Why Choose Pivot Assessments for the 2020-2021 School Year

Why Choose Pivot Assessments for the 2020-2021 School Year

With so many formative assessment options available, how do you know which one is best for students, teachers, and administrators? After all, the needs for each of these stakeholders vary considerably. As you and your team make an important decision about which program you will select using funds from Indiana’s formative assessment grant, I hope that you’ll carefully consider our solution, Pivot Assessments.

Computer-Adaptive vs. Fixed-Form Assessments

Many formative (interim) assessment programs, including those provided by NWEA and STAR, are computer-adaptive. While this approach has clear benefits for a set of specific purposes, teachers have no control over the items students will see. In other words, teachers can’t answer a fundamental question using a computer-adaptive tool: Have students learned the specific skills I’ve taught?

A fixed-form assessment, like Pivot Assessments, allows teachers and other curriculum leaders to determine precisely which standards will be measured. This means that students, teachers, and administrators can have focused conversations on targeted Indiana standards, item types, and individual questions. If the ultimate goal of a benchmark (interim) assessment is to determine if what’s been taught has been mastered, a fixed-form assessment provides the most efficient way to answer this question for all students.

For a more detailed analysis of the pros and cons of computer-adaptive and fixed-form assessments, please check out this blog post.

Pre-Built, Customizable Benchmarks

While teachers and curriculum directors are capable of assembling their own benchmarks, a strong formative assessment program should include pre-built exams. Even better, they should be customizable so that the unique needs of each school/district can be reflected in the tests that students take. That’s why Pivot Assessments includes pre-built benchmarks in ELA and math in grades K-12 that are completely customizable. We even publish the test blueprints to make the customization process as easy as possible.

How can Pivot Assessments benchmarks be customized?

  • Questions can be removed if they don’t align to standards that have been taught yet.
  • Questions can be added from the item bank (more on that in a moment) to ensure that targeted standards show up on the test.
  • The order of questions can be changed to facilitate the ideal testing experience. For example, maybe easier questions should be at the beginning. Or perhaps one passage should come before another. The choice is yours.

80,000+ Items

Pivot Assessments includes more than 80,000 items in ELA, math, social studies, and science! This is perhaps the most significant advantage of choosing Pivot Assessments over another program. By and large, teachers are not trained as professional assessment writers, and it’s incredibly challenging to write high-quality test questions. Each item in the Pivot Assessments bank has gone through at least three rounds of review. Plus, every question is tied to important information such as standards alignment, rigor designation (e.g., depth of knowledge and Bloom’s taxonomy), and difficulty.

Pivot Inspect Item Bank

What are good ways to leverage this item bank?

  • Build quizzes and tests. By using the item bank, questions are likely to be consistently excellent, and teachers will save dozens of hours previously spent creating and grading tests.
  • Build complimentary assessment experiences. Teachers rightly want to ensure that students have mastered the content they spent weeks covering in class. For example, a teacher may want to ensure that students have a firm grasp of a novel’s characters, theme, plot, and symbolism. Questions aligned to these topics are not available in Pivot Assessments, but a teacher can build a short, complimentary assessment experience to accompany the more traditional content-based exam. In other words, teachers can use the Pivot Assessments item bank to see what students are able to do on the skills taught during the unit using a method similar to what might appear on ILEARN or ISTEP.
  • Bring social studies and science colleagues into the conversation. Since Pivot Assessments includes items for these subjects, teachers from the four main content areas can collaborate on test design and practices as well as data analysis protocols.


Pivot Assessments offers several reports, including Standards Mastery, Item Level Analysis, and Review and Reteach. By giving teachers and administrators access to these reports immediately after a student’s test submission, educators can begin planning their responses right away.

Standards Mastery

The Standards Mastery report provides information on class-level and individual standards mastery. For each standard assessed on the selected assessment(s), an average of the student’s cumulative performance is displayed. Hovering over a cell will also reveal the number of questions used to calculate the average. We recommend using this report to (a) identify opportunities for individual remediation, (b) group students strategically for future instructional activities, and (c) evaluate which skills should be retaught prior to a follow-up assessment opportunity.

Standards Mastery

Item Level Analysis

The Item Level Analysis report provides details about the class and individual performance on each item on a selected assessment. We recommend using this report to determine which items were problematic for a significant number of students. Using this information, consider small group or whole group reteaching. Then, use the Pivot Assessments item bank to craft a short formative assessment on the same skill(s) to reassess student proficiency.

Item Level Analysis

Review and Reteach

The Review and Reteach report provides insights into why students likely selected wrong answers. In other words, distractor rationales are included for most item types. Uncovering the misconceptions that are impacting student achievement is the goal of this report. We recommend using this report to plan small group remediation that directly addresses misconceptions and common errors. Consider using the Pivot Assessments item bank to craft short formative assessments on target skills to reassess student proficiency.

Review and Reteach

Data Warehouse

When Pivot Assessments is purchased with Indiana’s formative assessment grant, we include our Data Warehouse. Since formative assessment results are only part of a student’s data story, we want to make it as easy as possible to analyze multiple sources. With Pivot’s Data Warehouse, you can review IREAD-3, ISTEP+, ILEARN, PSAT, SAT, ACT, CogAT, WIDA, and other assessment results within the same platform.

If your school hasn’t implemented a data warehouse yet, consider these four reasons why it should.

Professional Development

Purchasing Pivot Assessments with Indiana’s formative assessment grant includes two regional in-person training sessions, unlimited live and recorded webinars, access to our knowledge base, and a dedicated account manager. As an Indiana-based company, we’re fully committed to your success.


What’s Next?

If you’re interested in learning more about Pivot Assessments, let’s chat. Please email Amy Baumert at abaumert@five-startech.com or pick a time that’s best for you. I would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your vision for assessment and how Pivot Assessments might empower your team to reach its goals.

Add Comment