Subject: ARIS vs. Acuity
Acuity includes Predictive, Instructionally Targeted, and Item Bank Assessments. Predictive Assessments simulate New York State Tests and measure student growth. Instructionally Targeted Assessments (ITAs) were designed with New York City educators to measure skills commonly taught within a specific instructional period, and may be further customized by individual schools. The Item Bank may be used by educators at any time to build assessments or create classroom assignments.
Once students' have taken these city-wide scheduled ELA and Math assessments, the results are posted on the Acuity web-pages. Teachers access their class results and assign students instruction on those skills they have failed. Utilizing their User IDs and Passwords, students take online tutorials, reviews and tests. (With headphones, these can be read to them.) Teachers monitor their progress mastering these skills. Teachers can assign skills tutorials at grade levels, and lower or higher grade levels. Students with home Internet access can do this work there.
Teachers report that this is a very useful application, but requires their and time to assign and monitor student progress. School-based Testing Coordinators can access all student/class data, assign instruction, generate Excel reports, and fix errors. Acuity offers free professional development opportunities to schools.
ARIS, on the other hand, is a DOE ATS-based reporting application. Here is its online front page description:
- Exploring data they can use to improve student outcomes
- Sharing what they have learned by publishing documents and taking part in discussions and blogs
- Finding other educators facing similar challenges
- Creating collaborative communities to solve problems together
- Parents log in to ARIS via the Parent Link
Additionally, teachers and administrators within a school must now create Inquiry Teams through ARIS to look at student data and share strategies to address particular teaching and learning praxis. This sharing is now also taking place among teachers, administrators, and DOE bureaucrats citywide through the Connect application in ARIS. One may belong to several different communities besides school-based ones depending on one's responsibilities and is used as a communication tool within that group.
For instance, I belong to the Data Specialists and North Brooklyn Tech Liaison communities and receive notices and shared information from many contributors citywide; anybody within the community can post resources through the Connect application, which also includes Discussions, Blogs, Wikis, and Resource tabs. I found the Resource page very useful when the DOE posted item analysis for NYS's ELA and Math tests for our 4th and 5th grade students. With this I was able to use to create Excel spreadsheets for each current class detailing exact standards that students got wrong on those tests. This gave teachers a sense of what common weaknesses existed in their students' understanding of key concepts or skills and could, then, inform their differentiated groupings and instruction.
There are levels of access to ARIS data: Teacher, Testing Coordinator, and Administrator. I have the status of Testing Coordinator, which allows me access to the data of all students in all classes. With this access I can generate cross-class and cross-grade graphic reports, in the Reports interface, useful to compare student achievement by class or grade.
Deb Meier commented: