Monday, March 17, 2014

ESGI

I am so excited to have the chance to share my love for ESGI with you.  ESGI is a an online assessment tool that has brought me into this century with assessments. While doing that, ESGI has brought with it so much organization and efficiency, and has taken away so much paperwork, extra work, and mess!


I had seen ESGI advertised before, but I thought I was NOT a "techy" person.  I thought it would take too long to figure out. Even though I always knew assessing the students took FOREVER,  I THOUGHT I liked rifling through papers and feeling like I had control of my organization that way, and that I liked using paper/pencil assessments because I had something to show for it (like stacks of papers).



I thought SO wrong. 

I signed up for ESGI's 60 day free trial and entered my class list in about five minutes. Step one! So far so good.  I needed absolutely zero help. It was so easy. (That's saying a LOT coming from me! My own grown children could tell you that I am not the fastest learner with technology... to put it kindly.)

Next, I previewed some of the tests that ESGI has available for teachers to use to assess students.  The very first one I previewed and used to assess my students was Number Recognition.

What I loved right away, was the simplicity of the test.  I could give it right on my iPad (or your computer if you would rather).  The  screen is clear and easy for the student to see.  And- all I had to do was click "y" (for yes) or "n" (for no)  underneath the number if the child knew it or not.  The student can't even tell which letter you click, so they aren't worrying if they are "right or wrong."  If  I a mistake, there is a "back" button to the left, that let me go back.


There is not a packet of papers for each child that I have to  flip through.  I don't spend  ten minutes trying  to find my Number Sheet to use for the checklist.  I never spend time looking for a  pencil or pen. There are no misplaced papers, ever.  If I want to show someone data, I know exactly where it is- online. Safe and sound.

The data is there. Done.  Saved.  Never to be lost.  Easily accessed from anywhere you have internet access.  Here are some samples of data from a class shown on the ESGI site- just to give you an idea of the different data you can access.  This was after John Smith was tested for sight words.


After the test, you can click the "details" button to see exactly which words were missed.
  



This shows a whole class with a lot of data.

  
But that is only the first FABULOUS part. The buttons on the side literally made me gasp when I saw what they could do. 


The Class Totals Report tab on the right gives so much information. It shows progress for the semesters, lets you rank students, and allows you to sort the data anyway you want! The program helps to group students, makes it easy to see which  students to pull to work on specific skills, and what areas need extra focus during instruction time.
 

The Bar Graph Analysis shows what areas are most efficient for you to focus on with your students. This is a bar graph for the assessment of Upper Case Letter ID.


Clicking on the gray area shows the students who do not know the letter.


The next two tabs may be my favorites.  Let me go back a bit and tell you that this  idea was created by a Kindergarten teacher, Greg Gorman.  I truly felt like giving him a HUGE HUG because it was as if I had written a list of what I would want in a program like this, and he did it for me.  When I saw there was a tab called Print Flash Cards, I thought NO WAY! 

I don't know about you, but I go though so many 3x5 cards, making flash cards to send home for the children with sight words, letters, or numbers to work on at home.  I also like to keep a set at school for RTI for each child, in case I have a few minutes to work with a child.  I can just grab his/her packet and work on them at bus time or before school.  Well, making these flash cards for each child is really time consuming, but I know it is beneficial, so I always make these after each time I screen the students.   If someone is thoughtful and insightful enough to include this feature on a program, I know this is the perfect thing for me.  Everything else about ESGI is such wonderful quality and so helpful, but that one detail summed up the fact that the creator of ESGI "gets it."

Here is an example of some sight word flashcards.  The student's name is even on top so they don't get mixed up!

Oh, and then, if that weren't enough, how about a ready made parent letter with the child's name and the area showing parents where the student needs extra help?!   See that button that says, Test Results Letters?  Oh my, oh my.  That tab inserts that student's  name and  your name as a signature on a letter detailing what the student got right and what the student missed.  You can decide how much or how little information is on the letter (so it isn't too overwhelming for the parent.)  This is also a great way to for the teacher to keep a record that parents have been notified about student progress and areas of concern.



This program is so user friendly and makes assessing students so quick and easy, that I know I will be able to check on the students' progress more frequently, and keep my data and data that parents receive so much more up to date.  I can assess students in those free moments throughout the day, waiting in lines, while some children are packed up before others, at bus time, if students finish snack early- because all I need is my iPad.  I will not be taking away the instructional time to assess like I had to  before.

I have already sent the link for the free trial and this fabulous explanatory video to all of my other Kindergarten team, Pre-K teams, and 1st grade teams from both of our elementary buildings, as well as the Principals and Assistant Superintendent.  This Intro Webinar (17 minutes) is a very thorough explanation of the program. Once I watched these videos, I was all set to go.

The possibilities for changing our data collection and making it so much more user friendly and beneficial for both teachers and students with this program are so exciting. 

Our RTI Team was just discussing how we needed better data collection and a more clear picture about the students coming to our RTI team.  It doesn't get more clear than this. 

If a district uses this program, every student can be entered.  The data and progress can be saved from year to year.  Groups can be created, so that only those in that group can be compared.

Now- here is the next part.  I was thrilled with the available tests that I saw when I first started previewing  what ESGI had available.  Then... came this announcement!


ESGI is proud to announce NEW custom tests (HeidiSongs skills, CCSS, and GKIDS) from the authors of HeidiSongs, Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten  and Smart Kids.  
 
All of the custom Kindergarten Assessments that you've been asking for are now available in digital format at no extra cost with your ESGI subscription!


OH. MY. GOODNESS.  So now this weekend, I previewed these new tests.  It is very easy to drag the tests that you want into the section labeled "Your Tests."   I found more and more tests that screen exactly what we assess for our report cards. AHHHH!!!! (That was supposed to be an angelic "AHHHH!) Heavenly.

Here is an example of Deedee's Counting Forward Assessment:
 and her Counting Objects Assessment:

You can also input your OWN tests.  Our sight word list may be a little different than ones shown, so I could just create a test with our sight words on it.  Even THAT is easy to do- and this is coming from someone who was nervous about going back to teaching because I was afraid that I would not be able to figure out how to do our attendance online instead of on a piece of paper.  I am NOT one to say something technical is easy if it is not easy.

ESGI has really changed my life in the classroom.  I can't wait to use this for our report card assessments.  I am going to suggest using ESGI with our incoming Kindergarten students, to make that assessment process and data collection go so much more smoothly- and I can't wait to start my year off next year using this program.

If you want to learn more about ESGI and to get a  free 60 day trial of the software, click here. If you like using it and want to purchase the program, you can use my special PROMO CODE  B1119  and receive $40 off your purchase for the first year. The price is usually $199 a year, but with the promo code, it will be  $159.
I am happy to have the rest of this year to try it out, and be all set to really implement it in full force next year.

I am so excited for my other primary teacher friends at school to try this, and hopefully for our district to purchase it to use. 

Have fun assessing! (Did you ever think those three words would be together in a sentence?!)

























3 comments:

  1. Carolyn! That seems so great! Assessments will be the end of me, but now I see light! Can't wait to try this! xoxo

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  2. Wow this is great!! I love that there is a class total report and the bar graph analysis. This seems like a great way to keep track of assessments rather than having stacks of papers. Thanks for sharing!
    If you're interested I'm running my first giveaway!
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  3. When you test your students do you give them credit or move the letter the correct column if they hesitate for a second and then give the correct answer? thanks

    ReplyDelete

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