Mexico School District Reading Coach Melissa Chastain is excited about the district's use of the AIMSweb system, and the effects the program can have on student performance. As a former special education teacher, Chastain says she has seen the system work.
Chastain presented the instructional improvements that have resulted from the use of AIMSweb at the Mexico Board of Education meeting Tuesday night. During the presentation, she detailed her experiences with the program and explained how it helps students who are questionable or of concern.
AIMSweb is a 3-tier Progress Monitoring System based on direct, frequent and continuous student assessment which is reported to students, parents, teachers and administrators via a web-based data management and reporting system for the purpose of determining response to instruction. Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM), the foundation of AIMSweb, is the method of monitoring student progress.
"Before this year, I was a special education teacher and I had students that people thought would never [advance] and we worked with lots of those students. And, I can honestly tell you, that this (AIMSweb) made the difference for them, the way that I used it, and the way I see teachers use it and implement it into the district as well," Chastain told the board. "At the elementary, the middle school and at the high school level (where there are students that are under reading levels significantly) we have students using it.
"So the great thing this year, for the first time, we have all three levels using this program, and really it can make all the difference in the world."
Chastain said the AIMSweb system has math and reading programs, but the district only uses the reading program. The 3-tier problem-solving model involves universal screening, strategic monitoring and progress monitoring, and all students are assessed three times per year (fall, winter and spring) at grade level, to show their understanding of what they are being taught.
The system provides different reporting levels for different users, objectively determines rates of progress for individual students, allows evaluation at multiple levels of comparison and prints professional reports for Parent Reports for parent conferences and other meetings.
"The program allows us to identify at-risk students early. The benchmark report can confirm significant improvements have been made, such as Response to Intervention (RTI), and the monthly assessment intervals provide more frequent opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of instructional change. It allows comparison of scores, school by school and gives successful revision and adequate progress documented," Chastain said. "We've done quite a bit of research and a year's worth of data, and I'm really excited about AIMSweb program, because it will help us better understand where our kids are at, and plan for better instruction."
No action was required by the board, but questions about the program were asked and addressed by Chastain. All building principals present agreed the system was working well and is very effective. The total cost to the district for the AIMSweb system was not readily known. Chastain estimated the annual fee per student to be about $5 to $7.