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Case Study:
iRespond Takes Velma Jackson High School From “Very Rural” to High Tech
Scores on State Tests Improve

If you went searching for technology usage in schools, the last place you might think to look is in Camden, Mississippi. However, Velma Jackson High School in rural Madison County, about 45 miles north of the capital of Jackson, might just surprise you.

“We have been using iRespond since I arrived at Velma Jackson and I can tell you it does increase our test scores,” says history teacher Kathy Locke. “I have had wonderful success with my students passing the state test. In fact, last year I had 100 percent passing rate and the lowest score was 92 percent. I would say a lot of that is in getting me the information that I need to review and to re-teach. It is also wonderful on providing me with information on what the students know and what they need to go over,” she explains.

Mississippi High School Gets the Most from iRespond

Kathy Locke has a bachelor’s degree in history from Middle Tennessee State University. She teaches Mississippi History, United States History, and Advanced Placement History at Velma Jackson. She uses an iRespond personal response system in her classes everyday. Locke says she shares the system with the biology and English teachers at the school.

“We love iRespond,” says Locke. “The remotes are easy to set up and easy to use. In fact we have a student who helps set everything up if there is a new teacher who wants to use them, for example.”

Every Student Uses iRespond

Velma Jackson has 500 students in grades 9-12 and Locke says they place a lot of emphasis on passing state examinations. “We emphasize passing the state tests and we really use iRespond to hone in on what we need to re-teach to make sure the students pass those tests.

“Usually we use iRespond to give sample subject area tests. We will even break those down to give a sample test of 20-40 questions,” says Locke. “We also use the remotes for semester tests. Every semester we bring all the students into the auditorium and give them a test using sample questions and all 500 students use iRespond.”

Teachers Save Time

Locke says iRespond has some great benefits for teachers. “I love not having to grade my tests, especially when I give an 85 question test to all 86 of my students,” she says. “Since iRespond grades my test for me, it saves me hours of work.

“I have also been able to save a huge test bank in iRespond,” she explains. “I can use these tests from year to year so I no longer have to always be creating new tests.”

iRespond Provides Valuable Data

“I like the way the data is given to me in an organized form,” says Locke. “In other words, I know immediately what the students know and I know immediately what I need to review. What the students know or do not know shows up so clearly in iRespond. To me that’s the number one benefit.”

Students Love Using iRespond

Students like the immediate knowledge of what their scores are, “The microwave generation wants to know what their grade is right now,” she says. “Since iRespond gives me and my students that information, it saves me from all those questions like ‘did I pass the test?’ or ‘when will you have my grade?’ That knowledge is huge to the students, especially to my Advanced Placement students.”

iRespond Makes Class “Cool”

"iRespond has made my classroom a more advanced, more up-to-date classroom," says Locke. "My students are impressed with me as a teacher when I can use technology like this. It has made my classes ‘cool.’ In other classes, they get a piece of paper and pencil and are told to take their tests. The students love taking tests on iRespond. It gives it a type of a game feeling to it. They like it much better than taking a paper and pencil test. When I can hand them a remote and have them take the same test, it’s way up on the technology scale," she says.