Creating a Culture of Achievement and Rigor through Formative Assessment & Effective Feedback

Clayton County Public Schools | Jonesboro, GA


Key Takeaways:

  • The number of CCPS students scoring a 5 or higher* on AP® English free response questions (FRQs) increased 16 percentage points in just five months from Sept 2018 to January 2019, while the number of students scoring 3 or lower decreased by 50%.

  • With Graide Network support, CCPS teachers reallocated over 800 hours of grading and feedback time into data analysis, lesson planning, and professional development.

  • 84% of CCPS students reported an increase in metacognition and 86% reported an increase in engagement and motivation as a result of personalized feedback reports.

  • In total, students have received over 22,000 pieces of individualized feedback on practice AP FRQs and 79% of students report more meaningful conversation with their teacher using feedback reports.

*Scores of 5+ on AP® English FRQs correspond to scores of 3 or higher on the AP® exam. These scores make students eligible for college credit.


From Sept 2018 to Jan 2019, the number of students scoring 3 or lower has decreased by 50% and scores of 5 or higher have jumped 16%.



The Challenge

Clayton County Public Schools is aiming to redefine high academic expectations and ensure that all students graduate as productive, responsible citizens in the twenty-first century. The district has improved high school graduation rates by over 18 percentage points since 2015 but still finds that less than 40% of its high school graduates enroll in four-year colleges. Moreover, over 40% of students that do attend four-year colleges require remedial support.

The district has redefined high expectations with five key responsibilities for educators:

  1. Defining and communicating what we expect students to learn, know, understand, and demonstrate (curriculum)

  2. Knowing how to teach so all students learn what we expect them to learn, know, understand, and demonstrate (instruction)

  3. Knowing what and when students have learned (assessment)

  4. Knowing how we will respond to students when they have or have not learned (intervention and support)

  5. Allocating and using resources wisely, equitably, and effectively

For Clayton County, having high expectations also means offering rigorous, college-prep courses in which students have the opportunity to demonstrate college readiness. With AP® and pre-AP® course offerings and student enrollment increasing significantly every year, the district added key supports from the National Math and Science Initiative and The Graide Network during the 2018-19 school year.




CCPS partnered with the National Math and Science Initiative and The Graide Network to ensure teachers have the resources, support, and time they need to accomplish the district’s ambitious goals. Key elements of the partnership include: formative assessment pathways, grading and feedback services, and data driven cycles focussed on eight core AP® courses in English, Math, and Science.

Focus AP® Courses

AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Language and Composition, AP Literature and Composition, AP Statistics, and AP Physics.

Formative Assessment Pathways

Each AP® course has a series of 7 formative assessments comprised of College Board released AP® questions. The questions cover major skills and unit concepts within the AP® curriculum. Assessments are administered by teachers in two-week windows from September through May.

Coordinated assessment windows helped facilitate content PLCs and 1:1 instructional coaching

Coordinated assessment windows helped facilitate content PLCs and 1:1 instructional coaching

Data-Driven Cycles

For each assessment, teachers upload their student work to The Graide Network platform. After only 3 days, they receive a detailed class summary report and each student receives a personalized feedback report.  Teachers take time to analyze the qualitative and quantitative data and use the reports to conference with students, guide and facilitate student revisions, and adjust their instruction based on individual and class needs.


The Results

Academic data is carefully monitored throughout the school year to evaluate trends in student performance on AP® FRQs by all levels of stakeholders including the district office, school leaders, curriculum coordinators, teachers, and students themselves.

Student Survey Results

In addition to academic data, students completed anonymous surveys to measure the impact of using Graide Network reports on their mindsets and habits.

I would recommend The Graide Network to another student because the people that grade your work find strengths and weaknesses in your work so you know exactly what you need to improve.
— Clayton County AP student

Teacher Feedback and Reviews

Clayton County teachers are using Graide Network reports throughout the data cycle including public data walls in classrooms, as part of student portfolios, and in their one-on-one instructional coaching meetings.  Teachers review their Graiders for accuracy, professionalism, and quality after each assignment and share their feedback on how the reports are impacting their instruction. Here are some of their reviews and examples of their data analysis in action.


“Tara's feedback helped me to narrow the focus of my instruction for the upcoming week. She did a great job celebrating the strengths of my students. That helped my students who scored in the lower range to feel some confidence. My students were also able to resubmit their essays to me based on the feedback they received.”  

- Ms. Ogunlusi, Riverdale HS,
AP English Language

student wor.jpg
You were extremely specific on areas of strengths and weaknesses for my students for this assignment. This will allow me to gear my instruction to target the students’ weaknesses to improve their graphing and analyzing data skills.”
— Ms. Isdell, Martha Stillwell HS, AP Biology

“The students and I liked how the graider gave individual feedback for each question to each student. They were able to look at their feedback and their question sheet and see exactly where they went wrong and how to fix it.”  - Ms. Young, Forest Park HS, AP Statistics


Tremendous Growth in Free Response Scores

AP® English scores for Clayton County students demonstrated growth in only five months. On average, students scored increased 0.79 points on the 9-point AP® English essay scale.

The Graide Network helps us continue our number one goal of increasing student achievement.
— Kristie Heath, CCPS K-12 Gifted Coordinator


Clayton County Public Schools leverages The Graide Network to create a culture of achievement in their AP® courses. The partnership allows teachers to assign more formative assessments for students due to the time-saving nature of Graiders providing unbiased scoring and feedback for students.

Teachers are able to use Graide Network reports to adjust their instruction and meet with students to go over their strengths and areas of growth. Extra practice and personalized feedback boost students’ confidence and provide clarity on how they can access the rigorous content of an AP® exam.

Clayton County Public Schools will continue to use The Graide Network throughout the school year and expect to see significantly improved pass rates on AP® exams.