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Growing Pains: Teachers Using and Learning to Use IDMS IDMS FOS

Underwood, Jody S.; Zapata-Rivera, Diego; VanWinkle, Waverely Hester
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Instructional Data Management System (IDMS), Focus on Standards (FOS), User-Interface Design, Teachers, Formative Assessment, Score Reports, Focus Group


We report on the results of two focus groups held the Snowline, CA, school district on November 14-15, 2005. The goals were to learn about the ways that teachers use Instructional Data Management System™ (IDMS®) and Focus on Standards™ (FOS™), which adds professional development and curriculum planning to the IDMS item bank and assessments, and to learn about how teachers understand the score reports that IDMS provides them. The first focus group was held with teachers who interact online with IDMS (IDMS users), and the second was held with teachers who do not use IDMS themselves but who receive IDMS reports of student performance (report readers). This report includes a list of issues and recommendations based on our findings. The most important finding was that IDMS could be greatly improved if its delivery mechanisms and interface were designed to reach the different user types according to their needs. The user types we identified include the following: (a) teachers who have little experience accessing databases and working with computers (novice users), (b) teachers with either more computer experience or a desire to drill down and explore data (tech-ready users), and (c) teachers who want access to everything IDMS has to offer (tech-savvy users).

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