Your student tested two grade levels below their current year. This is when the panic can set in: are they falling behind? The I-Ready diagnostic can seem like the sign of a failure to make progress. When the results look bleak, parents turn to tutors. To many parents, tutors can appear one of two ways: as a savior with a mighty pen, mentoring a student to vanquish those shameful results, or as a big waste of money.

Luckily, neither of these interpretations is wholly valid.

First, the I-Ready is your student’s friend, not their enemy. Second, the right tutor is never a waste of money. A tutor, for example, can identify issues a program cannot. It is possible a student earned low scores because they rushed through the questions. The corresponding tutoring remedy for this is different from struggles with content. At its worst, the I-Ready misses this. At its best, the diagnostic can tell a tutor exactly what content gave your student the hardest time.

Taking these diagnostic measurements is important. It’s also invaluable to know exactly how the test works, and what tutors can do to help.

So, what is I-Ready? Let’s talk about what it measures and how educators use it.

I-Ready is a student’s friend

I-Ready has two elements:

— an online diagnostic test of Math and English that tests down to the sub-skill level (i.e. vocabulary, phonics, etc)

— a personalized instruction and practice platform

The online assessment is adaptive: if a student is breezing along, the questions will get harder. If they are struggling, the questions will get easier. The test adjusts to your student until they are matched. (This is why taking the test seriously is imperative.)

Keep in mind: I-Ready isn’t a grading tool. It doesn’t reflect or guarantee your student’s grades. It helps them to grow and to help develop a plan.

This is why…

I-Ready is an educator’s friend

Beyond the diagnostic, the second element of the platform is personalized instruction. But hey, if my student is already getting personalized instruction, why should I spend money on a tutor? To quote I-Ready’s National Director, “…replace the teacher? Never.” – Mark Bernstein

I-Ready is a tool and a supplement. Not a replacement. It can group students with similar needs for targeted instruction. It can provide practice. Like I-Ready, private tutoring sets up especially personalized pathways for a student’s growth. Unlike I-Ready, educators can encourage students to slow down and critically evaluate. Often, rather than lack intellect, students lack focus and confidence. We identify the source of their testing difficulties, then look at them as focused areas to improve.

How educators use the results

The diagnostic gives a myriad of measurements, but let’s focus on a specific example: Imagine a student scores below grade-level on the “Reading Comprehension: Informational Text” sub-skill. A tutor can provide specific presentations, practices, and guided opportunities for production. Unlike in a typical classroom setting, tutoring works at any individual student’s pace. Growth is as important as proficiency, if not more. Educators and I-Ready agree. They’re both personalized and designed to help your student improve. It may be intimidating to see your student below grade level. But if knowing is half the battle, then strengthening those weak spots takes some grit.

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