There are two options for teachers to log into Empower. The first is to use a username and password that has been created specifically for Empower.
The second, and recommended method of logging in is to use your district Google account. To log in this way, click the “Login with google” button. A window will pop up, asking for your district email address and password. If you have already logged in to district Google account, you will not be asked for these credentials again. If you happen to have more than one account in Empower (teacher, staff, or parent), you can select which account you want to associate with your Google account. For most people, the one identified as “TEACHERS” is the correct choice.
Yes and no.
In a Competency-based System, grades are not used to describe how well a student is grasping the required knowledge and skills. For this reason, a traditional grade book that averages scores would not be helpful. In a CBS, it is important to track a student’s proficiency on individual standards, or Learning Targets.
Empower does take on many of the roles of a traditional gradebook. Assigning tasks, recording scores, and identifying missing or late work is all accomplished through Empower. In fact, the Task Gradebook portion of empower has a very traditional look to it, with the student listed on the left, assignments across the top, and scores entered in the cells, just like a gradebook in a traditional system.
Teachers do not have to stop using what works for them, as long as they do use Empower to track work, scores, and overall Learning Target scores.
Over the years, some teachers have grown accustomed to using other websites, services, and online tools. Resources like Edmodo and Google Classroom have been very helpful in communicating with students and creating online environments for traditional classes. While many of the features in these tools are built directly into Empower, it is not a requirement to use them there. The district wants teachers to be aware that if they continue to use services that duplicate some of Empower’s functionality, they may at times feel like they are duplicating their efforts. If this is the case, talk with your Empower facilitator to see what the best solution for you would be.
Of course, as long as you are helping your students be successful, and are tracking their progress in Empower, you are free to work in as many systems as you wish!
Teachers who have used traditional gradebook programs are asked not to continue using them. Because of how they track and calculate grades and the confusion when requiring students and parents to use multiple systems, these programs do not help support the CBS.
A number of handouts have been created to help teachers with Empower. These can be found here, but can also be found from the Menu page in Empower.
If you ever have a suggestion for a new handout, let us know! Email suggestions to Kevin Byers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many teachers have found that the easiest way to score work is to use the Activity Grade Book. This tool shows you all your students and assignments in a class, similar to a traditional gradebook. To make it even easier to score work, it is possible to sort the assignments in a number of different ways. You can also limit the students and assignments that appear, making it easier to focus specifically on your task at hand.
If you and your co-workers set your activity share settings to "All Teachers", you will be able to search for and assign each other's activities. The teachers and departments that have done this has reported it is a huge time saver!
Collecting permission slips, recording roving observations, or tracking points in a competition. It is sometime helpful to have a blank roster spreadsheet for your classes. It is possible to print one right from Empower.
From the home page, click the word “Empower” in the upper left of your screen. This will take you to the menu page. Scroll down until you see the section titled “Progress Reporting”. In this section, you will see a link for the “Report Viewer”. When you click this link, you will have the option to pick a number of reports from a drop down list. Select the one called “Teacher Roving Sheet” When this report load, you can enter a title that is printed at the top of the sheet, select a class or group, choose which students from the class you want displayed.
If you want, you can even enter titles for each of the columns. To do this, just un-check the box and type in the column’s title.
When you have filled out the top of this report, click the button that says “preview”. You should see your spreadsheet appear on the page. If it looks correct, you can save it as a pdf or an excel (csv) document.
To save it, chose the desired format from the dropdown that says “Export to the selected format” and then click the link to the right that says “Export”. It should create your spreadsheet and save it to your computer automatically.
The general rule to follow is to enter any activities, tasks, quizzes, tests, or observations that help assess how as student is mastering the Learning Targets in your class. It is expected that work, and therefore formative or summative assessment, is happening every week in a teacher's class. For this reason, the expectation is that this assessment data should be updated weekly as well. For some teachers and some content, this might be one item that is scored and entered each week. Other teachers may find they have data they want to update daily. It is truly up to individual teachers to determine what kind of assessment data is entered into Empower.
Remember, all the data you enter for your student will stay with them while they are in Adams County School District 50 schools. Not only will the students and parents see these assignments and scores, future teachers will too. Do your best to help communicate how each student is learning, while also building a complete learning portfolio for the future.
MAS is an acronym that stands for Maximum Achievable Score. This is considered the score a student would need to obtain to have completed an assignment to the teacher’s standards.
If a student is studying a newer concept and was given an introductory task (like a vocabulary quiz), they would be expected to get a score of 2.0 in order to complete it satisfactorily. When this vocabulary quiz is entered into Empower, it will be marked with an MAS of 2.0
If the task the student was given covered portions of the related Proficiency Scale that were in the score 3 box, the assignment would be given an MAS of 3.0
The handy thing about setting the MAS correctly for each assignment is that you are setting the goal for that particular task. If a student does not earn a score that matches the MAS, they will not be marked as completing that particular assignment. As with setting any goal, a student can do better. In this case, it is possible to overscore the student for this task, or giving them a score that is higher than the MAS
One thing to remember about setting a MAS that is greater than 3.0, if you decide a task should have an MAS of 3.5 or 4.0, all assigned tasks will be considered incomplete until the student achieve this goal on this specific task. For this reason, it is most common to set the MAS of an assignment as 2.0 or 3.0.
No. It is ok to score work as a zero, but only if the zero is used to represent what is stated on the Proficiency Scales: "Even with help, no understanding or skill demonstrated."
This does not mean that a missing assignment or a refusal to work should be scored a zero. If a student does not turn in work, there is no way to know their ability level and grasp of the knowledge. You must be able to assess that the student is unable to demonstrate any skill or understanding in order to give a zero.
It is important to remember that a missing assignment (marked with an "M" in Empower) signifies that a student has not completed the work. A zero signifies that the student is unable to understand the work. It may seem like a slight difference, but it does matter.
There have been some teachers who believed scoring missing work with a zero would ensure the poor performing students did not pass their class. In a Competency Based System, students without proficient scores on their work and Learning Targets will not be passed along to the next level (or class) until they have demonstrated proficiency of all the required Learning Targets. In that regards, an "M" in the task gradebook gets them no further towards their goal than a zero would.
As often as possible!
Teaching and working with students is obviously every teacher's first priority. Part of that work is to communicate to the students and their parents how the students are doing in class. Creating assignments and recording scores in Empower is a great way to communicate a student's progress. In Empower, teachers can set due dates, mark tasks as missing, identify when a score wasn't as high as expected, and reward proficient work. Obviously, the more timely and regular this feedback is posted to Empower, the better.
According to the standard operating procedures for our Competency Based System, all teachers in the district are expected to have Empower updated by Wednesday of each week.
Empower does change the overall proficiency score when you enter task scores, but it does not ever make the final determination that a student is proficient. It will always be a teacher’s responsibility to score a Learning Target with a 3.0 or higher. The most common time to do this is after a major project, summative assessment, or towards the end of a grading period.
The main reason we had teams of educators help develop the Proficiency Scales was to help group instructional content, create learning progressions, identify the appropriate depth of knowledge, and to reduce the number of Learning Targets that teachers had to record on.
Movign to the Proficiency Scales does not mean we removed content and skills that students are expected to become proficient on. It is expected that teachers will continue to have students interact with the foundational skills (score 2.0 content) as well as the content that is identified as score 3.0.
Competency Based Education isn't something that is only happening here in Adams 50. If you want to learn more about other efforts it is recommended you check out the website Competency Works. There are a huge number of articles, posts, and links that discuss the growing interest in Competency Based Education.
It is often stated that student should be exposed to grade level content, even if they are working below grade level. The exposure to grade level content is not as beneficial to the students if that student has not had their academic holes filled. If students are working below grade level, and teachers do wish to cover grade level content, they need to scaffold the vertically aligned content and skills. Teaching these vertically aligned skills all together would help ensure student success in traditional grade level content while allowing the teacher to score a number of Learning Targets across multiple levels. It is processes like this that will help students catch up to grade level appropriate content.
Holding a student back could refer to two different things.
Content - In a traditional system, if a student does not pass a class, they are expected to retake it. Holding a student back in this manner requires them to repeat all of the content, assignments, and assessments, even if they were proficient in some of them in the past. In our Competency Based System, students are not promoted to the next level until they have demonstrated proficiency in the previous one. Because of this, there is no need to have students repeat courses. Time is truly the variable.
Location - When a student is ready to move to a different building based on his or her age, it is possible to retain that student in the same building for another year if their academic needs would be best met there. These decisions would need to be made on an individual basis with the input of teachers, administration, and the student's family.
CBS has often described as being “student paced”. This does not mean it is appropriate for a student to intentionally move slowly through school. It means students have the ability to speed up and slow down as needed to ensure they are learning and progressing through school. In a traditional school system, it often feels like the looming threat of a poor grade on an assignment or for the class keeps students working and learning at a pace that the teacher sets. In a Competency Based System, it is a combination of student goal setting, engaging learning environments, and personal relationship building that most often drives students to learn and excel.
No, they don’t. Students that transition to both the Middle Schools and High Schools are scheduled into classes that address the performance level content that they still need to master. In fact, if a student enters High School and they are behind grade level, they will be required to demonstrate proficiency on these remedial Learning Targets before they start earning full credit for their work. Because of this, it is clearly in their best interest to enter High School on grade level!
All students will be placed into the correct level according the the Level Placement Guide
Student Performance Level, Learning Target and Evidence scores will be preserved in the Empower system for all students indefinitely. The Active Levels (pink dot) for all content areas will be cleared after a student has been withdrawn for 6 months. Performance Level placement for students returning to the district after a 6 month or longer leave should be completed using the guidance provided in Level Placement Guide.
There are no courses in our Competency Based System that are identified as Pass/Fail. Some teachers have heard that some courses would be marked in Infinite Campus as Passed or Failed. This is not true. Even if courses were scored in IC like this, this information would not result in any credit or changes to the student's transcript.