Resource Update: Achieve3000’s Makeover

Have you seen Achieve3000’s new look? Read this post for details and helpful resources to catch up!

When teachers log into Achieve3000 with the start of the new school year, they may be surprised at the service’s new look. The designers at Achieve have rolled out improvements that will ease the user interface, provide richer data, and make grading more efficient. Here’s a breakdown:

  • The user interface is new. A left sidebar provides access to the functions you knew from before. Check out this pdf or watch the video above for a tour. It’s pretty easy once you get the basic layout.
  • Data for students now includes percentile ranks.
  • “The Achieve3000 Hub” is a new location for online PD and tips.
  • More state test prep material has been added.
  • Easier grading of Thought Questions in the system results in fewer clicks.

This document discusses all of the updates.

Resource Introduction: Achieve3000

Welcome to the most powerful text-leveling resource, Achieve3000!

What is it?

Achieve3000 is a text leveler, basically. That means the service takes text and re-writes it at different Lexile difficulty levels for readers of different proficiencies. So, if one student reads at a third grade level, and another reads at a sixth grade level, they can read the same basic content, but expressed with vocabulary and sentence structures that fit their reading abilities. This leveling enables teachers to provide content that does not underwhelm or overwhelm readers.

But, more than that, Achieve3000 offers an incredibly rich system to support the basic text leveling service. Sure, it provides comprehension questions, writing prompts, project and lesson ideas, and more, but here are some truly unique offerings:

  • System diagnostics and monitoring that automatically determine a user’s reading proficiency and raises or lowers the text difficulty accordingly without the need for the teacher to do so.
  • Reading levels of texts ranging from the earliest levels of elementary to the end of high school.
  • Access to a wide range of data on student usage and performance, including standards-based reports.
  • Test prep lessons that incorporate paired texts and next generation-style questions.

Achieve3000 draws its content from the Associated Press and updates it frequently. The only major drawback to the service is the recency of content and its tendency to address conflict-oriented issues. Achieve3000 avoids serious conflict-based content.

How can I use it?

Achieve3000 is a reading program, so it should be used primarily to build reading skills connected to classroom content standards. Teachers using the content as part of instruction can use it to springboard into other learning activities or directly address reading skills as discreet and not connected to other content.

Check out this SDL post for details on instructional strategies and read the teacher showcases that explore lessons in our classrooms. Also, consider reading the SDL article series of differentiation, which addresses the principles underlying differentiation in reading. It addresses Achieve3000 specifically as well.

Who’s using it?

Sylvania Schools advised the use of Achieve3000 in classes across all content areas in grades 6-12 in the 2015-2016 school year. That means many teachers are using it with varying degrees of intensity. For extra help, refer to these experts:

At McCord, Kaitlin Sibert and Holly Nartker

At Arbor Hills, Jamie Holley and Sarah Benard

At Southview, Sam Stevens and Abbey Cappel

At Northview, Bethann Seifert and Jessie Minard

This video introduces the student experience for TeenBiz3000, the Achieve3000 product for junior high. High schools use Empower3000, which is basically the same.

Resource Links

Achieve3000 YouTube Channel

All SDL Posts on Achieve3000

Teacher Showcase: More Achieve3000 Success with Reading, Physical Education, and Financial Management

The spring round of Achieve3000 model lesson professional development showcased literacy in reading, physical education, and business classes.

Following on the success of January’s model lesson professional development, more teachers had the opportunity to watch their peers deliver authentic lessons using Achieve3000 as a resource. These models followed the basic principles of solid Achieve lesson planning: student collaboration and engagement, teacher ownership of the resource, and authentic standards alignment. Read about the lessons and check out the plans the detail their flow!


Brittany Robbins

Integrated Physical Education, Grade 7 at McCord Junior High School

Abbey Stephens, co-teaching with Brittany Robbins, discusses step goals with a group of students.

Brittany wanted her seventh graders to learn how fitness goals create an impact on physical activity. The approach? Gather the students in the gym, give them goals and pedometers, make them walk, and then make them reflect on the results. Achieve3000 added a literacy level to the lesson when the students read an article regarding adult use of pedometers, thus providing an authentic connection to non-school behavior. The lesson was not only a model in embedding literacy smoothly, but also showed incredible ability to keep students on task and reflecting with no re-direction.

A student takes a moment’s break from walking to read about others using pedometers.

Check out Brittany’s lesson plan and materials here!

Focus Article: “Steps to Good Health”

Jerry Bascuk

Financial Management, Grade 11 at Southview High School

Jerry Bascuk discusses a student’s work in comparing article and text.

Jerry had recently completed the instruction of a unit in sensible and responsible financial behavior, including considerations like saving vs. spending, balancing wants and needs, and planning for the future. To review this material, students read an article in Achieve3000 that addressed those issues, and then Jerry asked them to make explicit connections between the article’s statements and the textbook’s statements. Students compiled compared evidence on a chart and then discussed the concept’s impact on their personal lives and behavior. Collaborative discussion led to easy review and an effective reflection on the concepts Jerry wanted to teach.

Jerry’s students partner to explore the text for supporting evidence.

Check out Jerry’s lesson plan and materials here!

Focus Article: “Money Saving Tips for Teens”

Jamie Holley

Reading Enrichment, Grades 7 and 8 at Arbor Hills Junior High School

Jamie Holley’s student practice a partnered reading strategy they often use to support each other in literacy.

Jamie had noticed that her students were not quite mastering the skills of making inferences or citing evidence, so she designed an Achieve-based lesson to support that skill. Students selected a pair of articles exploring the importance of certain historical figures, such as Mahatma Ghandi. Then, they completed a simple Venn diagram with article evidence. Finally, they made predictions on how these historical figures would address today’s challenges, with the prediction supported by evidence from the article.

A student completes a Venn diagram to analyze historical figures in two Achieve articles.

Check out Jamie’s lesson plan and materials here!

Focus Article: Several selections possible; see lesson plan above for the list

Teacher Showcase: Achieve-Driven Science with Sibert, Root, and Nedrow

Read about how Kaitlin Sibert, Connie Root, and Lynn Nedrow brough differentiated literacy into their science classrooms for leaf identification and deep sea exploration!

As Sylvania students and teachers coasted into the last week of school before spring break, you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief gathering for release. But, as plans for spending that break drowned out thoughts of anything else from almost everyone, McCord’s Kaitlin Sibert and Connie Root and Timberstone’s Lynn Nedrow were thinking about the most creative ways to merge science, technology, and literacy. The result? Two of the best examples of Achieve3000-based lessons seen this year.

Kaitlin, having modeled authentic Achieve lesson planning before, was perusing its articles for inspiration when she came across “What’s that Tree? A New Way to See,” a report on Columbia University’s LeafSnap, an app that identifies tree species by image. Kaitlin’s sixth grade science students were learning binomial classification at the time, so she discussed the article with fellow sixth grade teacher Connie Root and developed a tech-enhanced lesson that focused on science standards with embedded literacy practice.

Kaitlin Sibert’s students read the Achieve3000 article and answer questions on a separate worksheet.

And it worked beautifully. Students were told in advance to bring their iPhones or iPads to class (Sorry, Google fans; the app is not available for Android) and Kaitlin and Connie instructed them to begin the download first thing. While the download progressed, students read the article individually and answered two assessment questions on an accompanying paper worksheet. Afterward, students were organized by groups (with at least one member successfully downloading LeafSnap) and set loose on stations set up around the room. Each station provided a sample leaf on a white piece of paper, ready for photographing. Students snapped the picture through LeafSnap, which provided three possible trees for identification. The students discussed the possibilities as a group and defended their choice on which one it actually was.

Kaitlin Sibert’s students read the Achieve3000 article and answer questions on a separate worksheet.

So what did the students think? “They loved it. They absolutely loved it,” said Connie. “They wanted to do it more the next day.” Connie noted some challenges she and Kaitlin experienced with the lesson (No Android option; dead leaves as specimens due to the season), but she was eager to try it again, regardless. Most importantly, she told the story of one student who then downloaded a bird identification app that performed a comparable task. “And we’re working with all the domains, so he was extending what we were doing,” Connie notes. In her mind and Kaitlin’s the lesson was a simple success, and McCord Principal Amanda Ogren agreed. After watching the lesson in action, Amanda wrote in her weekly newsletter that the lesson was “the true definition of infusing technology and differentiation!”

More student collaborate on leaf identification.

But that magic was not just happening at McCord. Lynn Nedrow was accomplishing the same exemplary teaching in her seventh grade science class at Timberstone. Lynn’s students were studying biomes, and she was able to use Achieve’s article “A Strange World, Right Here on Earth” to develop a lesson that included group collaboration, individual reading differentiation, independent research, and informal presentation.

Lynn Nedrow’s students collaborate.

The Achieve article explores biomes in the deep seas and the data released from scientists that had conducted a ten-year census of the life found there. In reading the article, Lynn saw an opportunity to reinforce her students’ understanding of the general concept of a biome as well as the characteristics of specific biomes. It was an opportunity that led to students filling their last class period before break with discussion and poster-making.

For the lesson, students gathered into five groups, but began by reading the article individually. Then, they answered one question regarding the science concepts, but each group received a different question, such as group 5’s question: “What are the characteristics of a saltwater (marine) biome?” Students collaborated on an answer to this question on the accompanying paper worksheet. The group split into individuals again for the next task, Internet research, where they answered that question again with support from a reliable online source. Next, as a group, students compiled their new answers and supporting citations on a single poster to be displayed throughout Lynn’s classroom. The final result was a gallery of information that displayed exhaustive and well-researched answered to the biome questions.

A student searches for extra information to add to the Achieve information.

Lynn was doing quite a lot with this lesson in integrating science standards, technology, and literacy, but one of the most interesting literacy techniques she wove into the lesson was stretch. Stretch happens when a student reads a text at their proficiency level, but then moves onto a text exploring the same subject at a higher level. Once grounded in the content at their proficiency level, they should be better able to read the text at a higher level. The students that read about biomes at a fourth grade level, for instance, would be better prepared for reading about biomes from an Internet source written at a ninth grade level. Lynn provided students with that support so they could not only master the science concepts, but master more challenging reading material presenting those concepts as well.

Like Kaitlin and Connie, Lynn felt that the lesson went well. Already having adopted Achieve before the biome lesson, she feels more comfortable than the average teacher in using it, and her lesson’s ability to use the differentiation resource in an engaging and effective instruction, not merely as a break from real work, showed that. All three teachers continue to lead an ever-growing core of teachers in Sylvania Schools that creatively own differentiated, standards-based instruction with innovative technological resources. And from watching them teach these masterful lessons, you’d think there was nothing to it!

Lynn’s students report on their research through a poster display.

Teacher Showcase: Authentic Achieve3000 Lessons from Northview and Southview

Check out the model lessons from teachers showing their fellow department members Achieve3000-based lessons!

Throughout January, teachers from the social studies, science, and ELA departments at both Northview and Southview gave up half of their day to watch a fellow teacher implement a lesson using Achieve3000. Afterward, those teachers discussed that lesson and others and explored the benefits, limitations, and functions of the reading differentiation service. Now, you can benefit from those model lessons, too!

English Language Arts

Miscreant teenagers, giant bugs, gender segregation, and Facebook!

Amy Schloegl monitors students applying the concept of absurdity in their graphic organizers.

ELA teachers enjoyed a range of different lessons through the exemplary teaching of four teacher leaders. Check these out!

  • Amy Schloegl (Northview) discussed the concept of absurdity in literature through Greek myth, Kafka, Achieve3000, and Honey Boo-Boo with sophomores. Link
  • Dan Greenberg and Megan Houts (Southview) applied the three claims of rhetoric to a debate over police use of social media to monitor gang behavior with sophomores. Link
  • Sam Stevens (Southview) explored Holden Caulfield’s sleep deprivation in Catcher in the Rye with juniors. Link
  • BethAnn Seifert and Jessie Minard (Northview) stimulatied spontaneous debate over the issue of single-gender classrooms with seniors. Link
Seifert-Minard A3000.jpg
Seniors in BethAnn Seifert and Jessie Minard’s class collaborate in research and planning for their debate.


Social Studies

Shots are fired and fallen soldiers are remembered!

Katy Creecy helps student groups as they collaborate on article analysis and mapping.

Social studies teachers explored literacy at multiple levels with these two models. Check them out!

  • Kat Creecy (Southview) helped her freshmen see the under-recognized role of colonist soldiers in World War One through Achieve3000 and Google My Maps. Link
  • Alex Clarkson (District) introduced sophomore American History students to AIR testing through Achieve3000’s bonus lesson resources for test preparation. Link
The simple, yet powerful Google My Maps provides an added dimension to student literacy.


Wondering how much wolves have in common with dogs and whether to turn that iPod down?

Nelson A3000.jpg
Kathryn Nelson uses a physical model of the human ear to demonstrate how sound travels to our brains.

Science teachers watched informational text form the basis of science standard teaching and review. Check what they did!

  • Kathryn Nelson (Northview) taught freshmen about waves, energy, and hearing loss with SmartBoard, guitar, giant ear, and Achieve3000. Link
  • Abbey Cappel (Southview) helped sophomores review genetics concepts through application to real world concerns expressed in Achieve3000 articles. Link
A whiteboard from one of Abbey Cappel’s student groups

Teacher Showcase: Solving Problems through Achieve3000 with Jamie Holley

Learn how Achieve3000 becomes a collaborative, authentic learning experience in the hands of Arbor Hills’ Jamie Holley!

Someone at a party introduces you to your mother’s only sister’s husband’s sister-in-law. He has no brothers. What do you call this lady?

That’s the question that greets Arbor Hills students walking into Jamie Holley’s fourth period Reading 7 class. It’s a bell ringer that gives the students something to focus on and be entertained by as they set up for class, and it works remarkably well. I find myself focused in the time it takes me to work out the problem. Jamie’s students glance at the problem on the SmartBoard as they gather their materials and ready themselves for the lesson.

Today, Jamie is moving students from that little bell ringer problem to the exploration of problem/solution as a mode of writing and discussion. Having jumped enthusiastically into Achieve3000 last year during its piloting at Arbor Hills, Jamie is an expert at using its data to understand the needs of her students. In this case, she has seen that they do not perform well when tasked with understanding problem/solution writings. The data has driven her to develop a small project on the thinking mode, relying on material from Achieve to form the basis. That material, however, does not dominate the assignment. Jamie’s expert teaching does.

The class starts as many do these days. Students see a Google Slides presentation on the board, and they follow along through simultaneous access on their Chromebooks. Students sit in partnerships as they follow along, and they soon rely on those partners for a warm-up activity. The warm-up requires them to read a short paragraph describing a problem with eel populations. The partners work together to answer some simple problem/solution questions, such as signal words and responsible parties. Student collaboration gets going, and Jamie de-briefs their work after a few minutes.

Students collaborate on the warm-up activity exploring a problem with eels.

The next stage brings Achieve into the equation, but in a way that truly unlocks the resource’s potential. Partnerships are assigned one of two articles: “No Land? No Problem!” or “No Water? No Problem!” The students read the article to each other aloud, trading off paragraph to paragraph. We all know that these readings are leveled, but Jamie has partnered students according to reading proficiency, ensuring that they are reading identical or nearly-identical articles to each other. As they read, students use the “Setting the Purpose” annotation blanks offered in Achieve (referred to in class as the “circle things”) to note the problem and solution in each article. Finally, they answer the activity questions. This process of partnered reading leads to an environment of high productivity and low stress. Students gain strength from the partnered collaboration, but never draw off task in any significant way. Jamie’s lack of controlling direction throughout the process demonstrates her skill in setting the tone in her classroom.

The next stage of the process further capitalizes on collaboration. Partnerships that have explored the “No Land?” article “teach” it to the “No Water?” group, and then that group teaches the first their article. All along, Jamie’s direction focuses students on key concepts in text structure, such as signal words and paragraph structure. Throughout this step, and all others, Jamie reassures students that they can master the concepts and reminds them that “It’s okay to be confused.”

Student partnerships teach each other the content of their assigned articles in Achieve3000.

After this engaging and collaborative use of Achieve to explore the text structure, Jamie pushes her seventh graders one step further. She asks them to conduct informal research on problems affecting the Sylvania community for a short report. This work is still partnered as students read about algae blooms or drug abuse. They’re building not simply to a report, but to a problem/solution discussion that will be recorded through MoveNote and shared with fellow students. This opportunity excites students, and on the day of the recording, the time flies as students spend 100% time on task excitedly developing their newscast-style discussion of a community problem and their proposed solution.

Jamie provides help throughout the process.

Two of Jamie’s students, Lexus and Salma, decided to explore the puppy mill problem affecting the community through the store at the Franklin Park Mall. The girls enjoyed the assignment, stating that they “liked picking the problem.” And, “It was fun. We got to work in partners.” The girls understand the puppy mill problem, and their solution focuses on the buyer. They suggest that if you’re looking for a puppy, “You can adopt from a trusted owner or a shelter that you trust.” When asked why they focused their solution on the buyer, rather than the seller, they respond, ”The articles did not talk much about the stores,” showing how their work has depended on the research they read. It demonstrates the success of the reading instruction.

A partnership develops their presentation for the MoveNote recording.

Achieve3000 has been established to run automatically. Students could plug into the system and work independently on developing reading skills. Unfortunately, that will not work. Isolating students does not support them in their learning, and using Achieve to push that isolation will not lead to success. Jamie knows that and knows how to avoid the problem. Her project relies on the differentiation power of Achieve, but never once do students find themselves alone in the system. They use it as an organic part of a collaborative, authentic, and engaging exploration of problems and their solutions. These seventh graders will learn and grow through this mode of instruction to become the problem solvers of tomorrow, thanks to Jamie.


TS Sequence Slide-Holley.jpg

Check out these links for more information!

Jamie’s Problem and Solution Slides Presentation

Jamie’s MoveNote Rubric

SDL Introduction on MoveNote

PD Session: Mastering Data in the Digital World

So, you’ve created a digital assessment. Now what? How about Flubaroo reports? Join John Word to explore simple tricks to climb out from the burden of data and master it!

Presented by John Word

Last presented on October 19, 2015 as part of the Sylvania Fall Inservice Day; Next presentation to be announced!

So, you’ve created a digital assessment. Now what? How do you deal with the grade data? What can you do with Achieve3000 data? How about Flubaroo reports? Join John Word to explore simple tricks to climb out from the burden of data and master it!


Want some quick ways to gather powerful insights from your data? Check out these videos:

Session Materials

Useful Tricks and Formulas

More Formulas in Google Spreadsheet

Practice Spreadsheet with Fake Data

PD Session: All Students Can Achieve, With Achieve 3000

Own your work with Achieve3000…. Make it work for your classroom.

Presented by Jamie Holley and Alexander Clarkson

Presenting next on October 28, 2015 at 3:15 PM at McCord Junior High School

From the ad: “Remember the first day back from summer vacation? Wasn’t it nice to see all of your colleagues again? Remember that half day of training on Achieve 3000? Remember how excited you were to use it and help your students? Now that school is underway, take that enthusiasm from the start of the school year and build off of it with this session.”

We will explore how to move beyond the basic functionality of Achieve 3000 into best practices. As a group, we will work on strategies that can be relevant and authentic in your own subject area using Achieve 3000. The tips and tricks shared during this session will help you become an advanced user on this program. Let’s strive to increase our students reading levels, together!

Couldn’t make the session?  Check out this video from Achieve3000 on the functionality of the system!

Session Materials


SDL Insight on Achieve3000 Strategies

Jamie’s October 19 Presentation