How to track student growth with the Real-Time Diagnostic

Meghan Manley is an IXL Professional Learning Specialist with experience as a teacher and instructional coach.

The IXL Real-Time Diagnostic is an essential tool for monitoring student growth throughout the year. No matter how you teach, the Real-Time Diagnostic allows teachers and administrators to keep track of student progress without having to wait for traditional benchmark assessment results. And after a year of distance learning driven by COVID-19, it will be especially important to see where students stand.

So, how can you use the Real-Time Diagnostic to make sure your future students are on track for growth? Follow these steps!

Determine student levels

To see how far students have come, you first need to know where they’re starting from. On IXL, that means getting their starting diagnostic levels. Direct your students to the Diagnostic tab and have them step into the Diagnostic arena! Once in the arena, students will answer adaptive questions until they receive a pop-up message saying their diagnostic is currently complete.

Image of message that displays when Real-Time Diagnostic levels are up-to-date

This generally takes around 45 minutes per subject, but can be broken up into as many sessions as needed to fit existing schedules and student needs. You can view the Progress and Growth report in your Analytics tab to monitor which students have complete diagnostic data and which need to continue diagnosing.

Analyze data

To interpret your students’ results, it’s important to understand what diagnostic levels mean. Diagnostic levels correspond to a student’s overall working grade level. For example, a 300 shows that a student is beginning to work on 3rd grade material, whereas a 370 shows they are about 70% through the 3rd grade curriculum, and so on. These levels range from 0-1300, with 0-50 representing pre-K, 50-100 kindergarten, and 1300 representing the end of 12th grade/ready for college.

You can use these diagnostic stats to determine if a student is around the level you would expect based on the point of the year they are in. The Progress and Growth report makes it easy to view all of your students’ initial and current diagnostic levels, as well as their current growth by subject!

Additionally, students can check their own levels at any time by going into the Diagnostic tab while signed in to their student accounts.

Set growth goals

Once students have completed their initial diagnostic, have them write their levels down on IXL’s Diagnostic Tracker sheet so they can follow their growth over time. They can also set a goal for how much growth they would like to achieve by the end of the year. (Keep in mind that 10 points of growth is equivalent to one month of progress and 100 points is equivalent to one year.)

Image of IXL Diagnostic Tracker

Discuss next steps

After analyzing student data, you can determine next steps for individual students by going to their Student Action Plan in IXL Analytics. This report provides a breakdown of each student’s levels in math and language arts, both overall and by curriculum strand. It’s a great resource to go over with students during virtual or in-person check-ins and conferences with stakeholders. From here, you and your students can easily determine areas of strength and opportunities for growth!

At the bottom of the Student Action Plan report, you can also hit the button to generate a PDF called the Diagnostic Action Plan. Each of these plans is personalized to the student and includes recommended skills to practice to maximize growth. This report can be shared digitally or printed out and used as a checklist, making this a perfect resource for at-home days, intervention or enrichment blocks, or even station rotations. Encourage students to focus on their lowest overall strand first and work towards a SmartScore of 90+ on these skills!

Image of Diagnostic Action Plan

Monitor progress

As students practice on IXL, you can use the Progress and Growth report to monitor their advancement. It will show you every student’s starting level, current level, and total growth. To ensure these insights are as accurate as possible, have students answer questions in the Diagnostic arena weekly so IXL can keep their diagnostic levels up to date.

Once a month, have students view their progress within their own Diagnostic tab and update their Diagnostic Tracker sheets. Students can then reflect on their growth, the actions that they have taken that have helped them, and where they can improve.

By spending a little time diagnosing and looking at the right reports, it’s simple to have an accurate and actionable assessment of your students’ knowledge. Have additional questions about the Real-Time Diagnostic? Be sure to check out the Diagnostic Hub!

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