Author: Molly Anderson

Common Core Results Are Back
On / by Molly Anderson / in Novare

Common Core Results Are Back

The test results are back from the controversial, high risk, end of year tests. Based on the results from this test most of our students in this nation are not proficient in needed skills. Articles like this and this talk about what isn’t working and many bloggers, writers, and educators don’t seem to have an easy answer… and I know why… there is no easy answer! The results provide information from only one metric we chose to use at the end of the school year. Most students did not perform well on the standardized tests.

What it leaves me with are more questions than answers.  As a nation, did we really expect all of our students to master these deeper learning concepts so quickly?  Do our teachers have the needed resources to develop and guide the students through this shift in learning? Is this a good baseline to determine student growth as we move forward? Shouldn’t we use multiple types of assessment to determine how students are doing and ultimately the effectiveness of the common core.

These are not easy to implement, It can be scary knowing that you are going to learn less content for deeper learning. What gets left out? How do you balance it. What level do students need to be successful in life?  How do we measure that success? I am a mother to four and each is so different.

Diane Ravitch’s blog has a great compilation of different tests and some issues with them. They show students from many states scoring proficient or above mostly between 30 and 50 percent. That means half or most are not proficient. What does that mean? It could mean many things…

  1. The test is valid, Our students are not able to think in the way we are now wanting them to perform and we can use this information to shape how we teach. That means putting it in a form that is usable for schools to look at programs and individuals and work on developing these skills.
  2. The test is invalid, The questions are biased / do not assess what is intended.  Having a third party review the tests to determine validity would restore faith in this process.
  3. Technology has not caught up to use this test accurately (students struggling with typing, or schools not having the infrastructure to support online testing, glitches with wifi etc.  skewing results.
  4. This type of test is not the best metric to gauge what is happening.  

I do believe we need a metric outside the classroom to determine if students have the skills needed to be college ready. I am not convinced this is the only or best way to do that. Therefore I don’t think these results will tell us what we want to know about our children being prepared for the future.

The common core was designed to move away from content driven multiple choice tests. It would make sense that an evaluation of it should be more project based. Scaling that view could be challenging, but possible.  

Technology will be the key to implementing and organizing engaging projects. It will provide tools for students to collaborate, revise and learn. We need to do more than change testing standards. We need to rethink the way we assess our students. Technology is the way in which we can make this happen.

The Super School Project is ReImagining High School!
On / by Molly Anderson / in Novare

The Super School Project is ReImagining High School!

The Super School contest is asking us to rethink education to better prepare our children for college, career and life. It is an opportunity to bring together all the people involved in education: students, parents, educators, and business to design public high schools in order to help students be prepared for the future.

I am extremely excited because it:

  1. Mobilizes our nation, moving from East to West to start the dialogues of changing schools to better prepare students for college, career and life. 
  2. Provides strong criteria to guide the process, but not limit the solutions.
  3. Emphasizes using research to create diverse models for high schools.
  4. Funds 5 public schools to implement solutions.  


I think this contest is an excellent way to generate excitement and dialogue about solutions for education. So many times the focus is negative on what doesn’t work and this contest shifts it to what will work. It helps us focus on change in a positive way.  The focus is how to prepare students and engage them both in the contest and in education. It also provides $50 million to start the process and truly rethink education!

I am fired up about this and wanted to share it with you. This is an amazing example of Project Based Learning. An engaging challenge set in the “real world”. It has excellent criteria to guide the project and is extremely open ended.

This is the exact type of projects we support for classroom teachers. Where they can set up a project with criteria and students can create, edit, revise, and dialogue easily about it. Educators can guide and probe for deeper understanding and provide feedback connecting to narratives, standards or social emotional learning!

I’m going to be following this on TwitterThis will be fabulous to participate and watch! 

See you next week when we get our Mondays with Molly rolling again!



The Teacher Dashboard
On / by Molly Anderson / in Novare

Feature Release: The Teacher Dashboard!

Ok, this has got to be one of the coolest features we’ve released yet! Introducing… The Teacher Dashboard! Now, when teachers log into Novare, they will see their classroom dashboard. Not only are Groups easier to find when you are collaborating with other teachers, everything is now in one spot:

  • You classroom’s latest activities are updated in real time.
  • One click to the Groups button lets you see your classroom’s Groups.
  • One click to the Students button lets you see student details.
  • And just one click on the View Class Reports button lets you see your Reports as well as add narratives, goals and portfolios to complete your Report Cards!

We hope you enjoy seeing everything in one place and exploring your new dashboard.


5 Reasons I Loved 2015’s Lead3 Conference!
On / by Molly Anderson / in Novare

5 Reasons I Loved 2015’s Lead3 Conference!

It’s been a week and I’m still amped and motivated by the incredible speakers and wonderful energy from the The Lead 3.0 Symposium. My colleagues saw the flood of tweets and were interested in what this “Lead3” thing is all about… So here I am, ready to give you the low down on everything Lead3!

Lead3 is is a collaborative effort of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), Computer Using Educators, Inc. (CUE), and Technology Information Center for Administrative Leadership (TICAL) and is truly “for administrators, by administrators.”

3 organizations, 1 mission: Educational Leadership for the 21st century!

If that doesn’t sound amazing, here are my top 5 personal reasons why I wouldn’t miss next years’ Lead3 event:

#5 Practical ideas that I can start using NOW! One presentation was called the Leadership Slam. Every 2 minutes, a different leader got up and revealed some of their juiciest secrets and favorite resources. I loved Scratch, Tynker, Google Extensions, and Evernote. These quick tech tools are going to make my life easier. THANK YOU!

#4  Meeting energized, thoughtful people that are making a difference in education. I met many amazing visionaries focused on engaging students to work in the highest levels of thinking: creating with purpose. Following this theme, people discussed how to create systemic change. Everyone shared their knowledge. Why wouldn’t you want to be around this bunch? They have an intensity that is catching! I left that conference re-energized and so excited about the changes that are happening now in education.

#3 Develop a plan to make change happen. We may have heard these before, but it’s so important to be reminded of what works, and to demonstrate these successes with first hand accounts. We learned from real examples that have been played out in schools and districts across the country. It also reminds me to strive to do my best! One common thread was that change started from some one person… and we could be that someone! Here are some lessons I took away:

  • Start small and celebrate each small success.
  • Stretch teachers the same way you want to stretch students.
  • Provide time for reflection and revision regularly.
  • “It’s really hard to change things in education” is just an industry excuse! Change can happen, and happen fast.
  • Don’t waste human hours, start the change now!
  • Use technology as a tool to make it happen.

If you want more of these, here are 22 more!

#2  Remembering WHY we are educators. We got into this profession for a reason and it was not the long summer vacation! We care about children and we work hard to make a difference in children’s lives. Going to conferences like Lead 3.0, reminds us why we chose to work in the education field. It helps us focus on how to help students. Just like anything, being around like minded people refreshes your energy and reminds us of our passion. The entire weekend kicked off with an inspiring story by Jon Corippo. I personally loved the real life accounts of the changes Mariposa made in ONE year (!), you’d be astounded with what a district can accomplish with collaborative efforts!

#1 Understanding the challenges schools face to help develop the tools they need. I went to several presentations simply to listen and understand administrators’ needs. I learned what they were doing that worked and the challenges they face. This was monumental for me because it helps me develop the tools teachers and administrators need to make change sustainable. Understanding needs straight from the lips of our future leaders was priceless.

I’ll be there again next year, and I hope to see you there too!

Product Update-Global Assessment Now Possible in Checklists
On / by Molly Anderson / in Novare

Product Update: Global Assessment Now Possible in Checklists

The most precious resource teachers have is their time.  We value it and want to make tracking assessment easier.  Our new feature does just that. In the past teachers made checklists with students across the top and standards down the side.  They would have to select the star for each standard for each student and select the assessment level.

Teachers using our product, requested an easier way to assess.  If they knew all but one student in their group were proficient on the standard. they wanted to add the assessments with fewer clicks.  Now you can click on the star in the standard column to add the same assessment to all students.  Don’t worry, to change the one or two that need to be changed, simply click the blue x and put in the correct assessment.  The assessments won’t be added until you click the blue square that says save checklist.

Another way to save time is when one student has the same assessment for all (or most) of the standards, hover below that student’s name and the rubric will show.  Click on the one that correlates with their assessments.  Again, just click the blue x to change the few assessments that are different.  And when you are done click save checklist.

Product Update-Even More Customization with your Reports
On / by Molly Anderson / in Novare

Product Update: Even More Customization with your Reports

Novare works hard to let you decide how reports should look.  You can:

  • Create your own template.
  • Set grading periods.
  • Show grading terms side by side.
  • Determine if you want to show the latest assessment or up to 4 assessments.
  • And now when creating a template, you can choose the order of how the subjects will appear!

It’s very simple. All you have to do is drag and move subjects around so they appear in the order you prefer. Voila! We hope this tip helps you out the next time you are generating your reports!

Use iPhones, iPads or iPods to Upload Pictures and Videos!
On / by Molly Anderson / in Novare

Use iPhones, iPads or iPods to Upload Pictures and Videos!

Now you can use your iPhone to easily add pictures and videos on the fly!

Step 1. In your browser, go to and select login at the top right corner.

Step 2. After you log into the platform you will see the screenshot below > Tap Menu > then Tap Library.

Close the Menu by tapping it again.  Follow the same order for uploading from your laptop.  Touch add Artifacts > Then add files.


Don’t forget you can multi-select photos and videos!  Tap done and Start Upload.

Now the photos or videos will be in your library.

With One Click, Set Up Your Groups!
On / by Molly Anderson / in Novare

With One Click, Set Up Your Groups!

Now, with one click you can set up groups with checklists. These groups will include your entire class with your school’s standards for your grade level, organized by subject.  Simply go to Manage Learning and click on Setup Groups & Checklists.

This page lets you select subjects and customize the grade level of your groups.  Your subjects, grade level and class will already populate.  If no changes are needed, just click Proceed!

Once your groups are created, you can find them from the Manage Learning page by selecting Groups.   You can always customize, edit or create more groups. And ta da! You’re done!


Feature Release-Graphs for Checklists in Groups
On / by Molly Anderson / in Novare

Feature Release: Graphs for Checklists in Groups

Graphs for checklists in Groups:

For a quick look to see how your group is performing, click graph on any checklist.  Hover on the standards below for more details on what you assessed.  Hover over each section to see where students are performing.  This graph let’s you quickly determine who needs help and in what areas. It will also help with grouping for mini lessons.

Screen shot 2015-02-04 at 9.58.03 AM




Feature Release-Custom Report Cards
On / by Molly Anderson / in Novare, Novare News, Product Updates

Feature Release: Custom Report Cards

Customize your report card:

Now you can create a report card that fits your needs.  Select grading periods, showing assessments for different grading periods or just one.  Select showing most recent assessment or last four assessments.  Select specific standards to highlight, or choose all assessed standards.   Goals, Narratives and Student Insights are always options. They will show only if you add content.   To try this feature, click on Reports from the student page and go to templates.  You can see templates Novare provides, templates fellow teachers use, or create your own.