Leslie Tyler: About Edulastic

Sep 14, 2015 by


An Interview with Leslie Tyler: About Edulastic

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) First of all, can you tell us about your education and experience and what you do at Edulastic?

As vice president of marketing, I lead our marketing and partnerships with schools, which includes working with educators to create and administer Edulastic assessments in their classrooms. I have led marketing at a number of technology startups for the past 15 years and have an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

2) Who started Edulastic and what is its primary purpose?

Edulastic is the K-12 division of Snapwiz, a venture-backed education technology company that offers a cloud-based learning platform for publishers. Snapwiz’s publishing customers include J. Wiley and Sons, McGraw-Hill and Barron’s Educational Series.

Edulastic is an online assessment platform that provides teachers and schools an easy way to create technology-enhanced assessments to gauge student understanding and track student mastery over time.

Unlike most digital assessment tools, Edulastic goes way beyond multiple choice with more than 30 technology-enhanced question types, such as drag-and-drop, constructed response and graphing. These interactive assessments both engage students and challenge them much more than previous technologies such as scanned bubble sheets.

Educators use Edulastic to better understand what students already know and where they need more help. This data informs their instruction, allowing them to differentiate their lessons and target specific areas of academic need.

3) Can this be used for special education students or only for regular students?

Edulastic can be used by all students. Teachers can assign different versions of the same assessment to individual students or groups of students tailored to their needs. Some students may need special accommodations like text to speech or different Lexile levels, which teachers can customize when creating the assessment.

4) How much training and in-servicing do teachers need to be able to use this program or device?

Edulastic is designed to be easy to use right away. The product is browser-based, meaning that it works on any device with a web browser (mini-tablet or larger), so there’s no technological set up. Teachers can easily upload their students and choose from our library of more than 1,000 standards-aligned assessments created by experts and shared by other teachers using Edulastic. Our typical basic training to get a teacher up and running is less than one hour.

5) What types of questions can be utilized (e.g. multiple choice, true-false, fill in the blank, matching)?

Edulastic offers more than 30 interactive question types including classic multiple choice, fill in the blank (for math, formulas and text) and essay, but also:

· Drag-and-drop

· Label an image (with text or drop down)

· Matching

· Yes/no tables

· Plotting on a number line or coordinate plane

· Graphing

· Creating a line plot

· Fraction shading

· Passage type questions

· Highlight evidence in the text

6) Does this program monitor student writing, and can it improve student writing or reading?

While Edulastic offers essay-type questions and writing prompts, teachers review and give feedback to students. The program does not automatically monitor student writing.

7) We hear a lot about formative assessment. Can this program provide information that a student should be retained, or returned to an earlier grade due to their difficulties?

Edulastic’s reports show teachers and administrators which standards each student has mastered and where he or she still needs help, as well as his or her academic growth over the year. Educators can compare students to averages and goals, as well as analyze mastery for particular groups of students. This data can be used for formative assessment – to target areas of need for individual students – or it can be used for grading purposes.

8) Following up on formative assessment – will this program provide information that a student might have a learning disability?

No. Edulastic is a platform allowing educators to create and share assessments that give them actionable data about student understanding and mastery. A teacher or learning specialist could create a diagnostic test for learning disabilities on the platform, but the learning specialist would still need to interpret the data.

9) What about English language learners?

Edulastic supports creating assessments in any language and allows teachers to assign different versions of the same assessment (in another language, for example) to ELL students.

10) Does this program take into account learning styles or learning differences?

Edulastic is very flexible for an online assessment platform, giving teachers the ability to ask students to respond in a multitude of ways – showing their work on a math problem or writing an essay from a prompt, for example. However, the educator creating the assessment must take this into account when writing questions and assignments.

11) Do you have a website where teachers can learn more?

Yes. Teachers can learn more at www.Edulastic.com.

12) Often testing tells us what teachers seem to be ineffective, but could the difficulty be due to a learning disability on the student’s part?

In order to teach effectively, teachers (and students) must assess what concepts and skills have been learned, what still needs to be learned. Assessment takes many forms and can help identify challenges for the student. The root cause of these challenges, as well as the remedy for them, requires interpreting data gained from testing. Diagnosing a problem effectively usually requires multiple sources of data.

13) What have I neglected to ask?

This is a very comprehensive list! We are excited about the possibility for using technology like Edulastic to inform teachers so they can personalize instruction and increase learning. Most schools now have devices in the classroom and we’re moving toward 1:1 in a lot of places. Now the challenge is how to use all of the great edtech resources now available to actually make a meaningful impact on academics. At Edulastic, we work every day toward providing educators with the data to make that happen.

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