Tag Archives: student conferences

“Level Up” Learning with Newsela’s Binder

This is the final post in a series exploring Newsela strategies, and it focuses on ideas for Newsela Pro binder users.  You can check out other posts for ideas for using the free version of Newsela or Newsela Pro features.

So imagine that you are now using all of Newsela’s features with your students, and you want to determine how the information stored in the binder can help you “level up” learning in your classroom and across your school. Here are two simple ideas.

  1. Use Binder Data for Student Conferences and Personalized Instruction

When you confer with students, you can have them access their data in their student binders. Once students open their binders, you are able to see the overall percentage of questions they’ve gotten correct on quizzes. Although a good piece of benchmarking data, this percentage is not necessarily very helpful for growth.  

However, there is a great tool for guiding growth. A simple search feature at the top of the binder allows you to isolate different reading standards. Both the students and you can see percentages of correct answers for each type of skill and compare those percentages to the student’s average. This activity creates an enriching discussion about strengths and areas for growth.

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 9.07.37 PMFor example, I worked with a student who opened her binder, and she had a 76% overall on her quizzes.  Her first response was, “ I always get 75’s on my quizzes.” She seemed downtrodden by this fact (in actuality, 75% is a perfectly good score for students reading on their instructional Lexile level according to Newsela). 


Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 9.07.27 PMSo, I encouraged her to isolate some of the reading standards, using the filter in the binder. We found that she had gotten 95% of central idea questions correct, and I acknowledged that as a strength for her (compared to her 76% average). We then saw that she had a 65% on questions dealing with perspective and point of view.  We realized that this is was a growth area for her. I shared possible strategies she could use when reading in the future. We also explored some of point-of-view questions to learn more about what they asked.

Using this data allows us to give personalized feedback, help students self-assess their strengths and areas for improvement, and aids personalized instruction as well as targeted interventions.

2. Using Data for Schoolwide Focus

If you are a Newsela team leader, you have access to school-wide data in the School Performance tab. In this area, you can look at the average level of achievement of all students in your school. Here, you can also use the filter to learn about how students are doing in each individual reading standard.

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 9.10.37 PMScreen Shot 2017-03-26 at 9.10.48 PM

I was recently able to do this with one of my schools. I noticed that the school was doing particularly well on Standard 4, which deals with understanding vocabulary and figurative language in context. However, students were doing very poorly on the Standard 7 multimedia questions, which usually ask them to compare a print text to some visual text such as a map or a piece of art. This information was helpful for teachers, so they could be mindful of strengthening intertextual connections for students, regardless of the subject area where they teach.

If you want to hear about these strategies in depth, access the Newsela “Celebrate the Educator” webinar in which I share 6 strategies for “leveling up” with Newsela.

What are some interesting ways that you are using the Newsela Pro Binder?