Scholastic, Inc.

Next Step Guided Reading

  • Art Direction
  • Prototyping
  • UI Design
  • UX Design

The Next Step Guided Reading Assessment (NSGRA) is Scholastic’s four-step process for helping teachers pinpoint students' reading levels. This digital product was created as a companion to print materials so that teachers could easily enter and analyze student data.

  • Art Direction
  • Prototyping
  • UI Design
  • UX Design

The Next Step Guided Reading Assessment is a flagship product from Scholastic Inc, which guides teachers to make data-driven instructional decisions that harness the power of guided reading to move students toward increasingly complex texts. In includes rigorous assessments for grades K through 6, a detailed view of the reports of those assessments, an interactive group section, and online resources.

This is an online product of a printed version, for teachers to more easily be able to evaluate, compare, and assess the reading abilities of their students.

I was the lead product designer for this product.

Approach and Goals

Our goal was to be sure the digital version of this popular assessment tool would serve the teachers well, and be as easy as possible to use. Teachers have incredibly demanding schedules, and we want their time with the product spent using it to serve them well, not figuring out how it works.

Working from a survey to understand the current perception and usage of the printed NSGRA product, we focused on specific features teachers wanted: easily sharable individual reports, tablet first design for easy use in the classroom, and painless data entry for the student assessments.

The survey found that often teachers didn’t realize there was a digital companion to the product. Despite the fact that most users are not using the product online, they use the print version several times a year. 88% of users surveyed assessed students’ reading levels 3 or 4 times per year.

Making it Easy: Assessments

The goal of the product is to give a four-step assessment to each student, three times a year. This can be arduous, paper heavy work, so the goal was to make this as painless as possible. The survey indicated that teachers will often input the whole class’ information for step 1, and then everyone’s step 2 information, rather than steps 1 through 4 for each individual. We designed the assessment to be a familiar setup of the print materials, but with a sticky nav bar at the top to keep track of which student was being assessed, as well as a quick “next student” button. The dropdown with the class roster also easily allows teachers to jump between students and included a ‘complete’ state to show which student already is done.

Making it Useful: Interactive Reports

An incredible amount of data is created by the assessments given to each class of students up to three times a year. We needed a way of showing the rich information with quick visual comprehension. The information needs to show both class-wide trends and individual outliers over three time periods. We chose a persistent class roster on the left that interacts with the data visualizations on the right. Throughout the deep reporting system, the roster allows the user to easily choose to show individual data and comparative data within the class.

We also created a highly detailed student report for the teachers to share with parents, administrators, and other teachers, as found through the survey. All student-related data the teacher had entered would appear in the individual report, as well as links to any documents the teacher had uploaded. The print-friendly design features key information at the top, such as the student reading level, as well as clear share buttons.

New Features: Grouping

A digital companion product of an existing print tool can’t simply stop at what is currently offered. We wanted to give teachers a clear incentive to engage with the digital product, and offer them something the print version could not. With the assessment data compiled in an interactive roster, we gave the teachers a way to create customized groups. They can base them on any aspect of the student data, and change them at any time. They simply drag the student card from the roster to a group area, and name it.