Montana is taking a formative approach to assessment that offers a personalized learning approach for student achievement.

Key points:

The Montana Office of Public Instruction is focusing on using assessments throughout the school year to give teachers the data they need–as early as possible–to positively impact student achievement through personalized learning.

Montana OPI will offer Discovery Education’s DreamBox solutions to the 53 school districts participating in the second year of the state’s Montana Alternative Student Testing (MAST) Pilot program. MAST is an initiative designed to improve learning achievement by implementing “through-year assessments,” a formative approach to assessment that provides teachers with actionable data that can inform instruction throughout the academic school year compared to relying on end-of-year assessment data. With more data insights throughout the year, teachers can quickly identify students’ target areas for growth and acceleration. 

The partnership will provide DreamBox Math and DreamBox Reading Plus to nearly 30,000 students (grades 3-8) across the state. DreamBox, which was recently acquired by Discovery Education, is the only provider of digital solutions rated “Strong” by Johns Hopkins’ in both mathematics and reading.

DreamBox solutions will then expand to all educators and students in the 2024-2025 school year.

“This partnership emphasizes innovative solutions that accelerate student success,” said Montana State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen. “Discovery Education’s DreamBox focuses on student-based teaching and learning, which reflects our MAST program. I am confident that teachers, students, and families will benefit from these programs that increase academic achievement.”

DreamBox Math and DreamBox Reading Plus are designed to adapt problems and questions based on how each student learns. DreamBox personalizes the learning experience for students, and district administrators and educators will have access to tools and resources that save them time and increase productivity as they support student success, including recommendations for specific activities and lessons. Parents and caregivers can also view their students’ learning growth through a family dashboard.

“This [partnership] is honoring that time that a teacher spends teaching. And it honors the student for learning. The immediate feedback in our model accentuates that personalized learning. I believe Montana is leading the nation in outcome-based education,” Arntzen said.

“Discovery Education believes every student deserves a high-quality, personalized learning experience, so we’re thrilled to expand our collaboration with Montana OPI to support even more Montana students and educators,” said Dr. Tim Hudson, Chief Learning Officer at Discovery Education. “Both Montana OPI and Discovery Education share a commitment to supporting teachers with effective resources and tools that align with education standards and improve intervention and remediation during the whole school year.”

“We’re inspired by Montana OPI’s leadership and commitment to learning innovation,” said Dr. Jason Sinquefield, Senior Vice President of Educational Partnerships at Discovery Education. “Our team looks forward to working alongside district leaders, educators, parents and caregivers, and community members across Montana to accelerate learning for all students and improve student skill development.”