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10 Tips for a USNS Implementation

  • February 23, 2022
  • Blog

usns implementations

As you begin to look to the fall to support your RtI/MTSS efforts and strengthen math instruction in your district, here are ten tips to help leaders prepare for and support a 2022-23 USNS implementation.

1) Set the vision for the Universal Screeners for Number Sense (USNS) implementation

Everyone needs to know the purpose for administering the Screeners. This needs to be communicated early and often. Even if this is your 3rd or 4th year of implementation, the reasons for using the USNS should be communicated to all involved: teachers, interventionists, and principals.

2) Get everyone involved

Some of the most valuable information comes from listening for the student, not the final score. For this reason, whenever possible, the teacher who works most directly with the student should be the one who administers the assessments. Rather than having specialists, interventionists, paraeducators or others give the assessments, have those personnel support in classrooms to free up the teacher to give the assessments.

3) Plan for learning

High quality professional learning opportunities are critical for a successful USNS implementation. How will teachers learn (and share what they have learned) about the administration, scoring, and use of the USNS? At a minimum, provide time for teachers to read the assessments, discuss, and ask questions. Explore our sample interviews for students on our USNS Resources page. Practice scoring the interviews to develop norms around scoring.

4) Identify school-based leaders

Who is the point person to help coordinate, communicate, and support the USNS administration at each school? Will these be the same people who lead the learning?

5) Provide materials

Make sure teachers have what they need, including printed materials and counters. Note that the USNS administration guide includes all the paper supports you require, but teachers will also need to furnish manipulatives for interviews.

6) Provide time for planning

Provide teachers with time to coordinate, plan, and prepare for the administration of the assessments and allow teachers to collaborate and share plans with one another.

7) Enable classroom teachers to lead

Encourage teachers to do the assessments, but provide support. For example, have a paraeducator support with classroom management to free teachers up to administer the USNS assessments.

8) Practice administering a couple assessments

Administer some assessments yourself. This will help you to lead the conversations. Videotaping some interviews is very helpful. This will provide you with an opportunity to reflect and improve your own practice, while providing you with videos for leading professional development.

9) Review results

Schedule time to review results. Get dates on the calendar for your teams even before the assessment window opens. This will help you to set your assessment window, and give the process more purpose.

10) Provide tools

Provide data tools to make data collection easy and enable teachers to get the full use of the information. Want to explore our own solution created by the lead author of the USNS project? Explore an on-demand demo or request a conversation with our team today!


About the author:

David Woodward is an educator with more than 25 years of experience as a classroom teacher and district leader in math education. He founded Forefront Education to help educators better understand student learning with meaningful assessments and support standards-based grading that is automatic, accurate, and reliable. David recently retired as a math coach at Boulder Valley School District in Colorado in June 2020. He is the leader of the Universal Screeners for Number Sense project (formerly known as the BVSD k-5 Math Screeners). Read more.

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[On-Demand] Best Practices for USNS Implementations

Recording Date: Apr 6, 2022, at 1:00 PM EST

Join David Woodward, lead author of the USNS project, to learn about best practices to implement the Universal Screeners for Number Sense assessments in the 2022-23 school year. Learn how to plan and prepare for administering these assessments to understand students' mathematical understanding across critical number sense concepts and skills. 

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