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How Progress Learning Supports Dillon School District Four in South Carolina

Since implementing Progress Learning in 2020, Dillon School District Four in South Carolina has seen massive growth in their students’ SCCCR mastery and SC READY test scores. Crystal Ellison, a former classroom teacher and now the Technology and Instructional Coach for the district, has witnessed this growth firsthand. We sat down with her to hear more about how Progress Learning is making a difference in their district.

Implementing Progress Learning During COVID-19

Dillon School District Four first began using Progress Learning during the 2020-2021 school year, a period marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and virtual/hybrid learning. Initially, the program was used in individual classrooms, but it was soon adopted district-wide. It quickly became an invaluable asset across all seven campuses and is currently being used in grades K-12, specifically grades 2-8.

How does Dill0n School district Four get the most out of Progress Learning?

SC READY and EOC Premium Practice Assessments

The most widely used tool at Dillon School District Four is the Progress Learning SC READY and EOC premium practice assessments. To prepare for state testing, their campuses typically take an entire day to administer these practice assessments. Students will take the ELA exam one day, math the next day, and, for grades that take the science assessments, science the final day. This process exposes students to the exams before the actual test so they can feel more confident and prepared.

Item Analysis

Once these practice assessments have been administered, educators use the Item Analysis feature in Progress Learning to see where students are struggling and whether students are struggling due to the content of the question or the type of question. “They are able to look at that Item Analysis to determine which questions are missed the most, if it is the way the question was written, whether it’s drag and drop or most commonly, select all that apply,” says Crystal. “You know that no matter how many times you tell kids that that means choose more than one, you have students who will only choose one. So it gives the teachers an opportunity to go over that as well.”

She also instructs teachers on how to display Item Analysis on their Promethean panels for class or small-group review. “[Teachers are] able to just tap on the question number under the Item Analysis. It pulls it up on the screen. You can go over it as a class or with only a handful of students.”

Benchmark Assessments

Another way the district uses Progress Learning is through benchmark assessments. These assessments are given every nine weeks and allow teachers to continuously monitor student progress throughout the year. For grades K-2, the Director of Student Services creates benchmark assessments to familiarize younger students with the testing format. “We want them to be able to get used to what it’s like to experience that SC READY test day,” says Crystal. 

Reports & Data Analysis

Progress Learning’s reporting capabilities have been a game-changer for Dillon School District Four. One school in particular uses Progress Learning to create an assessment for every grade level and every content area at the beginning of the school year. Then, after students take both the pre- and post-tests, the teachers are able to go through the Progress Reports and look at the color-coded system to see which areas need attention. As Crystal explains, “When there’s a lot of pink, we know okay, a lot of students are struggling with that.”

Printable Resources

Although Progress Learning is web-based, we support both tech-savvy and traditional teachers. We offer printables that teachers can project with their document cameras or print and hand out. Crystal shares that she had one older teacher who didn’t know how to use Progress Learning because he was so much more comfortable with pencil and paper. She showed him how to use the printables, and he immediately caught on.

Liftoff Adaptive Intervention

Progress Learning’s Liftoff Adaptive Intervention program has proven to be another beneficial tool in Dillon School District 4, particularly for students performing below grade level. Every morning for one hour, these students incorporate Liftoff into their learning with 30 minutes of math and 30 minutes of ELA. Although their learning level is lower than their peers, Liftoff looks nearly identical to Progress Learning, which ensures no student feels singled out or left behind. “Liftoff and Progress Learning look the same so you can have two students side by side, one who is on grade level and doing things like the Study Plan versus a student sitting beside them on Liftoff,” explains Crystal. 

100% SCCCR Alignment

According to Crystal, one of the best parts of Progress Learning is its precise alignment with South Carolina College- and Career-Ready (SCCCR) standards. She jokes, “I don’t know what Progress Learning has done or what type of relationship they have with our state department but it amazes me to see how aligned it is to our state test and those South Carolina Standards.” 

She admits that she brags about this when she’s out in the schools doing software training. “I mean, if the real SC READY math test has 52 questions on it, then that premium assessment has 52 questions on it for the math. It’s like a mirror image and some of those questions look almost identical to the SC READY. That’s the biggest selling point for us,” she says.

Keeping Student Data Secure

According to Crystal, the Director of Technology at Dillon School District 4 takes “great pride in the security of our students’ information.” A significant advantage of Progress Learning is its robust data security, which stands out against other educational tools. “A lot of these programs like Kahoot! or Quizlet are not something that we allow the students to use inside of the classroom because it shares information,” says Crystal.

Not only does Progress Learning protect student data, it also provides a gamified learning experience — one of the only edtech solutions to do both. Crystal says that the games are a favorite among students. “[The students] don’t realize that they’re actually having to learn in order to play the game.” Crystal has children in the district so she can “attest to [the games] being a favorite.”

Using Progress Learning Daily

How do the educators at Dillon School District Four use Progress Learning every day? “First and foremost, it’s guided practice and independent practice,” says Crystal. Teachers often start class by assigning 10 practice questions or pulling the videos and showing them on their Promethean panels. After students complete their work or after an assessment, teachers assign remediation instantly in Progress Learning.

Preparing Sub Plans

Progress Learning is also great when teachers need to make plans for a substitute teacher. “If you’re going to be out the next day, you’re going to assign work on Progress Learning,” says Crystal. She advises her teachers to leave her students “a video message telling them what you expect of them.” Crystal explains that her daughter’s teacher was out for a few days and left a personalized video in Progress Learning. Her daughter really appreciated that she could go back and look at that video more than once for the teacher’s instructions.

Training and Supporting Staff

Crystal wants to ensure her district’s educators are successful using Progress Learning. In addition to our training and professional development, she provides hands-on training sessions every month. She shows them how to sign in, set up their classes, and create assessments and assignments. She has them bring in their teacher laptops and lesson plans so they can learn how to integrate them into Progress Learning alongside her. “A lot of teachers, if you’re just looking at it, they’re not going to implement it when they get back so we have them go in and do it with me… If they have any questions, I’m right there and can answer them right then versus a week later in their classroom,” says Crystal. This hands-on training ensures that teachers are comfortable using the tool and can immediately apply it in their classrooms.

The mission of Dillon School District Four is “to improve the academic performance of all students.” Every program they use in their district “reflects our commitment to helping each child experience success.” We are honored to be one of those programs. 

Thank you, Crystal, for taking the time to talk with us. It was a pleasure hearing how your district is using Progress Learning to support your staff and students. 

Interested in using Progress Learning in your South Carolina district? Schedule your free demo today.

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