By: Rachel Brown, Ph.D., NCSP
In response to our continued research and excellent user feedback, this summer (mid-July) FastBridge Learning will introduce many updates in FAST™ to improve and refine our comprehensive assessment system. Enhancements will be made to:
- User Management
- Account Management
- Data Management
- FAST Reading and FAST Math are one-stop summaries of assessments designed to simplify the selection of assessments for screening and align the right assessment for the right purpose. FAST Reading and FAST Math package computer-adaptive and CBM screening assessments together in a way where educators may go to a single screening page and see the package of assessments that are recommended for a student at a particular grade level at a particular time of the year. This makes it easier for educators to use multiple methods of assessment, collect multiple sources of data, and combine that data in useful ways to guide instruction, further diagnostic screening, intervention, and progress monitoring (when needed).
- FAST Reading
- FAST Math
- Comprehension Efficiency (COMPefficiency) is a new online assessment coming for grades 2-8 which has emerged from many years of research and field testing. This assessment measures the rate of reading and comprehension accuracy. Comprehension efficiency scores (accuracy and—if accuracy is sufficient at 70% or greater—reading rate) and sub-scores by comprehension type which describe the quality of the student’s mental representation of the story (text-to-text, text-to-passage, and text-to-knowledge). In fall 2016, our users will be able to do seasonal screening of students with the Comprehension Efficiency measure with progress monitoring planned for fall 2017. Screening passages will be unique for each screening period and for each grade. Passages for grades 2 and 3 will be narrative; passages for grades 4 through 8 will be informational text.
Math Concepts and Applications (FAST CAP) will be available for Kindergarten through grade 8 next school year. Previously known in FAST as “aMath Progress Monitoring”, we’ve updated and revised all of the online forms for grades 1-5, and have developed new forms for Kindergarten and grades 6 through 8. This updated and standards-aligned assessment may be used for both screening and progress monitoring.
- Another enhancement to the math assessment suite includes scoring rules revisions for CBMmath Process. An easier and more efficient scoring procedure has emerged from analysis of our data and tremendous user feedback. There will be two levels of scoring:
- Whole problem (correct, partially correct, or incorrect) and
- The error types in general that the student made.
This will make CBMmath Process much simpler and faster for educators to score. And, CBMmath Automaticity (fully online administered and scored) is being expanded next school year to include grades 1 through 8.
There will be an improved Reports Manager page in FAST next school year. This is a major usability improvement for our users which organizes FAST reports by function of the report (e.g., reports for screening and problem identification, reports for problem analysis and planning, and reports for intervention and monitoring).
- Many reports in FAST will also be able to be disaggregated by demographics. Users may select desired filters to apply to the report data, and the report will refresh to reflect the desired selections. (Note: demographic data must be supplied by a school/district for this feature to be available within the account). Demographic filters include gender, ethnicity, language, language proficiency, service code, IEP and 504 status, gifted & talented status, and meal status.
- FAST Norms and Benchmarks will be fully available online (and not require downloading a PDF). In addition, the norms will include student growth percentiles and median growth percentiles. Updated norms and benchmarks for the 2016-17 school year will be available in FAST in mid-July.
- The College and Career Ready benchmarks in FAST have been revised and re-titled to College Pathways Benchmarks. The College Pathways Benchmarks are available for aReading, aMath, earlyReading, earlyMath, CBMreading, and CBMmath. They apply the following percentiles (which are consistent with the results of published research and the outcomes of ACT, SAT and other types of college entrance studies):
- K–8: 75th percentile
- 9–12: 80th Percentile
- The Screening to Intervention Report will be available for math next school year. This report combines student screening data from aMath and CBMmath Automaticity to identify the type of instructional need, as well as recommend tier specifications, progress monitoring frequency and measures, and growth goals.
- Several of the most popular reports in FAST have been redesigned to enhance readability, decision making, and functionality:
- Group and Group Growth Reports (adding demographic filters, summary statistics, easy drill-in to student performance or drill-out to grade or school level, and growth percentiles/targets)
- Individual & Group Skills Inventory Reports (revised to make it easier for teachers to identify what skills students need to learn)
- Individual Benchmark Report (will include “hover” options for more detailed percentile rank analysis)
- Impact Reports (offering both visual-format and table-format view options for student, class, grade, and school)
User Management Enhancements
- Staff account imports will be simplified. School and district managers will have the ability to create different user account types by uploading a single .csv file. This feature will eliminate the need to manually create each user one by one. Account types available for batch import include:
- Group Proctor
- School Manager
- District Manager
An improved account set-up process will give users the ability to use last year’s assessment settings & screening period settings for quicker set-up for the new school year. Other account set-up improvements allow managers to:
- Pre-populate all the schools within a district, and
- Automatically map the correct assessments available for a school based on the type of school and the grades they serve (and modify as needed).
- A new subscription tool gives the Master Account Administrator the ability to see how many FAST licenses the account has used versus purchased through the subscription year.
- Improved rostering process will make it easier to get student names and teacher assignments into the FAST system. We’ll have more on-screen messaging and simplified steps for better speed and accuracy when manually uploading a student roster in FAST. In addition, we will offer two new and/or improved options for automating your student roster upload into FAST:
- Improved Automated Batch Import (ABI) Process will streamline roster uploads, or
- Districts may be able to sync their student data from their Student Information System (SIS) directly to FAST.
Data Management Enhancements
- Improvements to the data download functions will allow users to pull data from FAST to import in their own data management systems for further analysis of student performance data. New data download improvements include:
- Historical data,
- Data from All FAST assessments,
- National percentile data, and
- Performance/download speed improvements.
We are very excited to be able to offer these enhancements to FAST users for the 2016-17 school year! Current FAST users may view a webinar with more details on these improvements from the FAST Knowledge Base (log in required). If you’re interested in using FAST in your district next school year, please contact us for more information on how to get started!
Dr. Rachel Brown is FastBridge Learning’s Senior Academic Officer. She previously served as Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Southern Maine. Her research focuses on effective academic assessment and intervention, including multi-tier systems of support. Her research focuses on effective academic assessment and intervention, including multi-tier systems of support, and she has authored several books on Response to Intervention and MTSS.