NEW PARIS — National Trail Elementary school is utilizing a program called eSpark to help both students who are behind in class, and those students who are advanced.
According to Principal Ed Eales, the program has helped the students grow 1.3 grade levels.
The school is using the program for students in first through fourth grades. Students take a diagnostic test at the beginning of the year and then the eSpark program assigns interventions using apps and videos. The students take a pre-test on the standard they are learning, watch the videos and play the apps, take a post test, and then record a video stating what they have learned.
Eales spoke about the program during a National Trail Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 22.
He shared, the teachers began their MAP training. He noted, the school has been doing MAP testing for awhile, but the teachers have never been very well trained.
“We were doing it, but we didn’t know how to use it to make the best use out of it,” he said. “We had a trainer brought in and I thought she did a very nice job. It went all day and there was a lot of information. There was a lot of stuff that was discussed on how we can be successful and get the most value out of it. The MAP is also what’s tied into our eSpark data.”
The data for eSpark is gathered from the MAP tests.
Superintendent Jeff Parker noted the students had grown 1.3 grade levels, but asked Eales what that would translate into as percentiles.
Eales said, “Our kids started out at the 56th percentile last year. This was nation wide. At the end of the year, after we got done, our kids were at the 61st percentile. They grew that much in points. Basically, our kids grew more than the other kids did. When we took the test in the spring, our kids had increased that percentage. That’s really good. We’re catching kids up and we’re keeping those ahead with eSpark.
“We’re starting out new with first and second grade. They all use iPads,” Eales continued. We’re hoping we can get first and second grade to learn for half an hour every day too. What eSpark does is, if I’m in fifth grade and I’m reading at an eighth grade level, it’s going to give me eighth grade stuff. If I’m in fourth grade and reading at a second grade level, it’s going to give me second grade stuff that helps me catch up.”
“Like the more questions you get right, the harder stuff it gives you?” board member Cindy Lee questioned.
Eales confirmed that was correct.
The teachers are able to look at the growth of the students and confirm they are learning.
“At the end the kids have to make a video showing what they learned. I think that is neat for them. The teachers and I can see those,” Eales added.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH