It would be accurate to describe our approach to product development as methodical. We began our work on Literary Companion® in 2004, seeking to foster more active intellectual engagement with literature among students. Today, after years of ongoing testing and modifications, it is a robust text-specific close-reading tool unlike any other available to schools.
We've taken the same approach with the development of Assessments21® and FineTune™—in both cases, drawing upon our own experiences in the classroom first, and then working closely with students, teachers, and administrators in our pilot schools, to ensure that we’re delivering products as academically sound as they are easy to use.
Here's how they work:
Online Professional Development in the Evaluation of Student Writing
- Teachers access a database of hundreds of actual student essays.
- Teachers evaluate each essay based on a five-category rubric aligned with the Common Core State Standards.
- Teachers receive immediate, category-by-category comparative scoring and analysis for each essay they score.
- Teachers take built-in assessments to measure performance and qualify for scoring of writing in Assessments21.
- Supervisors use the resulting data to provide targeted professional support.
Online Classroom-Based Common Assessments
- Teachers choose texts from among three genres (short stories, poetry, non-fiction) and four levels of difficulty for a classroom-, school-, district-, or state-level assessment.
- Students take the assessment, which measures their level of performance in reading comprehension and written analysis.
- The reading-comprehension assessment is scored automatically.
- Students’ essays receive double-blind scoring by FineTune-approved Readers and Senior Readers.
- Questions and resulting data are correlated to the CCSS and easily accessed by student, teacher, and administrator.
Online Text-Dependent Close Reading
- To complement students’ reading of a literary text, teachers choose the corresponding Literary Companion title from among a library featuring dozens of the most popular books in grades 6-12.
- In an interactive online format, students undertake in-depth study of ten passages from the text.
- Formative assessments in vocabulary, reading comprehension, and written analysis complement rich, text-dependent content—all aligned with the CCSS.
- Teachers use the resulting data to inform instruction throughout the unit.
- Built-in final assessments in all skill areas provide a full set of data for students, teachers, and administrators.