Pro-Core has successfully helped teachers prepare students for state proficiency, achievement, and graduation tests over the past fifteen years dba PRO-Ohio. Now, Pro-Core is building on that experience to address the state's new state learning standards in reading, mathematics, science and social studies.
What Do the Schools Say?
Support Services Tailored to Each District and School
I’d like to thank you for all the help that you have been with implementing the short cycle and benchmark assessments. Through the webinars and your overall accessibility there hasn’t been a question unanswered. Your professionalism has empowered my teachers to have a voice and be solution-oriented and not just critical naysayers. Thank you.—Michael Scott, Elementary Principal, Lorain City Schools
Urban School Receives “Excellent with Distinction”
Roxboro Elementary School began using Pro-Core/Pro-Ohio over 5 years ago. What started as a test-prep program became an amazing resource for student development.
For five years now, our urban school has achieved academic success and we attribute Pro-Ohio/Pro-Core to providing the data to allow us to meet our students’ needs. [In their 3rd year using Pro-Core, they achieved their first Excellent with Distinction rating.]
As teachers, we realized that the short-cycle web assessments were a perfect tool for pre-testing our students and identifying strengths and weaknesses on standards we were about to teach. Groups could quickly be formed based on need, and enrichment or remediation was provided during stations. The weekly routine became pre-assess, group, teach to levels, and re-assess. With Pro-Core, having a test 1 and a test 2 on each standard, we put our valuable time towards preparing lessons, not assessments.
Teachers aren’t the only people satisfied with Pro-Ohio/Pro-Core.
Students and parents are equally enjoying this resource. Students are motivated to see their scores, and the color-coded standards provide a visual that aids self-reflection. Students beam with pride with their blue and green stripes and work towards improving on the yellow and red standards. Parents love that students can log-in from home or community computers and work to improve their scores on previously taught indicators. This connects the learning that happens at school to the home and keeps parents connected to the curriculum.
Our school system has tried other products like Study Island, and the teachers in my school prefer Pro-Ohio/Pro-Core because it is has no distractions, students take it seriously, and it helps us master using formative assessments to guide our instruction.
Another benefit to PO/PC is the immediate assistance we have always received from the CEO, Ben Hemingway. It is not uncommon to email Ben a question and receive an answer within 15 minutes. His “customer service” is like no other!—Melissa Garcar, International Baccalaureate Coordinator,
Cleveland Heights/University Heights: Roxboro Elementary
Year-Round Integration of Pro-Core
Reflecting on student success in my classroom, I’ve identified the following combination of ingredients as most important in enabling student success:
- authentic and interactive instruction,
- consistent and year-round integration of Pro-Core into the classroom as an assessment tool, and
- Pro-Core test preparation and review prior to taking FORM B.
First, I believe optimal success with Pro-Core is achieved by pairing it with interactive and authentic instruction. This enables the students to become facilitators in their own learning. Consequently, learning is meaningful for them, and the students can then apply this new knowledge in other areas, such as Pro-Core.
Second, I find it beneficial to integrate the Pro-Core system into my classroom year round—not just once in September and again in April.
Prior to each new SS unit, I have students take the online Pro-Core standard quizzes that correspond to the unit. This serves as a useful and informative pre-test and also enables me to easily access data and reports about strengths, weaknesses, prior knowledge, etc. These results then guide and help me further differentiate my instruction.
At the end of the unit, the students take the same indicator quizzes again. Because of the color-coordinated score categories (also visible in student login), it’s easy for students to visually see their progress and growth in each indicator area.
Consequently, they are motivated to “improve their color” and are excited to show growth in each area. (In the future, I plan to incorporate a more defined goal-setting aspect—maybe a graph of some sort—with each individual student.) Again, these results would allow me to differentiate and facilitate small groups to re-teach and/or revisit specific topics/concepts that might need reinforcement for specific students.
Furthermore, while serving as a formative and summative assessment tool throughout each unit, integrating these indicator quizzes familiarizes students with the Pro-Core questioning style and the assessment format, a huge contributor to their ultimate success. Students are able to practice their test-taking skills and strategies by rereading each question, identifying important information, eliminating answer options, etc.
The final strategy that facilitates student success is test preparation, feedback, and group work before taking the FORM B final Pro-Core test.
About two weeks prior to taking the FORM B assessment, I have my students begin retaking each indicator quiz as a review. The students independently take 2–3 quizzes per day.
Following the quiz, I show the quiz on the SMARTboard and as a class, we go through each question and the answer options.
During this time, the students grade their own work; these quizzes are not taken for a grade, but instead are used to encourage self-assessment, reflection, and work ownership.
I use this as a formative measure to form small groups based on the questions missed or any common confusion/misunderstanding displayed by students. The small groups then have “team talks” to discuss specific questions and topics. This serves as great reinforcement and review, while also continuing to familiarize students with Pro-Core questioning style and test format.
Upon receiving our Pro-Core results, I ask my students what they thought to be most helpful in preparing them for the test. An overwhelming majority respond that the practice tests (review indicator quizzes), whole-group question-and-answer analysis (student grading), and small group “team talks” about questions missed or confusion are MOST helpful to them.—Amanda Schwarz, Seipelt Elementary, Milford
For example, in my classroom, the students learn and practice mapping skills by creating a human-sized alpha-numeric grid on a large classroom area rug; we bring in authentic artifacts and clothing from the Promont House to learn about how communities change over time; we participate in Agriculture Day to learn firsthand how agriculture and industry has changed over time. During our SWOOP project, the students email contacts all over the world to learn about other cultures, and we now have 3rd grade pen-pals in New Brunswick, Canada!
Beginning in 2013–14, our small, rural district took on the new challenges from ODE with the help of Pro-Core. We were reluctant to create our own student-learning objective assessments for pre- and post-tests district-wide, and we wanted a non-biased, standards-based product to provide excellent assessments.
Our teachers in grades 9–12 currently use Pro-Core as a vendor assessment in Physical Science, Biology, American Government, and American History, and our middle-school teachers in grades 6–8 use Pro Core for social studies.
The two previous years, our high-school science teachers used … [another vendor], but they switched to Pro-Core after seeing the difference in the tests. Being subject and standard-specific was the main draw of Pro-Core for our HS-science teachers, along with the fact that the questions are directly tied to the Common Core with continual and clear mastery reports for teachers to use. After seeing samples of the tests and reports that CEO Ben Hemingway shared with our 6–8 science teachers, they, too, have elected to switch … to Pro-Core.
As the first year with changes to many facets in a teacher's life, Pro-Core was one of the easier changes for me to manage. Our teachers were familiar with online testing and data, but "familiar" does not mean that we are "friendly" users of the data. Not having enough time and not wanting to over-test the students are complaints that I see in action and that I understand.
Time and again, regardless of the stressors and frustrations resulting from the changes in our teaching system, Pro Core was one constant that provided few frustrations. (I must admit: the frustrations we did encounter were because of our newness with the product and user error.)
[On the other hand], our other vendor … has ultimately made the use of data more frustrating for teachers: Assessments take over 45 minutes each; access and logging on have often been flawed and sometimes unavailable; teachers and students have to wait 24 hours for their data to re-set … if a problem arises; data reports are difficult to understand; training and professional development costs at least $100 per person a few times a year. These factors have led to a level of frustration [with that other vendor] and a reluctance to engage with the data.
Another plus provided by Ben and Pro-Core are the teacher-data reports showing growth and making a clear path to enter the teacher rating into eTPES for Student Growth Measures. I spent two days in specialized training and days and nights of frustration processing data from our … [other vendor’s] reports to produce spreadsheets showing our SGM data for math and reading. What we assumed would be part of the "package" for eTPES when we purchased … became a lengthy and confusing exercise. Pro-Core, on the other hand, did this for us without the extra training, cost, spreadsheets, emails, conference calls, and webinars required to carry out the work for [that other vendor].
I am not a data expert; I’m not the best role-model for using data YET. We are all learning, but Ben Hemingway made it much easier as he calmly and kindly helped me navigate and explain some of my staff members' questions. He held conference calls with my teachers twice and walked us through some of the features of Pro-Core. He has taken time to call me in the evenings and help me via email with presenting and more effectively using data. Ben, Frank and the Pro-Core team have made some of the uncomfortable parts of the changes a bit more bearable, and for that I am grateful.—Betsy Wyatt, Curriculum Director, East Clinton Schools
Great Teaching Tool
The district where I was the high-school principal struggled with test scores and we had entered the school year with a 1st-year designation as missing AYP and being on the at-risk list. We had made some significant gains the previous year, but missed in sub groups and also had a testing population with 50%+ … in poverty. Needless to say, we were under the gun.
I contacted Ben Hemingway and discussed the Pro-Core product. In a short period, we decided to administer a relaxed version of the test …. By relaxed, I mean we did not replicate a full testing environment but administered the test through the content area teachers. What was impressive was the turnaround of the data. We received the results in less than 3 days and what we received was voluminous. What a great teaching tool!
Using this data, we formulated plans to redirect classroom instruction to address student deficiencies. After 7–8 weeks, we retested the students with a different form of the same level test in a full-test environment. We again received our data quickly, and we were able to use it in the immediate weeks up to the test to work with students.
After the actual OGT was administered, many of our students commented to us about … being so well prepared. When the results came in, our math and reading scores jumped 20%+ and our students achieved at levels never seen on a first test administration dating back to the 9th grade tests.
This resulted in Northridge HS being designated an “Effective” high school and been awarded the “School of Promise” designation by the ODE. I believe Pro-Core, in the hands of dedicated teachers, made a huge difference.—Chris Baker, Bellbrook High School Principal
I can think of no other product on the market that is aligned to the standards as well as Pro-Core. Many products such as Success Maker claim to have a good alignment to the standards, but upon examination, the correlation is not as strong as Pro-Core or Pro-Web.
For the purpose of monitoring instruction, I prefer the frequent data that Pro-Web provides. This year I was able to monitor the effectiveness of our math instruction on a bi-weekly basis. This objective form of an on-going assessment is critical for any administrator who wants to keep a finger on the pulse of academic progress in his or her building.
It is important to note that the assessment alone is not enough to create improvement. The assessment results must be used to drive instructional change through conversations between the administration and teaching staff. When used consistently for progress monitoring it drives school wide as well as individual student progress.—Allen Moellmann, Elementary School Principal
Does So Much More
I have to say, I went to this… a bit skeptical. I had been thinking we could do this in-house for so much cheaper, but the program does so much more than I had realized and I am so impressed by the development the organizer, Ben [Hemingway], puts into it! I … [am] most impressed with the way the program tracks the data.
One of the big advantage as an administrator was how easily you are able to see the scores and progress of the classes. It looked to me like one spreadsheet could be accessed that would show you all average scores of assessments by teacher….
After today, my recommendation would be to not only implement this program 7–10, but really 3–10. I would also like the students who are in my Fundamentals of Science course next year to be signed on for the program.—Kelly Cobb, Science Teacher, Finneytown Local Schools
The great thing about Pro-Core is that it combines with other sources like past performance on the state achievement assessments to provide data to allow teachers to make decisions about classroom instruction that increase student achievement.—Darrell Edwards, Assistant Superintendent, Goshen Local Schools
Secondary Level Uses Pro-Web Throughout the Year
Our middle-school math teachers believe the Pro-Core short-cycle web tests are solidly aligned with the state’s Academic Content Standards. It is an excellent tool for formative assessments that can be used throughout the school year.—Jill Kincer, Secondary Curriculum Leader