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How Amplify Reading measures student growth

As part of their Amplify Reading experience, students receive a monthly assessment, known as the Curioso Skill Scan, that measures their reading growth over time by assessing key skills for their current grade level. The results from these assessments can be used to monitor students’ literacy development and guide next steps for instruction, both within and outside of Amplify Reading.

The growth measures included in Amplify Reading measure the key reading skills that students in a given grade level are learning, and are tasks found to be predictive more broadly of overall reading skill for students in that grade level. Like all of Amplify Reading, these activities are fully digital and designed for students to complete independently.

Grades K-1: Word Reading

In grades K-1, your students are assessed on their decoding skills, by completing a word reading activity, as instruction and learning are focused on decoding.

Students are given a series of audio prompts and are asked to choose the word they just heard from a list of three options. Kindergarten students see images along with their audio prompts; for students in Grade 1, image supports appear for the first few items each month, before the activity switches to audio-only prompts.

This activity requires your students to use their developing decoding skills to accurately read words that incorporate sound spelling patterns that are appropriate for their grade level.

Each month your students will receive a slightly different list of words, with some repetition over time (ex: the same word might appear on the list for September and again in December). Each word list is set at a similar difficulty level to ensure that that changes in score are due to student growth and not due to changes in relative difficulty.

Grades 2-5: Comprehension

In grades 2-5, your students are assessed on comprehension, fluency, and reading for meaning by completing a maze passage.

Students silently read a grade level-appropriate passage in which roughly every seventh word is removed, and are prompted to choose the word that correctly fills in each blank from three possible choices. They are given three minutes to complete the assessment, after which they are returned to their quest.

Note: Students are not expected to complete the full activity within three minutes (but some may); any questions or blanks that students are unable to attempt before the measure times out are not scored as errors on the assessment.

This activity requires your students to use a variety of reading skills and strategies to complete the task, including word recognition and fluency skills, integration of background information and prior knowledge, and comprehension processes (for example: syntax, inference, text structure, comprehension monitoring) to construct meaning from the text.

Your students will see a different passage every month; all the passages they will read throughout the school year are written to be approximately the same level of complexity, to ensure that changes in score are due to student growth and not due to changes in relative difficulty.

Evaluating student performance and growth

Evaluating Student Performance in Grades K-1

Amplify Reading determines your students' level of performance by comparing their current score on the monthly Skill Scan assessment to predetermined cut scores that are the same across the year. There are two cut scores for each grade.

Performance is broken down into the following categories:

Growth measure data for grades K-1 can help you:

  • Understand your students’ current level of reading skill

  • Understand your students’ growth in reading

  • Evaluate your student’s level of performance and growth together to determine risk for reading difficulty

  • Plan next steps for instruction for individuals and groups of students.

Evaluating Student Performance in Grades 2-5

Amplify Reading determines your students’ level of performance by comparing their current score on the monthly Skill Scan assessment to that of a national sample of students in the same grade, and then providing a percentile rank.

Performance is broken down into the following categories:

Growth measure data for grades 2-5 can help you:

  • Understand your students’ amount of literacy growth and how it relates to the growth of peers with similar starting skills

  • Understand your students’ current level of overall literacy performance

  • Evaluate your students’ growth and level of performance together to determine their risk for reading difficulty

  • Plan next steps for instruction for individual and groups of students

Evaluating Growth Over Time

Amplify Reading uses percentiles to evaluate your students’ growth throughout the school year. By comparing a student’s scores on the monthly assessment over time to their first assessment, we are able to show progress relative to what is expected based on their initial score.

Growth is broken down into the following categories:

Evaluating Risk

By comparing your students' performance on the monthly Skill Scan assessment and their growth over time, Amplify Reading is able to estimate whether, and to what degree, your students may be at risk of reading difficulty.

The charts below show how Amplify Reading calculates risk based on performance data and growth trajectories:

Defining Risk in grades K-1

Defining Risk in Grades 2-5

Many students may also complete mCLASS assessments that measure risk, current level of skills, and growth over time. These assessments include measures of phonological awareness, alphabetic principle and decoding, reading fluency and accuracy, and comprehension. They are typically administered individually to students and include content that is different from the content included within the Amplify Reading Skill Scan.

Insight into your students' risk levels can help you to prioritize which students' data you may want to take a closer look at in order to inform instructional recommendations. However, because Skill Scan and mCLASS are different activities, there may be discrepancies between student results in mCLASS and student results in Amplify Reading. We recommend looking at both pieces of data together to make decisions about students’ instructional needs; if discrepancies occur, please consider the format of the assessment and the skill(s) that are being assessed.

Student growth in the Teacher Dashboard

Context: Growth’s role in your Dashboard

We built the Teacher Dashboard to help you better understand your students’ growth; it’s the driving force behind all the data you see there.

The amount of time your students spend in Amplify Reading is the first driver of growth. This usage will propel student progress through quests and subskills. Progress in Amplify Reading advances your students through a rich and engaging storyline that makes them want to use it even more. As students complete quests, they also make progress in mastering new subskills across Amplify Reading’s 13 skill domains. This subskill mastery progress drives improved performance as students are assessed monthly as part of their immersive Amplify Reading experience. This improved performance over time is presented in your Dashboard as student growth.

How to view growth for your whole class

You can use the Insights page on your Teacher Dashboard to see a breakdown of your students’ growth trajectories over time, based on their performance on the monthly Curioso Skill Scan activity.

The growth pane shown in the Insights page give you a quick view of which percentages of your students are in each growth trajectory, and shows you whether and which of your students have completed their Skill Scan activity for the current month.

The Insights page also includes a Risk pane, which groups your students by their respective levels of risk for reading difficulty, to help you prioritize groups and areas that may extra support.

Note: Click here to learn more about how the Insights page can help you understand your students’ growth and reading risk.

How to view individual student growth

You can use the Usage and Growth tab in Student Detail View to see individual students’ performance on the Skill Scan activity and their growth over time.

The Literacy Growth: Comprehension graph plots your student’s score each month against the performance levels for each activity; additionally it shows the rate at which the student is growing compared to where they started when they took their first monthly measure. This data combined allows Amplify Reading to calculate your student's level of risk for reading difficulty.

Examining performance level and growth over time gives you a deeper understanding of how your student is progressing. For example, if you see that your student is below average at any given moment, it indicates that they need extra instructional support; however, if you see your student is below average but made great growth in the last assessment period, you know that the supports you are providing are having an impact on their reading progress.

Resetting Skill Scan

In the event that a student is clearly rushing through the activity -- in other words, if their accuracy is very low relative to their response time -- Amplify Reading will flag the attempt as rushed, and the student’s score for this month will appear as Invalidated in your Teacher Dashboard. When this happens, you have the option to Reset Skill Scan for the current month either for individual students or in bulk.

To reset Skill Scan progress for an individual student, you can use the Reset Skill Scan button in Usage & Growth pane in their Student Detail view:

You can also reset the activity for multiple students using Reset Skill Scan button located in the Literacy Growth pane in your Insights page:

The bulk reset feature allows you to reset Skill Scan progress for any students who have completed the measure for the current month, including those who have valid scores. By default, when you click the Reset button, only students whose scores have been flagged as Invalidated will be selected for reset, but you do also have the option to select any other students with valid scores to have the measure for them as well.

If you do choose to reset progress for a student with a valid score for their most recent Skill Scan activity, you will see a popup prompt to confirm that you do want to reset their score:

Whether or not you choose to reset progress for rushed attempts at Skill Scan, we encourage you to remind your students to take their time and try their best on the activity the next time they see it.

Using Amplify Reading Data to Inform Instructional Recommendations

We recommend the following next steps, depending on how your students’ growth rates compare with their performance on individual assessments, and whether they are meeting their usage targets:

Note: Click here to learn more about how the Student Detail View in your Teacher Dashboard can deepen your understanding of your students’ reading progress.

How students see their growth and progress in Amplify Reading

Student growth: Monthly Curioso Skill Scan

The first time students log into Amplify Reading each month, they are automatically taken to their monthly Curioso Skill Scan assessment:

Students who used the Automatic Placement Tool will recognize the Amplify Reading lab, where the Skill Scan activities take place. Upon entering the lab, the Alyx character explains that it’s time for their Curioso’s monthly checkup, and asks the student to complete an activity to show how they’ve grown new skills.

Note: A student's own growth is mirrored in their Curioso; as they progress and gain new skills, their Curioso grows and earns new powers in turn!

Depending on their grade level, students will either see a Word Reading (grades K-1) or a Comprehension (grades 2-5) activity.

(above) Skill Scan activity for grades K-1

(above) Skill scan activity for grades 2-5

Once they have completed the activity, students return to the lab, where they see an “x-ray” of their Curioso (showing their growth) as well as a results screen with their score and the corresponding energy boost they earned for their curioso based on their performance:

The energy boost scores break down as follows:

  • 0 stars = Invalid Score (student was flagged for rushing -- only applies to Comprehension measure)

  • 1 star = Below or Well Below Expectations (“Moved Down”)

  • 2 stars = Meets Expectations (“Steady”)

  • 3 stars = Above or Well Above Expectations (“Moved Up”)

When students click the Continue button they return to the Bookerton Map (K-3) or the Workshop (4-5) and resume their Amplify Reading adventure.

Student progress in grades K-3: The Backpack

The vast majority of students' time spent in Amplify Reading is in quests, which call on students to play skill games in order to advance the storyline. However, in between quests, students have a few options to take a quick break: They can check their progress, review the quest narrative so far, explore the powers they've gained by practicing reading skills, and customize their curioso companions.

These activities are all accessed through the Curioso hub or backpack, which students can open by clicking the arrow at the top of the map screen.

The Growth Tab

As students play quests, they develop reading powers, and their effort in their skill practice will also unlock customizations for their curiosos. The growth tab allows students to view all of the different accessories they've unlocked so far, and to preview different looks for their curioso. Earning curioso customizations aligns students’ effort towards skill practice with their curioso’s changing sense of who they can be and how they can reflect their own self expression.

The Powers Tab

This tab allows students to chart their reading progress. The shape in the middle of the chart shows which skill areas students have been working on. By clicking on the skill icons around the edges of the shape, students can see which games they have most recently played in the specified skill area. As students make their way through quests they will also unlock powers for their curioso which give them new ways to interact and participate in the quests. Earning curioso powers aligns students’ actual skill growth with their curioso’s growth of powers, giving them additional agency in the game world.

The Items Tab (Grades K–1 only)

At the end of each quest in grades K-1, students receive various items as gifts from grateful townspeople they've helped. Students can use the Items tab to look at these and review the quest stories associated with each.

The Notes Tab (Grades 2-3 only)

At the end of each quest in grades 2-3, students are prompted to select answer choices to complete a short journal entry that records the quest's events. The quest journal allows students to explore self expression and the importance of word choice. The Journal entries are crafted to emphasize the importance that a single word can bring to the meaning or tone of an entire passage. Students can use the Notes tab to read back through their journal entries and review the quest narrative so far.

Gentle Redirect

The backpack gives students a built-in break from practicing skills -- but break time can't go on forever. After students have spent two minutes exploring outside of skill practice, their curioso companion appears to gently redirect them back to their active quest.

Student progress in grades 4-5: Blueprints and in-quest messages


Students in grades 4-5 can monitor their progress -- both within individual quests, and across the full 16 quest narrative -- directly from the Workshop, by clicking on the blueprints in the top right corner of the screen:

Clicking on the blueprints opens the student progress area -- students start off in the Overall Progress section, which shows them how they are advancing through their current quest:

When students are at the beginning of a quest, the blueprint will look like the above image; however, as students make progress through their quest, the different sketches will fill in:

Students can click on the different icons at the top of the screen to see more detailed information about their progress through the various quest activities:

  • The Battery icon shows students their game progress so far, including the levels they’ve completed in of each of the three games in their current quest:

  • The Radio icon shows students information about their progress through the 30 vocabulary activities in their current quest, a list of their 10 most recently encountered words, and an excerpt from the transmissions they unlock when they complete a set of 10 activities:

  • The Portal icon shows students their progress through the Close Reading narrative (The Four Eyes), in the form of a map of each of the lands of Vista that they visit throughout their 16 quests:

  • The Book icon shows students their progress through their assigned eReader chapter for their current quest, including a brief synopsis for each chapter as it is completed:

In-quest messages

In-quest messages ensure that students know how they are progressing through each quest, even if they don’t open the Blueprints.

Each time a student logs into Amplify Reading, they see an animated popup that shows a their overall progress through their current quest, a review of the activities they’ve recently completed, and prompts for what they should do next:

Whenever students complete an activity, they see another popup that includes information about their score and which activities might be available when they return to the Workshop:

If students exit an activity without completing it, they see a popup message about how far they progressed in that particular activity:

Each time students log out of Amplify Reading, they see a popup that includes a recap of the various activities they played and a teaser for what they’ll be able to do the next time they log in:

Resources to celebrate student progress and growth

Your students’ growth, and their progress through Amplify Reading’s skill map and quests is a reflection of their hard work and a reason to celebrate! You can use our printable certificates and engagement resources to recognize and reward your students’ achievements in the program.

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