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Nancy Bailey’s Education Website: The Murky World of i-Ready, Grading, and Online Data

Many school districts use Curriculum Associates i-Ready in their classrooms for reading and math, but there appears to be program murkiness. There’s concern that teachers might rely on iReady data for grading rather than their professional expertise.

I-Ready provides teachers with data reports of student results, but teachers never see the child’s online responses. They don’t see the correct or incorrect answers.

Grading has always involved teachers examining student work and evaluating their progress, but if teachers don’t have access to actual work, they end up relying on i-Ready’s conclusions. This raises transparency issues.

Placing children online to work and allowing nontransparent computer programs to grade them might seem like a solution for managing large class sizes. However, this is not what i-Ready or any online program should be about.

According to Curriculum Associates, i-Ready is not meant to be used for grading (See What is i-Ready). However, it’s difficult to find this information, it’s unclear, and seems buried in the online description of i-Ready.

I-ready is designed for 45 minutes online per subject, 90 minutes total, of instruction a week for math and reading, but some believe it’s used more. Some schools reward children according to their scores.

I-ready marketers also claim iReady is not about replacing teachers, but if teachers only rely on i-Ready, it removes a teacher’s judgment. Teachers might use the nontransparent program’s results, use the data for grading, instead of their own knowledge about the student, especially when they face overcrowded classrooms, a reality during the pandemic.

Also, if teachers advertise a data-rich classroom, parents might focus more on the data from i-Ready, not the teacher’s personal observations and feedback. Teachers wind up taking a backseat to iReady.

I-Ready has been around since 2013. Many bloggers have written about the concerns surrounding i-Ready throughout the years. Some of those blog posts are found below including a report by the Herald-Tribune.

So much anxiety and confusion surrounds i-Ready; the company has created its online page Is i-Ready Dangerous?

Florida is one state heavily relying on i-Ready, although many parents express concerns about the program and the data collected on children. The governor often claims they are getting rid of Common Core, but he is either misinformed or ignores that i-Ready aligns with Common Core.

With fewer teachers, online instruction is fast becoming the new normal, and this has been a corporate privatization goal for years.

It’s easy to see that, with so many teachers leaving the classroom, online programs like i-Ready could eventually be all that parents have left to teach their children.

This includes other related concerns about i-Ready.

Data

Confusion still surrounds how i-Ready collects and handles data. Not all parents trust i-Ready’s Full Privacy Report and might reject a login address and avoid the program altogether. Here’s what i-Ready states: i-Ready® Platform, in their Data Handling, and Privacy Statement Last Updated: October 21, 2021.

Florida officials have said they will end state testing. Will i-Ready diagnostics, which collect large amounts of student data and use personalized, nontransparent algorithms to measure students, replace those tests? This raises more privacy concerns.

Learning Loss

Reports and blogs describe i-Ready’s assessment results to support pandemic learning loss claims, heightening fears in parents, educators, and students that students have fallen behind.

Concurrently, many parents wonder about the accuracy of i-Ready assessment results.

Special Education

In Florida, i-Ready is used as an alternative assessment to keep children from being retained in third grade.

Retention is a humiliating requirement placed on children not based on research. So a lot is riding on this online program.

Some worry, however, could students could be misclassified as having learning problems with iReady and placed on an inappropriate academic pathway?

Many parents would prefer funding reading remediation specialists instead of i-Ready.

Online Program

Exercises might seem confusing, and some parents and educators find them developmentally inappropriate.

Concerns are raised about placing kindergartners online.

Math

Parents have questioned the accuracy of the algorithms, the calculations, and problem-solving operations.

Reading

I-Ready focuses on Phonics for Reading: It’s Never too Late to Crack the Code, third grade plus.

The Florida Reading Research Center found no weaknesses, but it’s hard to find more independent information showing that i-Ready improves reading scores.

Research

Here’s what Curriculum Associates says about research, but a 2016 study from Johns Hopkins School of Education indicates that i-Ready research is often by parties associated with the publishers of the assessments.

Most i-Ready testimonials seem like opinions, not research. 

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It’s important to emphasize that i-Ready should be used as a supplemental program to support teachers, and it should not be used to grade students.

Add to this the most significant problem: no child, especially young children, should sit in front of a screen for the bulk of their education while outsiders collect their personal information.

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I thank Cheri Kiesecker, a long-time student privacy advocate, for her help in preparing this blog post.

I also thank Cindy Hamilton, co-founder of  The Opt Out Florida Network, and other parents and groups who helped me with this post.

Blog Posts About i-Ready

Deb Herbage

i-Ready?…………More Like i-SCAM and Other Deceptions.

Thomas Tultican 

i-Ready Sells 50-Years-Old Education Failure

i-Ready, Johns Hopkins and Oakland Public Schools

i-Ready Magnificent Marketing Terrible Teaching

Kassia Omohundro Wedekind

Math Exchanges: Why i-Ready is Dangerous

Leonie Haimson

NYC Public School Parents: The Uselessness of the interim assessments that the DOE purchased for $36 million

Christina Veiga

Chalkbeat: NYC officials keep a lid on data from tests to address ‘learning gaps’

Herald-Tribune by Ryan McKinnon

Wary of i-Ready

Nancy Bailey

Amplify and i-Ready Claim Kindergarten and First Grade Reading Loss to Profit From the Pandemic

Common Core, Camouflaged in Testing and Technology

Resources About Online Data and Privacy That Might Be Helpful to Parents and Teachers

Please share any others you might know. 

Technology (nancyebailey.com)

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Nancy Bailey

Nancy Bailey was a teacher in the area of special education for many years, and has a PhD in educational leadership from Florida State University. She has a...