A Deeper View | Why ADV Tracking?

Why ADV Tracking?

How we Used to Teach


Teachers used to spend their time with students. They watched them, helped them, motivated them, …. and on a good day, they inspired them. Of course, they gave tests and kept records of assignments and progress. But the stakes were  low. Those tests and records were mostly to help the teacher understand what was happening, so they best help the child.




 Teaching worked like this for millenia. Teachers observed students and helped them learn.


How we Teach Now


Somewhere over the past 30 years, a combination of technology and public distrust created the view that the historical teaching process was too uncertain and unreliable. In many people’s minds, it needed to be more “objective” and “fair”. Also, teachers should be more “accountable”.



So we refined the standardized, multiple choice test into a powerful tool to achieve total consistency to the teaching process. Now, in many situations, it doesn’t matter what the teacher does during the year. The only thing that anyone sees are the class and individual results on the standardized test. Administrators see one number that makes decision-making easier. The public and politicians see a way to look inside the academic “black box”. Teachers study it because everyone else is looking at it and the teacher’s jobs depend on what the tests show.


Where Things are Going Now


It doesn’t take a Harvard study or a rocket scientist to know that virtually everyone is fed up with an educational system that is so heavily reliant on a single method of measurement. The public and their politicians demand improvement and are willing to spend money to get it.  The technology industry has sprung to the rescue with web apps, iPad apps, clickers, forms, …. a cornucopia of new tools to help teachers cope in a world of standardized tests.




 There’s just one problem. 


The vast majority of new tools are still tests. They are shorter tests. More frequent tests. Multimedia tests.  … But still tests. The teacher’s eyes and mind and judgment are still boxed out of the process. 


ADV Tracking is Different!


ADV Tracking was developed after years study in system design and years of research at the Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities (KIHd) at George Mason University. ADV Tracking System  embodies a system and model of continuous performance measurement based on expert observation




You never call the class to order to administer the ADV System test! Instead, you use ADV to record the small, day-to-day insights that every teacher gathers from their students. A task done without complaint. A skill applied correctly without hints or coaching. ADV System captures those insights easily and unobtrusively in the small moments that occur naturally in a teacher’s day:


  • as they watch a group as they work on a project
  • as they watch a student solve a problem on the board or in a workbook
  • as they listen to a student read or present their work
  • when they take a few minutes during recess
  • any other time they find 20 0r 30 seconds of free time in the class day
  • any time they think of something they forgot to record and add it after class or in the evening


Then ADV Tracking puts all of those individual insights into a stream of individual records that track learning and performance and behavior over an entire school year … or an entire school career. All of the day-to-day teacher insights and observations are stored, tracked, summarized and graphed. 


Without administering a single multiple-choice test!


But … But …


  • It must take a lot of extra work – No. It just takes a few seconds to press a couple of keys on an iPhone, iPad, Android phone or web page.
  • It must be hard to organize – No. ADV Tracking is designed to be flexible and opportunistic. Just record student actions whenever they happen. 
  • It sounds pretty subjective – No. ADV Tracking has a sound, well structured measurement model … that just happens to be flexible and easy-to-use.
  • It sounds pretty technical – No. If you can learn the buttons on two smartphone pages, you can use ADV Tracking. Facebook is much, much harder.
  • It sounds expensive – No. Everything runs “in the cloud”. The cost per student per year is surprisingly low.