Common Sense Review
Updated December 2013


Solid adaptive instruction in reading and math, with data at the ready
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • A look at a math task
  • Students can track their progress throughout the program.
  • Students get instant feedback, helping them reflect.
  • The student dashboard keeps with the program's inviting interface.
  • Teachers get a robust dashboard with access to detailed student data.
It's a one-stop shop for deep CCSS data collection and differentiated instruction in math and literacy.
The variety of options and plethora of data could be overwhelming for teachers in search of a more streamlined solution.
Bottom Line
Quality, responsive instruction and the deep dive into data make this a strong contender for blended classrooms.
Jason Shiroff
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Younger kids will enjoy the animated instruction and tasks, but the characters, themes, and instructions may skew a bit too young for older students. The student home page is easy to navigate; lessons require frequent interaction.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

The program adapts to student progress and offers a comprehensive way to address Common Core math and literacy skills. Even though they're a bit cartoonish, the animated characters are diverse and lend personality to the experience.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Each learning task is modeled for students, with verbal feedback based on their answers. For both teachers and students, help is available on every screen. In terms of data, students can see an overview, while teachers can dive in deep.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

It's best to use i-Ready as a way to gather data on your students that will be helpful as you differentiate the instruction in your class. The deep dive into data can help savvy teachers target instruction, build intervention groups, and track the effectiveness of their instruction. Consider using i-Ready as a way to fill in gaps in students' learning or even to push some learners to the next level. Depending on your classroom setup, you could set up an i-Ready station, where students rotate through, while others work on activities and/or conference with you. Have your students use the reports to reflect on their learning and set goals. These reports could also be helpful when meeting with parents. Lastly, keep in mind that you could also use individual i-Ready lessons, projected for the whole class, as part of your own instruction around a topic.

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What's It Like?

i-Ready is a set of CCSS-based diagnostic and instructional tools for both math and English. Upon starting the program, students take an adaptive placement test. i-Ready then uses this data to create individualized instructional pathways for each student. Teachers can let i-Ready personalize instruction on its own, or they can customize the experience for individual students, groups of students, or even an entire class. Teachers can expect to have fine-grained control over the lessons taught as well as the overall scope and sequence for their students. Additionally, i-Ready offers teachers an exhaustive range of diagnostic reports. Data is provided on growth, performance, instructional progress, and much more.

Upon finishing the diagnostic test, students' experience is friendly and includes a simplified dashboard, where they can pick a theme and a coach and even have learning material read to them. Each lesson includes a diverse cast of animated characters that walk students through every task. Lessons start with an overview of the learning objectives, followed by a guided learning experience. Kids can review lessons at any point but won't be able to skip ahead. In math, many tasks are aimed at helping kids develop conceptual understanding across a range of topics. In the reading program, students will read with the aid of a notepad, a dictionary, and some annotation tools. Within both subjects, the program relies on graphic organizers that students will complete.

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Is It Good For Learning?

i-Ready is a great bet for an adaptive, supplemental learning tool. Its main strength lies in the way it diagnoses students' needs, then targets personalized practice and instruction for each individual. Teachers' ability to further personalize and customize the experience is key here, whether for individual students, groups, or an entire class. As students work their way through lessons, they'll interact with animations every few minutes. This could help some kids maintain focus, though others could tire and want to just get on with the lesson. Throughout, the instant feedback to students is helpful and includes both audio and visual supports. i-Ready's question types align well with what kids might encounter on Common Core assessments. It's reasonable to see i-Ready as a test-prep solution, though this emphasis could give pause to teachers looking for a more holistic learning experience.

Nevertheless, the program offers teachers a comprehensive look at student data, giving a clear view of students' overall growth and achievement. Ideally, this will help teachers plan in a way that meets real classroom needs. Printable lesson plans are available, should teachers want them. Also, the system's reports offer an exhaustive range of data. Though i-Ready was designed to make student data easily actionable, the sheer amount of data offered could make it less so for some teachers -- it will depend on the amount of time they're able to devote. Overall, i-Ready delivers learning content in an engaging and rigorous way. This combination will likely serve kids well if -- and here's the catch -- teachers use i-Ready with fidelity alongside their own quality classroom instruction.

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See how teachers are using i-Ready