Category Archives: Reports

Using ClassMax to Prepare for State Testing

For many of us, spring break has passed and the only major obstacle in the way before Glorious Summer (that absolutely deserved to be capitalized) is state standardized testing. The time of year when our students demonstrate all the goodness that we have jammed into their heads for the past six months. The time of year when our effectiveness as a teacher often rests in the minds of children. The time of year when most of us begin drinking heavily.

Testing season is a necessary evil in education, so instead of fighting it, we might as well try to find a way to beat it into submission. And the biggest bat a teacher can use for that is ClassMax data.

All year, you have collected data on student mastery of standards using ClassMax. Now, it’s time to make that data work for you. Here are a few ways you can use ClassMax to prepare your students for state testing:

  1. Student Tracking and Self-Reflection: Print a cumulative report of standards tracked for each student. If you are in a digital school, save them as PDF’s and share them digitally with individual students. Have students complete our Progress Tracking with ClassMax document. It is recommended that these be done with your students in either a small group or an individual data chat.

2. Differentiated Small Groups – Go to Reporting on the sidebar. Make sure “All Students” is selected. Select the date range for your monitoring (usually the most recent quarter is the most accurate). In the “Filter Standards” dropdown menu, select only the standards that will be accessed on your state exam. Finally, click the PDF icon and print your report. This gives you a list of where your students are averaging on this standard. You can use this to form groups for differentiated test prep activities or targeted instruction.

3. Pinpoint the most effective whole class content: From your main reports page, make sure “All Students” is selected and that your date range is appropriate. Filter the standards to show only the tested standards. This line graph will show you what areas of whole class instruction may be valuable to your students. For example, in the picture below, standard RL.1 shows 55% of students are performing in below grade level, so this might be a standard that is reviewed through whole group instruction. Run your report by class period if you want to tailor your whole group lessons by class period mastery.

While testing season is stressful and hectic, your data management and personalized instruction doesn’t have to be. Let ClassMax help maximize testing success for you and your students!

How to Make Groups from Reports with ClassMax

We are continually updating ClassMax based on feedback from our awesome users, but this last update really made me wish I had this feature last year when I was still in the classroom!  Users told us that creating groups was simple with ClassMax, but that it would be so much faster if they could have auto-generated groups from the reporting page.  You asked and we delivered, teacher friends!

To generate automatic groupings based on learning levels, you first need to go into the reporting menu on the left sidebar of the main teacher dashboard.

From here, select your date range for reporting on standards-based progress and then drop down the standard that you want to report on.  You should notice that when you hover over a learning level now, you are given the option to create a group.  Select this and simply name the group straight from the reporting menu.

When you move over to view your groups now, you should see the group that you created from the reports menu.

Another new feature with our reports and groups is that you can now run reports by groups of students.  This is helpful if you are tracking progress of a specific group of students.  For example, let’s say I needed to report on how my ESE students are doing on specific standards.  I would simply go to the reports menu, select my date range and my ESE group.  From here, I can run the report just on these students alone.  This makes it easy to desegregate your data during data chats with administration.

Suggested groups might include by ethnicity, gender, economic background, language learners, or targeted students defined by your school or district.

For more information on how to use our standard grouping function, check out this blog post.

3 Ways to Prepare Your Classroom for Success in the 2nd Quarter

While the rest of the world celebrates the arrival of fall with flannel, scarves, and pumpkin-spiced everything, teachers know that the arrival of fall actually signifies a much bigger ending in their classrooms than just summer.  October typically wraps up the first quarter in classroom cadences and with that comes a variety of processes and tasks that only a classroom teacher truly understands.  Bulletin boards are changed with the weather, units of study are often brought to a close, and the dreaded report card hustle begins. There are parent phone calls wondering why their kid is failing even though they have done zero work all quarter and this is the first time you’ve had the parent respond to any type of contact.  We are sending failure reports to admin and student concerns to guidance.  We are re-arranging seating charts based on behavior and maybe even requesting scheduling changes for those students who just need a “fresh start” in a different classroom (bye Felicia…).

With all that chaos, don’t lose sight of these three really important ways that classrooms should be growing and shifting by the end of October:

  1. Your student performance should begin to show an upward trend.  True, Little Timmy still reads three grade levels below where he is supposed to be, but student performance should at least begin to track upwards in October, even for Little Timmy.  Take a look at the results of your first benchmark assessments (probably given in September or early October sometime), but don’t stop there.  Compare those benchmarks with your student progress, either in their grades and assessment scores or in your ClassMax data – or both, if you really want to rock your world.  Who is growing?  Who is not?  Who is (gulp) regressing?  For more information on how to use data to drive rigorous instruction in your classroom, read our article, “Teacher’s Guide: Using Data to Drive Instruction.”
  2. Regroup your students.  Most of us group our kids at the beginning of the school year based on standardized test scores from the previous school year.  In a pinch, that’s a good grouping qualification, but hopefully by the end of October, you are starting to see even a small impact from your own instruction.  Take some time at the end of the first quarter to re-evaluate your student groups.  Perhaps now that you have more data (thanks to ClassMax, wink, wink…), you should be able to group in multiple ways – by performance on standards, by overall grades, by learning types, etc.  Take a look at your data and begin forming meaningful groups for your second quarter of instruction.
  3. Send home behavior reports.  While report cards are a fine mode of parent contact, if you’ve been collecting behavior data on your students, why not attach those reports to report cards as well?  And for fun, go ahead and require the behavior report be brought back in for a completion grade in the 2nd quarter.  This way, you are making meaningful parent contact and covering yourself a bit by sharing what you have seen in your classroom with parents.  (TEACHER TIP: I used to print labels that said “Parent Signature” and “Date” on them and I put those on just about anything – tests, quizzes, behavior reports, etc.  It’s an easy way to make parent contact without… you know… making parent contact…)  Are you an overachieving, going-for-gold-stars teacher?  Go ahead and print a cumulative ClassMax student report and send home EVERYTHING you’ve collected on your students.  (If your school is a PBIS school, you might be interested in our ClassMax Schools platform that tracks behavior with MaxPoints™.)

As your second quarter kicks off, save yourself some time to focus on instruction – shocking, I know – by ending the first quarter successfully.  A little upfront work can make for a much smoother quarter and a much happier teacher.

Pumpkin spiced lattes help, too.

August Updates

We have been busy making ClassMax even more useful and purposeful this summer and are happy to announce three new updates that might make your teacher lives a little easier.

  1. Color-Coded Behavior Reports – Thanks to feedback from a very helpful teacher user, we now have color-coded behavior reports, making it easy to see negative behavior, positive behavior, and consequences at a glance.  
  2. Archiving Classes – Now, it is easier than ever to archive class periods from your Settings menu by going to Settings and then Periods.  From here, you can archive classes when you are done with them or unarchive them with a simple click.  
  3. Live Chat Support – With our new live chat support on the dashboard now, you can reach out to ClassMax even during your instructional time to get quick responses and continue on your teaching way!  

We hope you’ll enjoy these new features and that it makes your teacher day a little bit easier!

A Teacher’s Guide: Using Data to Drive Your Instruction

As educators, we hear that popular buzz phrase all the time: “Use your data to drive your instruction.”  I don’t know about you, but whenever I heard that phrase, I would completely agree:

  • Yes!  I want my teaching to be more rigorous!
  • Yes!  I want to be purposeful and intentional with my instruction!
  • Yes!  I know my data can help me do that!

But then I would stop and really think about how that would look in my classroom and I found myself with lots of questions:

  • Okay, but WHAT data should drive my instruction?
  • Where am I driving my instruction anyway?
  • What does that look like in my classroom?

I have always had a love/hate relationship with data.  On one hand, I know there is power and insight in it.  When I had quarterly data chats with my admin and weekly data discussions with my PLC, I could see the value and bounty that data could bring to my instructional practices.  But when my administrators left and my PLC went back to their own classrooms, I was often left looking at a spreadsheet and trying to reconcile how in the world it even mattered in my lesson plans.  My biggest issue with using data to drive my instruction was that, often times, the data came too late.  It was after we had moved on in our unit or even after our unit had finished, so in order for me to go in and reteach, I was having to jump out of sequential order of my instructional calendar.  I would get quiz results or benchmark assessments back and think, “How am I going to go back and teach central idea of nonfiction texts when I’ve already moved on to character analysis in fiction writing?!”

And that’s when ClassMax was born.

As an educator, we know our students well enough to know when they are struggling with a concept.  But what do we do with that knowledge?  It isn’t DATA, but, darn it, I’ve seen that kid struggle and I know they aren’t mastering the topic yet.  With ClassMax, teachers are able to quantify what they see in their classrooms, turning those 100 times a day when we think to ourselves, “Matthew is really struggling,” or “Claire needs some extra help with that skill” into actual, reportable data right there on the spot.  No waiting for a test score.  No waiting even for an exit ticket at the end of the period to tell me what I’m already going to know.  I create my own data as I teach. 

It is in this instantaneous, organic data collection that using data to drive instruction can really come to life.

Let’s look at a real example.  Let’s say that I just taught a lesson on the water cycle to my 2nd grade class (P.S. In real life, I was a middle school Language Arts teacher, so if I botch this example, just go with it…).  I teach my awesome lesson and then turn my students loose with some sort of academic task.  As they are working, I am walking through the room, answering questions and collecting data through the progress monitoring feature of ClassMax.  I can assess an entire class of students in under two minutes with ClassMax.  TWO MINUTES.  Which means that in two minutes, I have quantifiable data to drive my instruction.

So, I have assessed my students and now, merely five minutes into their assignment, I have data to use to drive my instruction.  I’m going to run a report on the standard I am tracking right there on the spot as my students are working.

Here’s the standard I am teaching (I realize this is a language arts standard, but we are wearing our imagination hats, right?  Go with it…).  If I click the standard, it is going to show me who is where on their progress.  And, remember, this is from the data I just collected five minutes ago.  It’s fresh meat, teacher friends.  In less then five minutes, I have assessed my students and now have the data in my hand so immediately drive my instruction.

From that two minute data collection in class, I can immediately start addressing learning needs during my lesson – not after the fact.  I know that I should probably go sit one-on-one with my red student because she is struggling more than her classmates.  I know that I should probably pull my yellow scoring students into a small group for a little reteaching or to clarify some misunderstandings.  I even know who is wasting their time by doing the current assignment and is already ready to move into an enrichment activity.

THAT is using data to drive instruction, teacher friends.  It is collecting realtime data in your classroom from what you are seeing and hearing as an education professional and then immediately using that data to change how you are reaching students.  There is no waiting for quiz or test results to come back.  There is no analysis in a big spreadsheet.  There is no creating separate lessons.  It is simple assessing students where they are and adapting your instructional practices accordingly, in realtime.

While assessment data is highly valuable in a classroom and should not be replaced or undervalued, ClassMax allows for an additional layer of assessing that is teacher-driven and instantaneous.  It is a powerful tool to have in your hands, teacher friends.  What will you do with it?

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Are you a teacher interested in an individual teacher account?  Click here for information and pricing!

Are you an administrator or district personnel interested in ClassMax for a school or district?  Click here for site licensing information and pricing!

Final ClassMax Reports to Submit at the End of Your School Year

For some of the luckiest teachers, summer break has already started!  For the rest of us, our countdown clocks are ticking and we are counting the minutes and seconds left in the school year.  Before your school year ends, take this time to submit your final ClassMax reports to your district and school admin teams.

With our easy MULTI-CLASS REPORTING, you can run one comprehensive report for your entire class.  Watch this quick demo on how to access multi-class reports:

Accommodations Reports

Make sure you submit your final accommodations reports for your ESE/504/or other special consideration students.  Run your report for the last period of time you are monitoring (weekly, quarterly, etc.), but take it a step further and earn one more gold star before you end a stellar year by voluntarily submitting a cumulative yearly report of accommodations.  You’ve collected all the data this year, so be sure your admin team knows about it!

Behavior Reports and Notes

Not every student will need a year-end behavior report, but be sure to run them for your high-fliers.  You can submit these to your grade-level administrator or dean.  Or, save the file digitally for yourself just in case any issues come back to haunt you over the summer or next school year.  I once had a parent contact my principal about a test score their student received on their final exam in my class (I graciously gave him a 50%, even though he didn’t even turn in a test paper…).  Because I had kept clear and daily records of the student’s behavior and performance in my class, I simply had to pull up the year-end summary of the ClassMax notes I had kept on that student and there was my protection from any parent accusations.  CYA.  It’s a real thing. 

Progress Monitoring

I don’t know about you, but I wait on pins and needles for my student scores every year from our state standardized test.  I want to know if my instruction was on target or if there is something I need to change for the next year.  For this reason, be sure to run a WHOLE CLASS FOR MULTIPLE CLASS PERIODS report so that you can go back and compare how your students performed.  If you’re feeling really pro-active, send a copy to your assessing administrator with a little “year in review” email summary.  It only takes a minute to look professional and on point when your data is easily available.

With ClassMax, it is easy to take a look at how your year went.  As you wrap up this school year, utilize our whole class reporting for multiple classes to keep records easily.  You worked hard to collect all that data.  Use it!  Flaunt it!  Report it!  No one will impress your administrator for you, so you have to do it for yourself.  Let ClassMax reports help you!