The importance of assessing student strengths and growth in areas that matter is a topic of frequent conversation among superintendents in our League of Innovative Schools. When standardized tests weigh so heavily on school districts’ consciousness, there is often little remaining energy or incentive to challenge the status quo. The omnipresent question is, how do we measure student progress and achievement on development we care about?
Superintendent Mike Nagler and his team at Mineola Union Free School District recently shared their portfolio platform and accompanying digital learning ecosystem with the League’s Assessment working group. The district, in partnership with School4One and kidOYO, built a system that honors the unique pace, achievements, and strengths of each student, a daunting task they feel traditional standardized assessment does not accomplish.
Mineola is a small, suburban school district on Long Island, NY, that gives its students extensive opportunities to make choices about their academic futures. Through a curriculum delivery model that utilizes competency-based education, open educational resources, and badges, the district provides options for students to chart the path that makes the most sense for them, and captures their progress through digital portfolios.
At the beginning of this project, Dr. Nagler and his team identified their need for: (1) a platform to manage curriculum, (2) an app to assign and receive student work, (3) tools to grade and provide feedback, and (4) interfaces to visualize progress by standard.
In partnership with School4One, every student and teacher in Mineola has access to a sophisticated, highly navigable portfolio that allows for the management and access to data around their academic development. Progression on competencies is catalogued, and students have indefinite access to both their school work and feedback logged by teachers.
Through an evolving partnership with KidOYO, students in Mineola have access to a universe of resources created for them by their teachers. They are issued badges on the Habits of Mind, being recognized (not assessed) for the growth in dispositions like empathy.
The district built a technology solution that empowers teachers to personalize and recognize students’ unique achievements, and give them the agency to own their work and visualize their progress.
To learn more about Mineola’s portfolio system, view the webinar Dr. Michael Nagler delivered to the League’s assessment working group.