Question 1 - Do students have the option of having the test read to them or
use of the text to voice feature?
No, all students must complete the test without the assistance
of a reader or use of the text to voice feature. Benchmarks are designed to
provide both individual student and grade level information. If the test is
completed with varying conditions, the data will not be valid. Additionally,
Reading PSSA tests are not read for IEP students. Students with a reading IEP
may have the math test read to them, but not the reading. Keep in mind, the
purpose of this test is to reveal skill deficits and accomplishments. The
information can then be used to develop interventions, plan instruction, and/or
Typically, three to four benchmarks are administered throughout the
year within a grade with the expectation that each benchmark will show students
progressing towards the end-of-year performance goals. I tell you that because
this is the first benchmark for you and your students. Expect that there will be
growing pains, but over time the process will become routine and improve. We
also may not complete three to four this year, but if we do complete a second
later in the year student performance should show improved
Question 2: Who created the 2nd grade benchmark test? Where did it come
The 2nd grade benchmark is made up of questions from the test bank
for 2nd grade PSSA prep content. The questions were selected by Aileen and
represent a cross section of all of the reporting categories for PSSA. The
reading passages and questions also represent the progression expected for 2nd
grade students needed for success in 3rd grade.
Study Island is well aware that we dislike the fact that student difficulty
can not be adjusted for one subject area without impacting another. The next
time that I speak to them I will be sure to reinforce it again. Maybe they'll
get tired of me complaining, but I do agree that it shouldn't be all or
As far as completing benchmarks with text-to-speech turned on, this is the
directive: The PSSA is never given with text-to-speech capability and we need to
model that same process as closely as possible. The only exception to the normal
online delivery would be students that have an IEP requiring paper/pencil. When
we start deviating from the norm, then the data is not valid. So, I know that
Study Island makes it available (I"m not sure why?) but we do not want students
using that feature when completing the benchmark.
Exception: Math PSSA can be read since we are not testing reading skills,
but math skills. That said, it is my understanding that we still want to avoid
text-to-speech unless the IEP clearly indicates it for math.
If further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
I learned that the Built Test
items are only included in the Built
The class summary, individual student report, and gradebook
report are populated from Practice and Instruction assignments/tests.
express my disappointment that the two are not combined in any report and
requested that this be passed on to the programmers. I may call and talk with
another support person just to see if I get any additional perspective, but until then this is important information
to know and share.
I've received a number of questions
about the Start Date Reset and what to do about previous classes,
assignments, etc. The process involves some important details that I wanted to
make sure I better understood before I responded with another document.
Hopefully, the attached document will address the concerns about students not
seeing all of the assignments or seeing more than what you might want them to at
a given point in time. I have set the Start Date to the beginning of the school
year as this is tied to the student and impacts all teachers. It turns out that
it is not something each teacher should do. I apologize for not being clear
about that previously.
Second, the attached document details important steps that all
teachers using Study Island should take concerning their classes.
Teachers failing to update their classes may impact other teachers and students
from prior periods or years. I will speak with Michelle and Bryan further to
make sure they are able to help you with this task even though they are also
receiving the email. Please continue to pass along your questions and concerns
so that we may continue to improve our understanding, confidence, and efficiency
with this tool.
We have received a number of questions concerning the following.:
1) student reports generated by the teacher include prior year and semester
work in the performance results
2) student do not want to complete re-assigned work even when prior
performance was not proficient (because they still see the results of the
prior work via their login)
The attached document provides steps to address the above issues without
deleting assignments and prior work. If after taking these steps you still have
concerns or questions, please do contact us!
Class naming conventions - this is extremely important as
the class name is what displays throughout the program when making selections.
Your principals, fellow teachers, and district office need your help with
following this protocol so that complete and accurate information can be
gathered and reported.
Student login information - This year, Study
Island login uses the exact Novell login, lunch and library account format with
the addition of .swsd at the end of the user name. Hopefully this consistency
will help everyone with the process. Kindergarten and first-grade teachers may
still take advantage of the Easy Login. If you decide to take advantage of that format, you'll need to
tell Karen Sheely your choice for class username and password, even if it is the same one
used last year.
We have a subscription to Reading Eggs through Study Island. This is a great resource for k- 3. Please contact Bryan or Michelle for more information.
I've had a few questions about the change in score ranges and performance
levels for Benchmark 2 as compared to Benchmark 1. Following is the response
from Study Island. If further questions develop, please let me know.
Towards the beginning of each school year,
usually in late September to early October after the state releases the previous
year’s PSSA data, we do a benchmark analysis to correlate each individual
benchmark to the previous year’s PSSA based on students who took that particular
benchmark within a 30 day window of taking the actual PSSA. This correlation
adjusts the percent correct score of each benchmark to the associated scale
scores for each Performance Level. The correlation and scale score conversion
adjusts passing parameters to account for a particular test’s difficulty. So,
if one of the benchmarks is a little too easy or a little too hard, the raw
scores might seem a little high or a little low for a particular Performance
Level, but the scale score conversion obtained from the analysis will place them
in the correct category.
In this specific example, a
percent correct score of 72.67 is needed for a student to be classified as
Proficient for Reading Benchmark 1 based on an analysis done with 235 students
that took Reading Benchmark 1 within 30 days of the actual 2011 PSSA and a
percent correct score of 66.00 is needed for a student to be classified as
Proficient for Reading Benchmark 2 based on an analysis done with 341 students
that took Reading Benchmark 2 within 30 days of the actual 2011 PSSA. This
tells us that Reading Benchmark 1 is a little easier than Reading Benchmark 2,
but the analysis that creates a correlation to the scale scores accounts for
this and adjusts accordingly. This is why a 66.67 percent correct on Reading
Benchmark 1 correlates to Basic and the same score on Reading Benchmark 2
correlates to Proficient.
BOTTOM LINE: Study Island Score ranges change in an attempt ensure students are appropriately and accurately assigned projected PSSA performance levels.
We learned that once we are in the benchmark window,
students may not access regular content/activities until they have completed
their assigned benchmark. As soon as a benchmark is completed, for example
reading, then the reading content/lessons/activities will once again be
Unfortunately this means classes testing at a later time within the window
will not have access to SI activities until the students have completed the
benchmark. For the next benchmark, we may want to look at creating a schedule
based on grade levels to minimize the block out period.
More from our SI representative, Hugh Donovan:
1) Once the window for your students' benchmark has opened, they really are
blocked out of their grade level content. Exceptions: students restricted to
lower or higher content will be able to access that content; students that
completed one benchmark (ex. math) will be able to access that content, but not
2) Reading passages will likely stay the same for each benchmark so it
would make sense to file copies still in good condition to save trees. That
said, it will be important to check prior to each benchmark each year that the
reading passages have remained the same. The file that I sent out did have the
specific benchmark identified in the header because each benchmark has its own
unique reading passages. Also, of course, we want the children to be talking to the test, highlighting, etc. as if they
are taking the PSSA. That's why we're printing them out. I truly would be
disappointed to see a paper that was reusable!
Keep the questions and tips coming as it really does help all of us become
better users of the program. If the answer to your question(s) does not appear
above, we are still working on it and will have a response soon.
If you choose to restrict a student to a higher or lower grade level for
content, it will apply to all content (reading, math, and science). I explained
to SI that often students may need scaffolding for one, but not all content
areas. In the meantime, the workaround is to create specific assignments where
the teacher chooses content from the grade level appropriate for specific
students. I know this means that at times the teacher will need to create two or
more separate assignments.
Another item in this area is the hiding of the grade level (that blue
info link on the right side of the student's assignment page. I shared
that even when we check for it to be hidden, it sometimes still shows up. They
are considering having it off by default which seems to make sense.
Questions? Email Karen Sheely, Director of Instructional Technology