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Company: Pearson
Assessment: Yes
Instruction: No
Grades: K-12
Subject: Reading and Math
Delivery: online
As stated by AIMSweb early developers, AIMSweb is a progress monitoring "system". It does not provide direct computer-based diagnostic (formative) assessments. It expects these to be paper and pencil assessments carried out by teachers via one on one testing. It started as a repository for DIBELS data. DIBELS, as a paper and pencil one on one assessment, gained popularity because of its ties to Reading First. So AIMSweb rode its coat tails by allowing schools to store their DIBELS data. AIMSweb focuses on being able to measure CBM, curriculum based measures. But teachers have to keyboard in their data.

Today, the "AIMSweb System" has become in addition a computer-based benchmark testing system customized to each state. They position it as a progress monitoring tool and have heavily marketed it as a Response to Intervention (RtI) solution. They have a three tier RtI diagram on the home page of their web site which is confusing because RtI contains "three" tiers too. So the less informed administrator many think they provide a complete technology based "solution" of RtI. Their RtI slides and webinars gloss over an essential part of RtI Implementation which is the ability to individually diagnosis every child especially those going into Tier 2 interventions and Tier 3 special ed programs. This overemphasis on just progress monitoring has lead to administrators implementing partial RtI plans and completely forgeting about diagnostic assessment. They assume it will happen or buy Tier 2 interventions without diagnosing whether those particular interventions are appropriate for the individual students. With current resouces levels, most classroom and intervention teachers don't have the resources to diagnosis students to drive differentiated instruction as required for Tier 2 students. Tier 3 students who are in special education of course already receive diagnostic assessment because legally special education teachers have to do diagnostic assess and are trained to do them.

So in conclusion, AIMSweb is a useful system. But often it is oversold as a total RtI solution which it is not. The blame for this is the marketing department at Pearson. Let's Go Learn can provide one of the most difficult pieces of the puzzle of RtI which is automated diagnostic assessment. This doesn't mean teachers won't do one on one diagnostic assessments at times. It just means that students won't NOT get diagnostic assessment which is often the case because there are usally too many students who are behind.

  1. Richard Capone
    Reply 05/29/15
    Hello Randy, I'm not an expert at Special Ed qualifications but I do know that a single test can't determine whether someone qualifies or not. Generally speaking a specialist needs to make the determination. If the school said that your child's AIMSWEB scores were on-grade and thus your child does not qualify for Special Ed services, this seems like thin evidence for making a decision. As a parent I would want to look at the big picture in multiple subject areas. You could test your child with our DORA and ADAM assessments. This would give you some of your own data to examine. But you may have to seek a specialist of your own. I think you're going to have to do some more research on your own to carefully navigate this situation. Good luck.
  2. Randy the parent
    Reply 05/29/15
    My children have been denied access to special education programs in math until recently and it may be too late. The school district relied upon AIMSWEB as a reason to deny services. I could not understand how the district said they were fine but my kids could not do their homework by themselves.
  3. Suzanne Graves
    Reply 09/17/10
    We are in the first year of implementation of AIMSweb at our school. As the reading coach I am finding that the information we are getting is useful but the time involved in administering the benchmark assessments and probes, scoring, and data entry, negates any usefulness of the program. There are programs out there that provide better data and a include a diagnostic piece that AIMSweb does not. Data entry is time consuming and redundant. A well written program would not require the user to enter the scores in multiple places. All in all, I am disappointed in this product given the quality of other Pearson products.
  4. Richard Capone
    Reply 01/12/10
    Hello Callie. Good point about AIMSweb not being diagnostic. Our original post was mainly in response to customer inquiries. What we have found is that many people are consistently getting the wrong idea about benchmark assessments and think they are diagnostic. So often our posts are responding to this misunderstanding and to someone like yourself who understands the difference it may seem strange and "hilarious."
  5. Callie
    Reply 10/21/09
    I find it hilarious that you are upset about the fact that AIMSweb is not diagnostic. If you know anything about data, you know that we need to have four different types of data in our schools: Universal Screeners, Diagnostic, Progress Monitors, and Program Evaluation. AIMSweb has never claimed to be diagnostic and states clearly on their website in response to the question, "Is AIMSweb considered diagnostic?": "No. AIMSweb is designed for universal screening and progress monitoring. While educators can get a lot of information from the performance of the student by doing item/error analysis informally, AIMSweb was not intended to be diagnostic." Also - be careful what you're assessing with computer based tools: Are we assessing overall reading skill or how well a student can use a keyboard and monitor? P.S. It is spelled CBM, not CMB.
  6. Sara G.
    Reply 03/22/09
    I agree with Tessa! Our district bought aimsweb advertising that it was an rti solution. What a bunch of bull. It is progress monitoring only. They are focused on meeting legal requirements and not actually helping me. I don't need progress monitoring and a requirement that I do more work figuring out aims. I know when students aren't learning! DORA would be nice since I don't have the time to do enough diagnostic assessment with my intervention kids. Right now though things are on hold because of budgets. How much is DORA? It works in a lab too right?
  7. Tessa
    Reply 11/23/08
    I am very frustrated with AIMSWEB. Our school is using it and I find it extremely time consuming with very isolated data. It takes away from my ability to spend quality time truly teaching my students balanced literacy interventions which include connecting text with meaning. I can still teach the isolated interventions AIMS does while also including comprehension. I am TRYING to like this because it is mandatory for our school but I feel it is taking away from quality planning, instruction and data collecting. If you could hire a AIMSWEB person to do all the work the data would be a good extra tool.
  8. Terry S.
    Reply 11/06/08
    Yes, out school uses Aimsweb and it hasn't helped us better differentiate instruction just know sooner when something isn't working. We need better diagnosis! I think we thought we had a complete rti solution with Aimsweb but we need something more. :(

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