Books® are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Apex Learning Inc.


 
January 21, 2015| Contact:            (206) 252-6350

 
State Testing Information

 

English Language Arts (ELA) Exit Exam

Online Schedule

Grade

Subject

Requirement

Online Testing Schedule
(locally approved)

Spring 2015

10

English Language Arts

Required

Must be administered within the last 12 weeks of the school year: March 10 ‒ June 15, 2015

Paper/Pencil Schedule

Grade

Subject

Requirement

Paper/Pencil Testing Schedule
(locally approved)

Spring 2015

10

English Language Arts

Required

Must be administered within the last 3 weeks of the school year: No later than May 30, 2015

 

End-of-Course (EOC)

Paper/Pencil Schedule (No online testing available for EOC at this time)

Grades

Subjects

Requirement

Paper/Pencil Testing Schedule
(locally approved)

Winter 2015

9-12

Mathematics
(algebra 1, integrated math 1, geometry, integrated math 2)

Required for students who:

*       Are currently taking a semester-long algebra 1, integrated math 1, geometry, and/or integrated math 2 course

*       Previously took algebra 1, integrated math 1, geometry, and/or integrated math 2, but have not yet met standard

January 5 - February 6, 2015

7-12

Science (biology)

Required for students who:

*       Are currently taking a semester-long biology course

*       Previously took biology, but have not yet met standard

Spring 2015

9-12

Mathematics
(algebra 1, integrated math 1, geometry, integrated math 2)

Required for students who:

*       Are currently taking algebra 1, integrated math 1, geometry, and/or integrated math 2

*       Previously took algebra 1, integrated math 1, geometry, and/or integrated math 2, but have not yet met standard

May 11 - June 12, 2015

7-12

Science (biology)

Required for students who:

*       Are currently taking biology

*       Previously took biology, but have not yet met standard

*       Are in 10th grade and have not yet taken a biology course

 

High School Proficiency Exams (HSPE)

Paper/Pencil Schedule (No online testing available for HSPE at this time)

Grades

Subjects

Requirement

Paper/Pencil Testing Schedule
(state-mandated schedule)

August 2014
For currently enrolled students and non-enrolled 12th graders who have not met standard on HSPE

10-12

Writing
Reading

Required if student has not met standard on the reading and/or writing assessments

Writing: August 12 & 13, 2014
Reading: August 14, 2014

Spring 2015

11 & 12

Writing
Reading

Required if student has not met standard on the reading and/or writing assessments

Reading: March 17, 2015
Writing: March 18 & 19, 2015

 

Measurements of Student Progress (MSP)

Online Schedule

Grades

Subject

Requirement

Online Testing Schedule
(locally approved)

Spring 2015

5 & 8

Science

Required

April 20 ‒ June 5, 2015

Paper/Pencil Schedule

Grades

Subject

Requirement

Paper/Pencil Testing Schedule
(locally approved)

Spring 2015

5 & 8

Science

Required

April 20 ‒ May 19, 2015

 

Smarter Balanced Assessments

Online Schedule

Grades

Subjects

Requirement

Online Testing Schedule
(locally approved)

Spring 2015

3

English Language Arts

Required

March 10 ‒ April 23, 2015

Mathematics

Must be administered within the last 12 weeks of the school year: March 10 ‒ June 15, 2015

4-8

English Language Arts
Mathematics

Must be administered within the last 12 weeks of the school year: March 10 ‒ June 15, 2015

11

English Language Arts
Mathematics

Must be administered within the last 7 weeks of the school year: April 6 ‒ June 15, 2015

Paper/Pencil Schedule

Grades

Subjects

Requirement

Paper/Pencil Testing Schedule
(locally approved)

Spring 2015

3

English Language Arts

Required

March 10 ‒ April 15, 2015

Mathematics

Must be administered within the last 12 weeks of the school year: March 10 ‒ May 20, 2015

4-8

English Language Arts
Mathematics

Must be administered within the last 12 weeks of the school year: March 10 ‒ May 20, 2015

11

English Language Arts
Mathematics

Must be administered within the last 3 weeks of the school year: No later than May 30, 2015

 

Washington Alternate Assessment System-Developmentally Appropriate Proficiency Exam (WAAS-DAPE) – (Transitioning to Off Grade Level in Spring 2015)

Paper/Pencil Schedule (No online testing available for WAAS-DAPE at this time)

Grades

Subjects

Requirement

Paper/Pencil Testing Schedule
(locally approved)

Fall 2014
For currently enrolled students and non-enrolled 12th graders who have not met standard on WAAS-DAPE

11 & 12

Writing
Reading
Mathematics
Science*

Required if student has not met standard on the reading, writing, mathematics and/or science assessments, as stipulated in the student's IEP

November 3–14, 2014

Grades

Subjects

Requirement

Online Testing Schedule
(locally approved)

Spring 2015
(Off Grade Level)

11 & 12

Writing
Reading
Mathematics
Science*

Required if student has not met standard on the reading, writing, mathematics and/or science assessments, as stipulated in the student's IEP

Must be administered within the last 12 weeks of the school year: March 10 ‒ June 15, 2015

* Passing a science assessment is a graduation requirement for the Class of 2015 and beyond (students who entered 9th grade in the fall of 2011 or after).

 

Washington Alternate Assessment System-Portfolio (WAAS-Portfolio)

Paper/Pencil Schedule (No online testing available for WAAS-Portfolio at this time)

Grades

Subjects

Requirement

Last Data Collection Point

Fall 2014
Retake opportunity from spring 2012 WAAS-Portfolio submission

10

Writing
Reading
Mathematics
Science*

Required as part of state and/or federal accountability and graduation requirement, as stipulated in the student’s IEP

November 17, 2014**

11 & 12

Required if student has not met standard on the reading, writing and/or mathematics assessments, as stipulated in the student’s IEP

* Passing a science assessment is a graduation requirement for the Class of 2015 and beyond (students who entered 9th grade in the fall of 2011 or after).

** Actual schedule for data collection can be set by the student’s teacher as long as it aligns with the requirements established for each data point.

 

Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA)

Paper/Pencil Schedule (No online testing available for WELPA at this time)

Grades

Subjects

Requirement

Paper/Pencil Testing Schedule
(locally approved)

2015

K-12

Writing
Reading
Listening
Speaking

Required, annually, for all qualified English language learner (ELL) students and students in the State Transitional Bilingual Education Program)

February 2 ‒ March 13, 2015

 

Scale Scores

Below are the scale score ranges for all levels on the grades 3-8 Measurements of Student Progress (MSP), High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE), and End-of-Course (EOC) exams. These are the same scale score ranges as the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), which was replaced as of 2009-10 school year. The scale score ranges include the lowest and highest attainable score on each test (reading, writing, math and science).

Reading

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Grade 3

275-374

375-399

400-425

426-500

4

275-374

375-399

400-423

424-475

5

275-374

375-399

400-421

422-475

6

275-374

375-399

400-424

425-475

7

275-374

375-399

400-417

418-475

8

250-374

375-399

400-418

419-500

HS

225-374

375-399

400-426

427-525

 

Math

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Grade 3

200-374

375-399

400-435

436-575

4

200-374

375-399

400-446

447-575

5

200-374

375-399

400-439

440-575

6

200-374

375-399

400-441

442-575

7

200-374

375-399

400-443

444-575

8

200-374

375-399

400-436

437-575

 

Writing

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Grade 4

0-6

7-8

9-10

11-12

7

0-6

7-8

9-10

11-12

HS

0-12

13-16

17-20

21-24

 

Math EOC

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Algebra/Integrated 1 /Makeup Year 1

200-374

375-399

400-442

443-675

Geometry/Integrated 2 /Makeup Year 2

200-374

375-399

400-435

436-600

 

Science

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Grade 5

200-374

375-399

400-431

432-550

8

250-374

375-399

400-430

431-550

 

Science EOC

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Biology

275-374

375-399

400-422

423-525

 

Notes:

1.    The lowest scale score is assigned to a booklet that earns zero points, when the minimum response criteria have been met.

2.    The highest scale score is assigned to a booklet that earns a perfect score.

3.    The cut scores between Levels 1 and 2, 2 and 3, and 3 and 4 were set by the A+ Commission for Reading and Writing at grades 4, 7 and 10; and by the State Board of Education for Reading in grades 3, 5, 6 and 8, Mathematics in grades 3-8 and EOC, and for Science in grades 5, 8 and EOC. The Mathematics scale scores above for EOC began with the spring 2011 End-of-Course exams. The Science scale scores above for grades 5 and 8 began with the spring 2011 Measurements of Student Progress. The Biology scale scores above for EOC began with the spring 2012 End-of-Course exams.

 

Link for Resources PRACTISE TEST QUESTIONS

http://www.k12.wa.us/Resources/default.aspx

 

 

 

 

Item/Point Totals: 2012 Administration

The grades 3-8 Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) and High School Proficiency Exams (HSPE) each take one session (generally two hours) to administer.

Grades 7-12 End-of-Course (EOC) exams for mathematics and science are intended to be administered to algebra 1/integrated math 1, geometry/integrated math 2 and biology classrooms for three days. The approximate 150-minute administration time includes 30 minutes for directions/distributing materials.

Below is a chart that lists how many 1-point items (multiple choice and completion) and 2-point items (short-answer) are included on each test by subject and grade.

 

Reading 2012

Item Type

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

HS

Multiple Choice (1 point)
Linked to Passage/Scenario
Multiple Choice (1 point)
Stand Alone
Completion Item (1 point)
Linked or Stand Alone

26

26

26

30

30

30

35

Short Answer (2 points)

4

4

4

5

5

5

5

Total Items

30

30

30

35

35

35

40

Total Points

34

34

34

40

40

40

45

Pilot Items (Questions)
Not Included in Student Scores

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

 

Mathematics 2012

Item Type

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

EOCs*

Multiple Choice (1 point)

20

20

20

25

25

25

29

Completion Item (1 point)

6

6

6

5

5

5

5

Short Answer (2 points)

4

4

4

5

5

5

3

Total Items (Questions)

30

30

30

35

35

35

37

Total Points

34

34

34

40

40

40

40

Course Specific Content Items
Student performance on these items is not incorporated into student scale scores for purposes of meeting standard.

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

6

Pilot Items (Questions)
Not Included in Student Scores

5

5

5

5

5

5

6

* High school exams in 2012 are end-of-course in algebra 1/integrated mathematics 1 and geometry/integrated mathematics 2. Both EOCs have same item and points totals.

 

Science 2012

Item Type

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

EOC

Multiple Choice and Completion Item
(1 point)
Linked to Scenario or Stand Alone

26

30

35

Short Answer (2 points)

4

5

5

Total Items (Questions)

30

35

40

Total Points

34

40

45

Pilot Items (Questions)
Not Included in Student Scores

5

5

5

 

Individual Score Reports (HSPE)

Every student in grades 3-8 and 10 who participates in state testing receives a score report. Score reports, mailed by school districts to each student’s home, show how a student performed on the specific tests they took in the spring. Below is a sample high school score report. Place your mouse on each individual balloon to learn more.

If you have specific questions about your child’s state testing scores and/or performance, please contact your school.

 

 

End-of-Course Exam

Every student who takes an end-of-course exam receives a score report. Score reports, mailed by school districts to each student’s home, show how a student performed on the specific tests they took in January/February (for retakes) or spring (end-of-year testing). Below is a sample high school score report. Place your mouse on each individual balloon to learn more.

If you have specific questions about your child’s state testing scores and/or performance, please contact your school.

Learn More

Scale Score Ranges
Performance Level Descriptors
Item/Point Totals
State Testing FAQs
Graduation Requirements
Resources and Handouts

 

 



 
January 21, 2015 | Contact:            (206) 252-6350

 
Parent Information for Collection of Evidence

Parent COE Information

COE Eligibility

Eligibility

Any student who has attempted the state test one time in the applicable content area

Transfer students who meet the criteria for Direct Access

Students who have been authorized to complete a subsequent COE

A student may submit one full COE, and subsequent COEs as needed, in each of the content areas (reading, writing, mathematics and biology) during their high school career.

Reading/Writing:

Eligible to Compile: All high school students who have completed two or more years of high school English

Eligible to Submit: A student who has attempted and not met standard on the reading and/or writing HSPE.

Mathematics:

Eligible to Compile: Students are eligible to work on a mathematics year 1 COE if they have taken or are currently enrolled in a high school algebra 1 or integrated 1 mathematics course. Students are eligible to work on a mathematics year 2 COE if they have taken or are currently enrolled in a high school geometry or integrated 2 mathematics course.

Eligible to Submit: A student who has attempted and not met standard on a mathematics EOC.

Biology:

Eligible to Compile: Students are eligible to work on a biology COE if they have taken or are currently enrolled in a high school biology course.
Eligible to Submit: A student who has attempted and not met standard on a biology EOC.

Please go to the COE guidelines and policies for additional information: Subsequent COEs - Updated 10/1/2014

Students have an opportunity to submit a subsequent COE after not meeting standard on a previous one. A subsequent COE must follow similar protocols for submission as those for original COEs in terms of using inclusion bank tasks, meeting sufficiency requirements and submitting the collection during the submission windows published by the state. Subsequent COEs do not qualify for the stipend and incur a $200 scoring fee. District Assessment Coordinators must authorize the development of a subsequent COE. Instructions can be found at: http://www.coe.k12.wa.us/domain/53

Standard Subsequent COE: If a student’s original COE score is above 50% of the proficient cut-score the student is limited to a subsequent COE with exactly four new work samples. It is recommended that at least one of the four new samples be completed as an on-demand task. If the decision is not to include a new on-demand task, the student’s previous on-demand tasks will be included in deriving a new total score. Sufficiency requirements are outlined as follows:

Sufficiency requirements for Standard Subsequent COE submission:

Biology and Mathematics: Examples of every strand must be represented in the collection.

Reading: Two literary work samples and two informational (including functional text and CTE options) work samples required.

Writing: Two expository work samples and two persuasive work samples required.

Expanded Subsequent COE: An expanded subsequent COE may be submitted if the student’s full collection has a score that is less than or equal to 50% of the proficient cut-score for the content area (e.g., Year 1 Math proficient cut-score is 24 and the student’s submission is scored 12 or less). An expanded subsequent collection contains 5 or 6 new work samples with two on-demand tasks required.

Sufficiency requirements for Expanded Subsequent COE submission:

Biology and Mathematics: Examples of every strand must be represented in the collection. At least two on-demand work samples are required.

Reading: At least two literary work samples and two informational (including functional text and CTE options) work samples required. At least 2 on-demand work samples are required with at least one literary and at least one informational included.

Writing: At least two expository work samples and two persuasive work samples required. At least two on-demand work samples are required with at least one expository and one persuasive sample included.

Content Area

Cut Score

Standard Subsequent

Expanded Subsequent

Reading

72

37-71

36 and below

Writing

17

9-16

8 and below

Math Yr 1

24

12-23

11 and below

Math Yr 2

14

8-13

7 and below

Biology

41

21-40

20 and below

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COE Assessment Materials - Policy Revised October 3, 2014

COE Assessment materials must be secure at all times.

The COE inclusion banks of passages, tasks, prompts and scenarios are not to be used for instruction or curriculum. COE tasks are not to be used, in part or entirety, as templates or samples for instructional purposes. COE materials are for the assessment only. Duplication of the COE materials for any purpose other than providing students with the materials needed to respond to the tasks for submission is not allowed. Whenever inclusion tasks are used by students whether in print or online all administration protocol must be followed per guidelines for this secure state assessment.

  • Math tasks may be printed one per student for the sole purpose of submitting them in a collection.
  • Reading passages may be printed one per student for the sole purpose of reviewing the text and drafting responses. All final answers on the reading COE tasks must be submitted in the online system.
  • Writing prompts may be printed one per student for the sole purpose of brainstorming, drafting, and revising work. All final work on the writing COE prompt must be submitted in the online system.
    • For reading and writing: At the time of submission, any or all printed materials must be destroyed in a secure setting. Printed materials used for on-demand tasks must be destroyed in a secure setting immediately following the student submitting the task. Printed materials used for extended time responses must be held in a secure setting in the classroom, not shared with other educators, and not held over from previous administrations.
  • Biology tasks may be printed one per student for the sole purpose of drafting a response to a question. The printed material allows the student to read the inclusion bank task while simultaneously entering their work in the response box. All final answers on the biology COE tasks must be submitted through the online system.
    • Printed materials used for on-demand tasks must be destroyed at the end of the testing session. Only print the item within the task that is being worked on during that testing session.
    • Printed materials used for extended time responses must be held by the teacher at the end of each testing session, and then destroyed in a secure setting once the student has completed their extended time task.

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Sufficiency: A COE must meet all sufficiency requirements in order to be scored.

Sufficiency and Mathematics collections: If a student submits a task without any student work included, the task is removed from the collection and is not scored. Removal of an entire task may result in the collection having fewer than 6 work samples or fewer than two on-demand work samples which would result in an insufficient collection. Insufficient collections are returned to the district unscored.

The on-demand work samples differ from the extended time work samples in that on-demand work samples must be completed in a single continuous setting (session); Biology allows for an on-demand work sample to be completed in parts.

At least two on-demand work samples must be included in a COE.

Reading: http://www.coe.k12.wa.us/Page/126
Writing: http://www.coe.k12.wa.us/Page/127
Mathematics: http://www.coe.k12.wa.us/Page/128
Biology: http://www.coe.k12.wa.us/domain/49

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Test Security: All extended time responses and on-demand responses must be done under the supervision of the teacher or educational professional and are not to be taken outside the classroom or testing area. The room should be prepared for testing following the same guidelines as the content specific HSPE or EOC. Proctors must be trained on guidelines and procedures for administration. All work on a COE is only to be that of the applicable student.

Preparation for task administration in the classroom: In the reading, writing, mathematics, and biology guidelines specific instructions for administrating tasks in the classroom or another secure location will be provided. The content-specific guidelines will cover room and material preparation, proctor responsibilities for on-demand and extended-time work, content policies, and management of secure test materials. DAC and Teacher COE training: Similar to the HSPE and EOC proctor training, the COE training is designed to provide the critical information to implement the COE assessment with fidelity to the security protocols and best practices for assessing students. It is expected that all COE teachers participate in this training prior to implementing the COE assessment.

Security protocolsmust be followed in order to maintain the validity of the COE assessment tasks and other materials associated with the assessment. The online COE inclusion bank stores all COE tasks in the four content areas. The inclusion bank is a secure test site and, similar to the large-scale state assessments, the assessment materials are limited for use by the students compiling and submitting collections. Educators may not share the tasks, remove tasks from the classroom, use tasks for classroom instruction or duplicate tasks in part or in its entirety for any reason. Printing of the math tasks, passages from the reading tasks, and diagram pages for Biology tasks is to be done on behalf of a student, in support of the student’s specific need.

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Test irregularities:

Students with invalidated collections must compile a full collection consisting of entirely new tasks.

• 6 - 8 samples

• Minimum of two on-demand

• Full strand coverage

Please see the Test Irregularities Section of the COE guidelines here.

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COE and Accommodations:

Universal tools, designated supports and accommodations are detailed in the state's accessibilities guidelines. The Collection of Evidence is designed to support these accessibility features. COE students may access accommodations as stated in their IEP or 504 plan. For more information, refer to the WA Accessibility Guidelines or contact assessment@k12.wa.us for more information.

Large Print Accommodation - Process for handling large print inclusion tasks for students with vision impairments:

Mathematics COE-Provide instructional intervention and practice opportunities as relevant for the student. In preparation for the student to begin compilation of the inclusion bank task, print out the task on 8.5”x11” and 11”x17” (or larger) paper. Retain the printed tasks in a secure location in the classroom. When the student is ready to complete the task provide the student with the large print task. For an extended-time task that is completed during one or more sessions, the printed task must be stored in a secure location between sessions. On-demand tasks must be completed in one session and have the printed task retained in a secure location until the whole collection is ready for submission. Upon completion of the task, an educator will transcribe the student work (verbatim) from the large print task (11”x17” or larger) onto the regular sized task (8.5”x11”). Once the task has been fully transcribed, both the large task and the regular task will be retained securely at the school until submission of the collection. All paper-based copies of the task must be submitted to the COE Scoring Center at ESD 113.

Reading, Writing and Biology COE-please contact OSPI COE staff for assistance.

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English Language Learners:

All student responses must be submitted in English.

Mathematics and biology may have the assessment materials presented to them in their native language.

  • Human readers employed by the district.
  • District-provided print translation of the materials (print translations must be accomplished by school or district staff)
  • Word-to-word translation device reading directions, stimuli, and questions to the student in his or her native language.

For the mathematics and biology collections, the oral presentation will require the human reader to translate, as close to verbatim as possible, all stimulus materials (e.g., science scenarios, mathematics problems, and test questions).

Writing may have an oral presentation of the writing prompt:

  • A district-provided print translation of the prompt (print translations must be accomplished by school or district staff)
  • A word-to-word translation device reading the prompt in his or her native language

Reading may have an oral presentation of the directions only:

  • A district-provided print translation of the directions and items/questions (print translations must be accomplished by school or district staff.
  • A word-to-word translation device reading the directions or items/questions in his or her other native language

Translation in any format is not permitted for the passage/stimulus for the reading tasks.

NOTE:
Students may use bilingual word-to-word dictionaries that assist students; dictionaries must not include definitions that would aid the student with identifying or generating responses.
If print translations are provided to students, the print materials must be handled and disposed of following the same security protocols established specific to the COE program.

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Level 2 Cut Score for COE

The L2 cut-score for COEs and the ability of students to meet standard at a‘Basic’ level in a given subject in accordance with decisions made by a student’s IEP team are effective immediately, allowing for retroactive application of ‘Basic’ in the established content areas (reading, writing, mathematics and biology). “Retro Basic” updates will be available to any students still enrolled in the K-12 system, per concurrence of the IEP team.

The following outlines the specifics of each content area’s Proficient Cut and Level 2 cut-score:

COE Cut Scores

Total Points

Proficient Cut

Level 2 Cut

Reading

96

72

64

Writing

24

17

13

Math Yr 1

32

24

21

Math Yr 2

24

14

11

Biology

56

41

30

---



 
January 20,2015 | Contact:            (206) 252-6350

 
The Viking Shield, the RBHS student newspaper

Rainier Beach's student newspaper, The Viking Shield, is linked here. Please read and enjoy! Ms. Skolnik is the teacher and co-advisor with Joe Livarchik. Joe not only co-advises but has continued to volunteer with our students and facilitate the layout and design for the last 2 1/2 years. Thank-you Joe!  

December 19, 2014 | Contact:           
(206) 252-6350

 
PTSA Arm Sox Fundraiser!
PTSA Arm Sox fundraiser.  
What: PTSA Orange and Blue Arm Sox (can be worn as leg warmers) fundraiser
Cost: $10 a pair
Purpose: To assist students with their pay to play fees and/or their ASB cards.  

Please contact rainierbeachptsa@gmail.com if you want to purchase a pair.


November 15, 2014 |

 
13th Year Promise Scholarship


            College application season is upon us.
 South Seattle College offers all graduating Cleveland, Rainier Beach, and Chief Sealth seniors a tuition-free first year of college. Whether students are seeking a Transfer Degree (Associates Degree) or Professional and Technical Degree, they are guaranteed a full-time status, tuition-free year. Our goal for this program is to contribute in the efforts to ensuring that 100% of our partner high school seniors seek and attain a post high school education.

Our services offer students free COMPASS testing (transferable to all Seattle Colleges, Bellevue College, Shoreline College, Highline College, and any college that uses the COMPASS as a placement test), financial aid completion, COMPASS training and retesting, registration help and an intensive summer bridge program. Students who participate in all activities and complete the 13th Year Promise Scholarship Program are guaranteed free tuition for their first academic year at South.

If you have any questions or need any more information about South Seattle Community College or the 13th Year Promise Scholarship Program, please feel free to contact Chanell Sagon.  Office hours at Rainier Beach High School will be Tuesdays in the Resource Center from 8:30am-3pm. 

 
October 21, 2014 | Contact:            (206) 934-5205 

 

 
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