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Recommendations for Using aimsweb at the Secondary Level

May 1, 2011

aimsweb provides CBM probes in the areas of Reading, Math, Spelling, and Written Expression with content designed to assess student performance through Grade 8. However, a large number of high schools use these probes to assess progress and inform instruction for students in Grades 9-12. This article contains information provided by users of aimsweb at the high school level, including some of their thoughts on its effectiveness and recommendations for successful implementation.

Ways in Which aimsweb Data Can Assist Educators at the High School Level:

  • Fall Benchmark testing of incoming freshman allows teachers and administrators to quickly identify at-risk students and immediately provide them with the support services they need (e.g., interventions, extra study halls) to prevent them from falling behind.
  • Universal screening (benchmarking) with aimsweb provides comparable performance data on all students, making it easy to set cut-off scores to determine eligibility for tutoring, support services, and available intervention programs.
  • aimsweb provides reliable, easily interpretable data for review and evaluation at Student Support Team meetings for at-risk students.
  • aimsweb Reading and Math Benchmark scores can be interpreted in terms of the probability of success on high-stakes tests such as state end-of-year or graduation assessments. This is currently provided for Grades 1-8, where educators use it to set target scores indicating whether students are on track to pass the state test. As aimsweb receives outcome data for Grades 9-12 from users, they will make these targets available for those grades.

Additional Benefits of aimsweb for High School Administrators:

  • aimsweb is an excellent accountability tool, providing one source of data that administrators can use to gauge the effectiveness of both programs and individual teachers.
  • aimsweb provides reliable, valid data on student performance to share with parents. This can be especially helpful when parents request their child be assessed to determine special education eligibility. aimsweb quickly shows parents how their child is performing compared to peers and to school- or district-set targets.
  • High-performing schools can see how well their students performed compared to others and raise expectations to better reflect their capabilities.

Selecting Which Normative Data to Use:

  • Most high schools that use aimsweb begin by using the national aggregates for Grade 8 as a point of comparison for their students, since these norms are based on a large number of administrations and are therefore more likely to be representative of typical student performance. However, the current set of aggregate norms for Grades 9-12 are being replaced with new nationally representative norms for Grade 8 in the fall of 2011. Grade 8 is the highest grade for which there currently is a large, representative sample on which to base norms. Because there is relatively little average growth onĀ aimsweb measures above Grade 8, these norms are the best available tool for interpreting scores at Grades 9 through 12 and are therefore recommended for use as a point of comparison when assessing and monitoring your students in Grades 9-12 in the fall of 2011.
  • If your high school does universal screening (benchmarking), then after you have collected a year’s worth of aimsweb data at a given grade level (e.g., 9th grade), you will also be able to use these local grade-level norms as a point of comparison for student performance, as well as to assist with setting grade-level targets and individual student goals. You should not use local norms if you are only progress monitoring a subset of your student population as this will not give you representative data for comparison.
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