Middle School

Middle schools have their own unique needs, such as diverse master schedules, more students and classes for each teacher, and variability in student needs. Middle school students are also unique, and motivating them can sometimes feel extra challenging, particularly at this point in the school year. That’s why you need to implement every program, including i-Ready, with a middle school “twist.”

Check out the strategies that have helped i-Ready have a positive impact on so many middle school students, and use the resources to bring it to life for yours. Short on time? Download this PDF and check out the resources marked with an asterisk below first.

Get tips for teachers >>

Get tips for leaders >>


Tips for Teachers

Investing students in their learning is essential for supporting student growth and success. Below are best practices and resources to help foster engagement and student ownership.

Get Student Buy-In

Students need to understand the relevance of the Diagnostic assessment and Online Instruction to reap the full benefits of the program. i-Ready Online Instruction provides a personalized learning path that addresses students’ individual needs. Middle school students should understand why this material is important to their growth and why they should invest their full effort in the lessons. 

Possible prompts for students: How does this lesson support your short-term and/or long-term goals? How can Online Instruction help support your individual growth and your progress toward achieving your goals?


Set Relevant Goals

Help students set short-term and long-term goals that are personally relevant. Support students in reflection and discussion around their data to help them understand their areas of strength and areas for growth. Facilitating these activities in whole group and one-on-one settings informs students that you are part of their learning team and provides them with clearer action steps toward their goals.

Possible prompts for students: What is a long-term goal you have? How does your work in this class help you make progress toward that goal? What is one area of i-Ready that you’ll reflect on to support your growth?


Make It Social and Celebrate Growth

For many students, feeling a sense of belonging within a larger community is important; this is particularly true for middle school students. Teachers can build a classroom learning community by tracking class progress, engaging students in data reflection and goal setting, and celebrating class and individual goals. Consider asking how students want to be celebrated and create a system to match.

Possible prompts for students: What’s one way we can support each other toward achieving our goals? How can we keep each other accountable in reaching our goals? How do you want to be recognized for your growth? How should we celebrate our class when we reach our goals?


  • Ideas from fellow educators


Help Students Self-Reflect and Own Their Learning

Encouraging students to track their data allows for self-reflection and refinement of learning strategies. When students observe an area for growth, they should reflect on the learning strategies they are using and change those that are not working. Consider implementing journals, data folders, tracking sheets, or class data walls so students can track their data, reflect on learning strategies, and own their learning.

Possible prompts for students: How do you learn best? What are some strategies you use to help you learn new concepts? How are you reflecting on and refining the strategies you use to learn?


Use Data Effectively to Create Small Groups and Plan Differentiated Instruction

Data from the i-Ready Diagnostic and Online Instruction can help you differentiate instruction to meet all students’ needs. Establish a method for planning and utilizing the resources available in Tools for Instruction and Teacher Toolbox (if applicable) to prepare for small group instruction, individualized instruction, and data chats.



Tips for Leaders

The tips and resources below will help support your middle school implementation of i-Ready.

Identify Clear Implementation Owners

The efforts of a dedicated middle school program owner, or “champion,” can turn the unique needs of middle schools into successes. Determine the building champion to support your implementation based on your faculty’s structure (i.e. grade level, department, or intervention block). Use the Implementation Timeline for Champions for guidance and resources matched to i-Ready milestones throughout the year.


Schedule Time for Small Group Teacher-Led Instruction and iReady Online Instruction

One of the first steps in successful implementations is establishing instructional schedules that allow for small group teacher-led instruction and for 45 minutes of i-Ready Online Instruction per subject per week. Middle school scheduling can be particularly complex and varied, so finding time to integrate programs like i-Ready can be challenging. By making a few adjustments, educators can incorporate small group instruction and i-Ready Online Instruction into their reading or mathematics classroom schedules, whether they are organized in a period, block, or intervention format.


Coordinate Teacher Collaboration

The i-Ready Diagnostic and Online Instruction data are extremely powerful and can help teachers differentiate instruction. For middle school teachers who manage many students across multiple classes, planning small group instruction can be particularly challenging. By coordinating content and/or grade-level collaboration meetings among teachers, you support the data analysis and lesson planning necessary for differentiated instruction.


Support Teachers in Engaging Students

Engaging students in their learning is a critical step in supporting student growth and success. As a school leader, it’s important to set the tone and establish expectations for engagement at your school. Creating a schoolwide plan with the input of teachers and students is a great first step. Support teachers in implementing key resources and strategies, such as data trackers, data chats, goal setting with students, and classwide incentive systems. You can provide this support during PLC meetings, coaching sessions, and other communication with staff.


Communicate with Families

Students can share information about i-Ready Assessments and progress with their families. Involving families broadens students’ support network and having students explain their data fosters greater ownership of their learning. When students explain their work, goals, and progress to a receptive audience, it reinforces the importance of that information. Consider scheduling conferences, phone calls, and class assignments in which students are asked to have and/or lead these discussions. 


Recommended Resources


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