Oregon School District Revamps Math Curriculum and Assessment Results 

Redmond, Oregon

K–8 Enrollment: 5,117

Number of K–8 Schools: 8

Metro Location: Town

Blended Math Curriculum Helps District Thrive

After Oregon implemented new state standards in 2010, Redmond School District elementary schools’ scores on the statewide mathematics assessments fell.

In 2015, Linda Seeberg, Redmond’s Executive Director of Academic Programs, and Dr. Chris Morton, the district’s Director of School Improvement, led an effort to vet and implement a modern core math program that would better prepare students for the rigorous new standards and assessments. 

After a methodical vetting process, Redmond School District announced its decision to adopt a blended mathematics curriculum and that it had chosen two top-rated programs: Ready Mathematics, a research-proven, teacher-led instruction resource, and iReady, an integrated assessment and online instruction program. Once Ready and iReady were implemented in the 2016–2017 school year, it didn’t take long for Redmond’s eight elementary schools to see incredible results.

Fall and Spring Distribution of Tier III Students

Bar graph showing Tier III students in Redmond.

After just one year:

  • The percentage of students in Grades 3–5 who met or exceeded math standards according to Oregon’s state assessment was higher than the state average in all three grades.
  • The median percent of growth from the fall to the spring i-Ready Diagnostic was more than 100 percent for students in Grades K–5. 

After just two years:

  • The percentage of Redmond K–5 students who reached Mid On Grade Level or higher (proficiency) on the 2018 end-of-year i-Ready Diagnostic exceeded 2017 end-of-year results.  
  • The percentage of Tier 3 students (those whom i-Ready had placed more than one grade level behind) decreased significantly over the course of the 2017–2018 school year for Grades 1–5. Grade 2 went from 24 percent of students being below grade level to three percent, and Grade 3 went from 29 to seven percent.

New Math Curriculum, Data Culture, and Results

Determining Criteria

The choice of Ready Mathematics and i-Ready began when Seeberg and Morton invited an elementary instructional coach and 16 teacher volunteers to help them choose a core math program that would meet the following requirements:

  • Reverse the district’s falling performance on state tests
  • Bridge the gap between the old curriculum and the new standards
  • Extend Redmond School District’s existing data culture to mathematics
  • Fulfill the requests that 130 teachers listed in response to a districtwide survey about the curriculum: it should be student-friendly and easy to use, contain engaging content and supports for differentiation, and have a technology component.

Modernizing Instruction Practices

In adopting Ready Mathematics and i-Ready, Redmond administrators were asking their teachers to take on a tremendous project—one that would require significant immediate efforts for long-term gains. “I give my teachers credit for jumping in with both feet right off the bat,” said one Redmond elementary school principal. “[Ready] has really simplified the process of teaching math. I think confidence is up because [teachers] don’t feel like they’re delivering a four- or five-page sermon every day.”

Some educators were initially reticent about Ready Mathematics because it was hugely different from Redmond’s established curriculum. But early wariness gave way to enthusiasm as teachers began seeing their students’ math knowledge improving.

Overcoming Challenges

i-Ready Assessment results show educators what math skills each student needs to work on to reach grade-level proficiency. Individuals’ data is seamlessly connected to i-Ready Personalized Instruction online lessons that help students build these exact skills. Creating time for i-Ready Personalized Instruction required coordination, revision, and a lot of communication. Because Redmond had fewer devices than students, figuring out how to share devices necessitated some juggling. “Scheduling our devices was one of the biggest struggles that we faced at the beginning of the year,” said Jennifer Hesse, a principal at Redmond’s Vern Patrick Elementary.

School leaders created master schedules to make sure classrooms had devices when they needed them. When the district’s instructional model of 60 minutes of Ready followed by 30 minutes of i-Ready wasn’t working, district leaders encouraged teachers to use their math program components flexibly within the 90-minute time frame in a way that met their students’ unique needs.

Looking toward the Future

Redmond School District’s first-year implementation was so successful that in November 2017, Seeberg and Morton were invited to speak at an educators’ summit in Vancouver. During their presentation, High-Leverage Implementation Strategies: Supporting Strong Math Instruction, they shared their district’s results and highlighted elements of their implementation strategy that helped make their first year such a success. 

Redmond’s fantastic improvements have left Seeberg and Morton confident that the combination of Ready Mathematics and i-Ready was exactly what Redmond educators needed to challenge students and prepare them for the new standards. “From an implementation science standpoint, it had everything we were looking for,” said Morton. “We were thrilled when we selected it, and we’re still thrilled.” 

“Mostly, we hope [students] feel excited about exploring things they don’t understand and realize they have the tools to do so. It’s really about the exploration and discovery of numbers and one’s relationships with other learners. That’s the broader context of math in real life.”

—Linda Seeberg, Executive Director of Academic Programs

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