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The Achievement First Approach: Athena

At Achievement First, we refuse to let any student "fall through the cracks." We are committed to researching and developing innovative methods for analyzing student assessment data to inform our planning and instruction to ensure that each student receives the support that he or she needs to be successful. The launch in 2007 of AF Athena™, Achievement First's custom-built, web-based interim assessment platform, has been instrumental in increasing the efficiency of our data analysis and the effectiveness of our planning and instruction. AF Athena provides performance data analysis and knowledge management for teachers and school leaders to create data-driven instructional battle plans as they help every student climb the mountain to college.

In the years since our founding, Achievement First has developed an extensive practice around using internally developed interim assessments to plan instruction, student interventions and professional development for teachers. Every six weeks, teachers administer an interim assessment and analyze the data, which is predictive of subsequent student performance on state exams, to track class progress toward goals, identify which standards require further instruction and determine which students require specific interventions.

Achievement First designed and built AF Athena to replace a laborious and manual process of tracking and analyzing interim assessment results using Microsoft Excel, pencil and paper. Teachers and school teams devote a full day to professional development–known as "Data Day"–after each interim assessment cycle and use AF Athena to analyze the data by teacher, student, standard and question in order to diagnose areas of student misunderstanding and to collaborate on developing instructional strategies for re-teaching, reviewing and working with struggling students who require more targeted small-group instruction.

As of now AF Athena is unavailable to external audiences, but plans are being developed for broader implementation beyond Achievement First.

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