Students with Dyslexia Achieve Reading Gains on the NWEA MAP and STAAR from 2021 to 2022

11/14/2022

Whitehouse Independent School District (ISD) in Texas enrolls nearly 5,000 students across four elementary schools, a sixth-grade campus, a junior high, and a high school. As the district’s special education team began serving a growing number of students with dyslexia, it needed to find new ways to work smarter, not harder.

 

“We’ve been identifying more students with dyslexia because we know the signs and are better able to recognize them,” said Samantha Crow, who served as a campus dyslexia interventionist and then became the district dyslexia coordinator in 2022. “Texas also went through a shift in 2018, and we started evaluating students for dyslexia under special education. Before, we would do a dyslexia evaluation and provide services under a 504 plan.”
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic created a need for tools that could be used for remote instruction. “During the COVID shutdown, our speech-language pathologists (SLPs) used Amplio to service their students,” said Crow. “The district dyslexia coordinator at the time was working closely with the SLPs, so she started looking into Amplio.”
Designed exclusively for special education, Amplio combines a learning platform with curricula and programs designed to accelerate student progress and empower educators. It supports both in-person and remote instruction to ensure continuity of services for vulnerable students.
In early 2021, Crow and eight other dyslexia interventionists participated in training on the Amplio Special Education Learning Platform and the Multisensory Teaching Approach (MTA) digital curriculum. The following year, the district conducted another round of training with Amplio and invited additional dyslexia and special education interventionists to participate.
“It was great to see what was available on the platform and what we could do with it. I came back from the training and hit the ground running,” said Crow.

Delivering a comprehensive dyslexia curriculum

that motivates students The MTA digital curriculum, which is delivered through the Amplio platform, equips English-language dyslexia specialists with an evidence-based curriculum based on the Orton Gillingham method. It utilizes guided discovery and multisensory techniques to introduce, review, and practice skills.
“Amplio provides the curriculum in a way that is engaging and motivating to our students,” said Crow. “When you only have a little flashcard deck, it can get monotonous. But if students have the opportunity to work on a Chromebook or iPad, it’s colorful and engaging, and they can interact with it. With a touchscreen, they can do handwriting, too. Students also love the immediate corrective feedback in Amplio, and they like that they can see their percentages of correct words read and correct words spelled.”
Approximately 150 elementary students and 30 junior high and middle school students in Whitehouse ISD are using the MTA curriculum. It is structured in seven kits, with mastery checks required to progress between kits.
“I love the way the MTA curriculum is presented,” said Crow. “It’s comprehensive and systematic. It’s similar to what I would have used in the past, but it’s automated and ready to go. There are so many positive things about it. The concept cards, the keyword and sound cards, the modeling of the formation of the mouth for certain sounds — everything that goes into dyslexia instruction is at your fingertips.”

Saving time so more content can be covered

Amplio is also reducing the workload for educators, according to Crow. “Amplio is such a time saver,” she said. “I’ve found that I can cover more with my students using Amplio. When you’re doing things the traditional way, you have teacher instruction booklets, blackline master booklets, flashcards… it’s a lot of paper and physical materials to get together. With Amplio, everything is online. You just scroll through and insert what you need for your lesson. It’s much faster.”

Making lesson planning more efficient

Amplio also helps Crow and her colleagues with tools such as scripted teaching instructions built into the platform.
“It’s much more efficient being on Amplio with the MTA curriculum, and the teacher guide and instructions are easy to follow,” said Crow.
Amplio helps with lesson planning as well. “Lesson planning can be a daunting task when you have books, books, and more books, and you’re trying to piece everything together,” she said. “When you can put Amplio in a teacher’s hands, with all the resources in one central location, it takes the pressure off. It’s all right there, which makes it not seem so overwhelming. If I have to go to an appointment, as long as I have access to wi-fi, I can work on my lesson plans on my Chromebook. I no longer have to lug all my materials around.”

Making it easier to track and report on student progress

Automated documentation and reporting in Amplio are helping Whitehouse ISD educators improve data-driven decision making while reducing paperwork.
“Let’s say you’re working on fluency with a student and looking for 90% accuracy with 65 words per minute. You can access fluency reports on Amplio to see what you assigned, what the student worked on and when, what their percentage was, how many words they read, and so on. It helps with documentation because the information is right there,” said Crow.
That documentation also helps with state-level reporting. “I used Amplio reports as part of my T-TESS (Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System) and in the PLAAFPs (Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance) for some of our students this year. It was so valuable having the data there ready for me,” she said.

Achieving exponential growth on the NWEA MAP and STAAR

“Students are doing really well. You can see it in the classroom, and you can see it in their NWEA MAP scores and STAAR scores. Students who did not pass Reading in 2021, passed in 2022. The majority of students grew exponentially, so it was a really positive experience,” said Crow. “My students are excited to see how much they’re progressing. They know they’re growing and that feels good.”

Eran Minhar

Eran Minhar

An Israeli journalist, writer, and publicist. Editor and host of the podcast and radio show "History with Eran Minhar" at the Israeli broadcasting corporation. Former editor in chief of local newspapers, former senior strategist and copywriter in an advertising agency, director of interactive activities. Published author and poet.

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