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INSTRUCTIONAL IMPROVEMENT SYSTEM (IIS) COMPONENTS OF HOME BASE


GENERAL


What is the IIS?
The Instructional Improvement System (IIS) is a project being developed through North Carolina's Race to the Top grant award. The IIS will provide portals for students, teachers, parents, and school and district administrators to access data and resources to inform decision-making related to instruction, assessment, and career and college goals.


What is the vision for the NC Instructional Improvement System?
All North Carolina students, parents, and educators will have equitable access to information and resources they need to make ongoing decisions about individualized teaching and/or learning.


For whom is the IIS designed?

  • Students:
    • Engage in interactive, rich educational resources that are tightly aligned to the Common Core State Standards and NC Essential Standards
    • Take local and statewide assessments with near-instant performance feedback
    • Store exemplars of personal academic and/or artistic work
    • Collaborate with other students on various projects
  • Teachers:
    • Supplement teaching with individualized educational materials
    • See a detailed diagnostic breakdown of each child's performance including knowledge and skill areas that require extra attention
    • Engage in professional development modules according to personal interests, district goals, state standards, and the instructional needs of students
  • Parents:
    • Track their child's performance according to instructional goals set by the teacher, district, and state
    • Utilize at-home enrichment activities recommended by the teacher and/or system according to the student's performance and aptitude
    • Communicate questions and feedback to teachers and/or administrators
    • Monitor assignments, marks, and grades
  • Administrators:
    • View aggregate and individual student performance reports
    • View aggregate and individual teacher effectiveness reports
    • Make placement decisions based upon the historical interaction of student performance and teacher effectiveness

What are the different IIS modules? What exactly does the IIS offer?

  • Standards, Curriculum, and Instruction - This module will support educators by providing standards-aligned instructional resources and tools to build them into lesson plans.
  • Assessment - This module will allow users to design, administer, score, and record performance on formative, benchmark, and summative assessments at the classroom, school, district, and state levels.
  • Professional Development and Educator Evaluation - This module will streamline the registration and tracking of teachers' professional development and will provide an embedded tool for evaluating educators according to state standards.
  • Learner Profile and Work Samples - This module will provide students and educators with a central landing page and virtual space to store exemplars of student work.


ASSESSMENTS


How is formative assessment defined?
Assessment questions, tools, and processes that are embedded in instruction and are used by teachers and students to provide timely feedback for purposes of adjusting instruction to improve learning.


How is benchmark or interim assessments defined?
Assessments that are given at regular and specified intervals throughout the school year, are designed to evaluate students' knowledge and skills relative to a specific set of academic standards, and produce results that can be aggregated (e.g., by course, grade level, school, or LEA) in order to inform teachers and administrators at the student, classroom, school, and LEA levels.


What formative and benchmark tools will the State provide for LEAs/Charters?
The State will provide to LEAs/Charters an online, web-based Instructional Improvement System, which will include tools to create formative and interim assessments. There will be online assessment tools in which teachers and administrators can create and administer assessments to students.


FUNDING


How are LEAs expected to continue using the IIS when the Race to the Top funding ends?
The State will partner with LEAs to create a cost-sharing model to support the system in future years.


TECHNOLOGY AND ACCESS


What do districts without a large technology capability do?
As part of a broader initiative within NCDPI, we are reworking our system of support with regards to technology in schools and districts. Look to NCDPI's Instructional Technology Division in partnership with NCSU's Friday Institute and their Cloud Team for more information on maximizing the use of available technology in the classroom.


What about access to the instructional improvement system for students without internet?
While the IIS is designed to encourage students to access their portal and content outside the classroom, it will be up to the teacher, school, and district to establish guidelines for maximizing use of the system given the level of access to technology present in the community.


Is there a Home Base app for Androids?
No, not at this time. Pearson is in the process of getting an application for Android, and keep in mind there is no "Home Base" app per se, but there is a PowerSchool app. At present, you can download the free PowerSchool app for Apple products such as iPhones and iPads from the Apple online store.


What role, as in role-specific access, do school counselors have in Home Base? Can they see student information for all students assigned to them? Can they create four-year plans, and will students be able to access their plans through Home Base?
Yes. School counselors do have a role in Home Base similar to the role they currently have in NC WISE. They will be provisioned as a user in that role so that when they log in to Home Base, they will have the same access to student information that they had previously in NC WISE.  School counselors will primarily use the student information system (SIS) component within Home Base (PowerSchool), but there are also many functionalities in the instructional improvement system (IIS) that would benefit them as well. For example, a counselor could use any number of pre-formatted reports or create their own, create student groups, and review and use resources related to the Guidance Essential Standards, to name a few. School Counselors will be able to work with students to create four-year plans for students.


TIMELINE AND TRAINING


When will instructional improvement system be ready for teacher/student/parent use?
The initial pilots for the IIS are planned for mid 2013 with final deployment of all modules completed by the fall of 2014.


Will there be training before and during release of the IIS?
Yes, NCDPI has initiated an "IIS Ready" project to begin communication efforts now and training within the next year.


All of the plans "down the road" sound good; but what are schools expected to do in the meantime and how do we mitigate teachers' angst in the interim?
The IIS is designed to be a system to meet the needs of the local districts and schools by giving them tools to facilitate the work that they are already doing. We will be working with our stakeholder groups, both of which comprise classroom teachers and other educators, to help address concerns as we get closer to rollout. In the meantime, schools should operate as usual. Staff at NCDPI will be reaching out to schools across the state providing information as it becomes available. Up to date information about the IIS, what it will provide and how it will benefit the day-to-day practice of teachers will help to mitigate teachers' concerns.


What efforts are being taken to communicate these broad IIS plans to parents?
As part of the "IIS Ready" project, NCDPI will be reaching out to parents through a variety of means. Representatives from the North Carolina Parent Teacher Association have been actively guiding the work. We are still in the planning stages, so stay tuned!