Platform Updates

August 2019

  • Data Download Pages: School leaders can now easily export records of students' past grades (including grades from previous school years)
  • Improved project feedback and math unit facilitation: We'll have new tools to improve the facilitation of projects and math units! This includes feedback features (using the new docs described above), integrated Learnosity end-of-unit-assessments, and better tracking of math activities.

July 2019

  • Mentor Check-In Scheduler: While the current mentoring tool provides support in scheduling and sending pre-work to students, we learned that teachers need additional tools to mentor effectively and consistently. We will be revamping the current mentoring tool to offer greater flexibility and tools for teachers. The updated mentoring tool includes drag-and-drop rescheduling, detailed views to see your mentees' academic progress, list and weeks toggle views, tools to record past check-ins.
  • Increased flexibility with grading: We’re giving you the opportunity to customize and own your grading policy, with more control over how much of a student’s grade is based on different inputs such as Cognitive Skills or content knowledge. Summit Learning’s grading policy is based on research that stresses the importance of building Cognitive Skills for student success in school and beyond. In the 2019-2020 school year, schools will be able to decrease how much of a grade is based on a student’s progress in Focus Areas. This way, grades will more accurately reflect the priorities of each school. This will also make it easier for you to communicate grades and student progress with your parents and community. Your mentor can provide guidance and recommendations to help you better understand your options and how you can customize grading in the next school year. For more information, check out this article in the Help Center.
  • Notebook document system within the Platform: As we prepare for the new academic year, we are excited to share more details with you about the work we have done to move student work into the Platform, a set of features we’re currently calling Notebooks. We're committed to achieving strong outcomes for all students, and Notebook is the next step in that direction. Unlike standard document systems, Notebook is built for the sole purpose of supporting teacher, student, and family needs with evidence-based instructional practices. The new system improves teacher ability to provide targeted feedback, increases transparency for parents, leaders, and teachers, and decreases distractions for students. Just like the Platform, Notebooks will be continuously improving based on your feedback. You can preview the new Docs experience here to see a sneak peek of some of the new capabilities and learn more about what to expect. Note: only teachers will have access to this preview, so please make sure you’re not viewing as another user when you access this doc.
  • More content and choice: The 19-20 Base Curriculum introduces new projects and new courses. For example, in addition to the existing high school courses, we’re offering a new math curriculum for all of high school, as well as new high school Science courses aligned to Next Generation Science Standards. The 19-20 curriculum also provides more choices for teachers to customize their curricula and select which projects best fit the needs of their students. For example, we’re adding projects to many English and Language Arts courses, both brand new and ones that offer alternative texts to existing projects. Over the next month, we’ll be sharing more details about the new courses and projects so you can start preparing for next year. As with any changes to the Base Curriculum, you will be able to choose and accept those you want to make for your curriculum.

March 2019

  • SBAC Dashboard: The SBAC dashboard is a new feature on the School Data dashboard that gives school leaders insight into how students at their school are performing on state accountability standards. We know that testing information is most valuable when it is presented in the context of other signals on student progress. That is why we are adding SBAC data to the School Data page, where you will be able to analyze it alongside Summit Learning implementation data and MAP data. We hope that bringing these data signals together in one place will give you a broader picture of how your students are doing, help you prioritize how you support students and teachers at your school, and make it easier for you to share student progress with your parents and community. See this article for more information about the SBAC Dashboard.

February 2019

  • Updated Grading Modal: We updated the Progress page Grading modal to make grading easier to understand for students and parents. Most notably, the new modal will display a donut-shape graphic detailing how project and focus area grades contribute to the final course grade. Additionally, we’re including separate tabs for students to see a breakdown of their project and focus area scores. You can see more screenshots around current design ideas here.
  • Accessibility Resource Bank: The new and improved Accessibility Resource Bank  is a curated collection of research-based resources that teachers, mentors, grade-level teams, coaches, specialists, and curriculum designers can use and adapt in order to increase curriculum access for students with Foundations needs.  The bank includes resources for reading, writing, language, mathematics, and self-direction. The new bank has moved out of Google Docs in the Help Center and into Educator Tools on the Platform.  See this article for more information on how to locate and navigate the Accessibility Resource Bank.

January 2019

  • Submitting and Scoring Multiple Final Products: This was one of the top requested feature last year, and we’re very excited to announce that it’s coming soon! Student will be able to submit one final product at a time for projects with more than one final product. Teachers will also be able to score one final product at a time and send those scores back to students.
  • Learning Space ImprovementsWe made improvements to Learning Space to make it easier to find information that you need. Now you’ll see a image preview of learning space resources on your search results page. 
  • Unlimited time window for printed assessments: We removed the 24-hour time limit for printed assessments. We hope this will make printing assessments and inputting answers a smoother process!
  • Regrading Explicit Response questions: We’ve received feedback from teachers that some student-submitted answers deserve credit as being “correct” even if the Platform has not recognized those answers as correct. To address this issue, we have introduced the ability for teachers to mark an answer to an explicit response question as “correct” and then regrade the assessment to generate a new student score. Please note that only explicit response questions can be marked as correct. Find more information here!

December 2018

  • Left menu, contrast, and font updates:  We made design updates to improve information hierarchy and color contrast, especially for complex pages on low quality screens or projectors. Specifically, (1) a condensed left menu gives more screen real estate to the content on the screen, (2) a color background provides more focus on tasks at hand, (3) bolder type styles fit accessibility standards. You can get early access by following the these steps.
  • Improvements to the Mentoring Tool: We made improvements to how the Platform supports mentor check-ins.
    • More information about past check-ins:
      • We added the mentor’s full name, the check-in length, and the time the check-in was completed
      • Notes from your previous check-ins now appear on your mentoring page
      • Scheduled check-ins that did not take place will now look different than completed check-ins to help you see the history of check-ins with each student
    • We simplified the check-in slide out drawer
      • When you begin a mentor check-in, a box appears from the right side of the screen that shows the check-in agenda. If you choose to hide the box, you will still continue to see the timer to help you better manage time and it will turn yellow if your conversation is longer than 15 minutes
  • Improvements to the Student Progress Page: We made small visual changes to the Student Progress Page to make it easier to understand. We also added the ability to filter by “Mentoring” to see a record of all mentor check-ins.

November 2018

  • Captioned Videos in the Platform: Students can now play captioned videos without clicking out of the platform to YouTube. Inlining content has has been shown to increase focus in students and limit distractions.  Students who depend on features like following along with complete captions on the side of the video can still click "Show full version" to get the full experience.
  • Course Badging: You can now see updates that Summit’s curriculum team makes to the Base Curriculum. On the curriculum grid page, you will see orange outlines around the courses that have base updates. If your course has an update, you will see an orange ‘Base Update’ notification next to the updated project or focus area on your course page.
  • Force Clever Sync: We heard your feedback that you need to force syncs with Clever. Now, admins can force a sync without writing into the Help Desk. Here's how.

October 2018

  • Improvements to copying Plans: We heard a lot of excellent feedback about how we can enhance the Project and Math Unit plan experience. We added an easier way to recopy plans and switch between your personal plans and shared templates.
  • Diagnostic Scores on Assessments tab: We added diagnostic assessment data to the assessments tab! This displays the student’s highest diagnostic score to help inform assessment approval decisions.
  • Learners MAP data groups: We added NWEA MAP data to the Learners tab of Projects and Math Units. You can use this data to create groups for students who are developing similar foundational skills so that you can assign additional scaffolds and supports. Find out more about viewing MAP data in the Platform and using the Learner’s tab! If you are not seeing MAP data in the Platform yet, please talk to your school leader.

September 2018

  • Your Student Snapshot Message Log: We created a log of the Your Student Snapshot messages that parents have received. Learn how to access them here.
  • MAP Data Dashboard: We have made MAP data more easily available to teachers so that you can use it to inform your instructional decisions. You will be now be able to see MAP data for your students in the Platform. Learn how to access this data here.
  • Updates to the Assigning Projects and Math Units: We made improvements to the assignment process to make assigning work even more effective and efficient! You are now able to more quickly assign sets of activities and resources to students and see assets designated for differentiation.
  • Receiving Base Curriculum Updates for Projects and Math Units: Now you can see notes from our curriculum team on what’s changing and swap out your Project or Math Unit with the newest version. 
  • Parent SMS Alerts: If you choose to turn on this feature, the Platform will send automated text messages from your school to all of your parents in the Summit Learning Program about their child’s academic coursework and progress, as well as tips to support their child academically. Parents will receive approximately 2 messages per week per child, and can opt of these messages. To turn on these alerts, talk to your mentor. Learn more here.
  • Printing Project Plans: We heard feedback that teachers needed a way to review the overall scope of their projects. You can now print all days in your Project Plans at once! Click File –> Print on the Plans page to bring up your complete print dialog. Please write in more feedback if you have any other suggestions for this process!
  • Parent Help Center Articles in Spanish: We translated Parent-facing Help Center articles into Spanish.

August 2018

  • Improvements to mentoring and projects based on teacher feedback: We've made improvements to the mentoring tool and to projects based on feedback that teachers have sent in through the help desk.
  • Britannica School: You'll now see Britannica School integrated throughout the Base Curriculum. Britannica School contains thousands of learning resources in multiple formats- text, video, image and practice assessments. These resources are free to use for teachers and students when accessed through the Summit Learning Platform. Britannica School offers great features such as the ability to change reading levels and font size, English and Spanish definitions, cross-references, and citation support.
  • Mathalicious: We're offering free and complete access to math activities created by math curriculum creators Mathalicious. These lessons are designed to kick off projects and stimulate interest. We have only integrated Mathalicious activities into the Base Curriculum for 6th and 9th grade teachers, but all teachers have access to the materials. You can find these interactive, teacher-facing materials in the Plans tab of 6th and 9th grade Math Units. While normally paid sites, we're offering free access to both Britannica School and Mathalicious materials through the Summit Learning Platform.

July 2018

  • Progress Reports: We’ve heard your feedback that grade reports can be difficult to distribute to parents and students. You can now download easy-to-print PDF progress reports of student grades. Learn more here.
  • Mentoring: We launched a major new feature to make mentoring easier over the summer. The feature includes a set of in-Platform research-based mentoring agendas with the ability for students to complete a guided reflection before the check-in. Learn more here.
  • Focus Area Onboarding: Focus Area Onboarding is an interactive introduction to Focus Area pages and the Self-Directed Learning Cycle. Students will see the onboarding experience when they click on a focus area for the first time.
  • Learning Strategies: The Summit Learning Platform maintains a library of learning strategies that is accessible both to students and to teachers. The strategy library contains templates that teachers can use or print out, examples of student work, and videos that may be shown to classes or to individual students. Teachers can also recommend that their classes (or certain students) visit certain strategy pages. Learn more here.
  • Student Resources: Students will see a new Resources tab in their left side-tab. This tab houses all non-curriculum student resources, such as cognitive skill instruction, information about habits of success, and common learning strategies.
  • Platform Status Page: We created Status.summitlearning.org to alert you of platform outages. Visit this website if you think the platform might be down, and subscribe to it for updates.

June 2018

  • Typeface updates: We added some small typography updates as part of a larger effort to make the platform more readable, higher contrast, and easier to use. You’ll see these text changes on page titles (such as “Year” on the Year page) and some sub-sections (such as checkpoint titles). 
  • Updates to the Project “Overview” and “Plans” pagesIn response to teacher feedback on Projects, the Summit Learning Platform team made changes to Projects for the 2018-19 school year. We made these changes with the following goals:
    1. To pull in information from the project guides into the platform
    2. To create a more structured system to organize scaffolds and know who they are for
    3. To make it easier for teachers to plan their day to day facilitation
    Learn more about Project updates here.

May 2018

  • Update to the Data Tab: We updated the school data tab for Administrators.
  • Base Curriculum Preview:  We launched a preview where you can see the first Project in every course and an overview of each focus area. The Summit Curriculum and Instruction team will be adding continuously to the Base Curriculum between now and the end of June, and you’ll see new Projects appearing in courses as they're uploaded! Please hold off on setting up your 2018-2019 curriculum so you can take full advantage of these improvements. You’ll be able to copy the Base Curriculum once it is completed by the end of June.

April 2018

  • Data exports for unenrolled students: We heard your feedback that it’s important to access grades for students after they leave your school. We added a grades export for unenrolled students under “Students” in the “Setup” menu. Learn more here.
  • Last login data for parent and student exports: In an effort to make frequently requested data more accessible, we’ve added a “Last Access Time” column to the Parent and Student exports (also under “Students” in the “Setup” menu).
  • Student Notifications:  Students will be notified when teachers provide feedback, score Projects, write notes or respond to assessment requests.  Learn more here. 

March 2018

  • Rich text formatting in Projects: We made updates to allow you to bold, italicize, hyperlink, bullet, number, and undo/redo text in Project descriptions, essential questions, and enduring understandings.

February 2018

  • Year Page Zoom: We added the ability for students to zoom in and out of the year page. You can check out this feature here.

January 2018

  • Eliminating Content Assessment Choices: We added the ability for students to virtually 'eliminate' answers in diagnostic and Content Assessments.
  • Pacing Line in Teacher Data Tables: We heard teacher feedback that the pacing line in data tables was not accurately portraying student focus area progress. The line is now tailored to reflect each student’s expected focus area completion. 
  • Teacher Data Pages: We made minor changes to data pages to help teachers and students better understand how students are doing on particular objectives. We added a new yellow "almost passed" state for objectives where students got half of the questions in that objective right and expanding the "passed" state for objectives to show as green when students get 80% right (70% for AP classes).  Previously one or more wrong answers on an objective would change its color to red, even if the student mastered the focus area. These changes apply to the student's focus area page and the teacher's focus area objectives report.
  • Year Page Hover Information: We’ve received a lot of feedback about how the year page can be more useful for students. Now we show additional information about Projects and focus areas without having to click on the item from the Year Page. Read more about why we made these changes and what changed here.
  • Improvements to the assessment approvals page: You’ll now see more information that will help you decide whether you should approve a Content Assessment request. The assessment approval page now shows if the student hasn't clicked on any resources or is skipping around between focus areas.
  • Notifications: This feature should make it easier for teachers to keep up with student requests for feedback on checkpoints, Project submissions, assessment take requests, and notes from your mentees on their progress pages. Look out for this feature in the lower left of your screen. You can read more about the feature and see an video of it in action here.
  • Goal Setting Update: We’ve received a lot of feedback about how the student goal setting tools could be more useful. To address this, we launched a set of usability improvements that help students write SMARTer goals, be able to create goals from focus areas or Projects, and generally make the features easier to use.
  • Content Assessment Integrity: We heard your feedback that students take Content Assessments for each other by logging into each other’s accounts or trading computers. We added student names to the orange bar at the top of Content Assessment windows to help you ensure that students are taking the correct assessments.
  • Desmos Calculators: Desmos calculators are available on-platform during eligible focus areas and assessments. Calculators are present in all tagged focus areas (in Math and Science), but teachers can add or remove calculator access for any focus area assessment.
  • Student Start Dates: Many teachers have written thoughtful comments asking us to improve the experience of students joining school mid-year. Upon request, we’ll now be able to shift the pacing of student work on the Year page to reflect custom start dates! This feature will often be used in conjunction with Focus Area exemptions, as a year of work may be squeezed into a shorter time period. If you’d like to set this up for one of your students, please send in a help ticket with the student’s name and entry date!
  • Shuffled Assessment Questions: Diagnostic and Content Assessment questions are now presented in randomized order, with questions interleaved with one another, rather than blocked by objective. We heard this great feature request from several teachers, and it has many benefits for students and classrooms:
    • "Interleaved" practice, in which learners apply multiple skills in one session, has been shown to both improve memory and lead to an increased transfer of learned skills (Rohrer & Taylor, 2007)
    • Randomizing increases students' ability to identify which type of question is being asked and which concepts or skills are required on each type of question. (Kornell and Bjork, 2008)
    • Randomized assessments provide more "authentic" preparation for later academic testing, such as college admission testing.

December 2017

  • Rubric Highlighting: We heard your comments that students would benefit from more actionable and specific rubric feedback. We launched a new tool that allows teachers to highlight rubric language when evaluating checkpoints and Final Products. Students can see exactly where they succeeded and where they still have room for growth. Here's a guide to the highlighting colors:
    • Green = Strong Evidence
    • Purple = Focus For Next Time
  • Focus Area Design Update We launched a redesign to the student focus area page. Your students should have seen an announcement and walkthrough on the platform introducing them to the page the first time they saw it. Learn why we are making these changes and what will be different.

November 2017

  • Rate this Project/Math Unit: Now you can rate Projects that are derived from the Base Curriculum. On the Projects page, you can click a link to a Google form that surveys how satisfied you are with the Project, what went well and what could be improved.

October 2017

  • Improvements to the goals page: We heard that it’s frustrating to see student goals day by day. Now, rather than simply navigating back-and-forth day-by-day, you can now see goals for the full week (or all of last week or all of next week) using a new drop-down. Learn more.
  • Section management: You can now add students to sections without passing out enrollment codes. Learn more.
  • Assessment Companion: We built a chrome extension called Assessment Companion that prevents students from viewing other tabs or windows when taking Content Assessments. Someone in your school’s IT department will need to install the extension on student computers. Once that’s complete, reach out to us at support@summitlearning.org to turn on the Assessment Companion. Learn more.
  • Observation Tool: We built an observation tool that allows coaches and administration to provide feedback to teachers. Learn more.

September 2017

  • Calculators: We added calculator tags to math focus areas! Tags in focus areas tell teachers and students which, if any, calculator is allowed. Students will see what type of calculator they can use in two places: on their view of the focus area, and while taking Content Assessments.

August 2017

  • Color scheme update: We’ve heard feedback that text in the platform can be hard to read for people with vision impairments who are using low-quality displays or who are using a projector. We made a small update to our color scheme that increases the contrast of all of our text.
  • Data table update: We updated the course table to allow teachers to drill down on the "overdue Projects" column to see which specific Projects are overdue in the course. Similarly, teachers who are viewing a student group table can drill down on either the "incomplete courses" or "overdue Projects" columns to see which specific courses are incomplete or have overdue Projects.
  • Improvements to the Observation Tool: We improved the observation tool to include  Look Fors, Math, PLT, Learning Center, Mentoring, and Habits / Community / Culture.

 

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