Using Classworks for Special Education this Year: Getting Started

September 5, 2023

Welcome back! We are so excited to start this new school year alongside you! Implementing new instructional technology can be a challenge, but it can also be rewarding for you and your students. This blog series, Using Classworks for Special Education, we'll give you best practices for implementing the program throughout the year to achieve your goals. 

August - September

Administering the Fall Universal Screener

It's time to administer the Classworks Universal Screener. The good news is the screener is already available as soon as students log into Classworks. The screener is a formal assessment for grades K-10 for reading and math. 

Why administer this screener? The assessment identifies the valuable skills your students are ready to learn and where they need more support. The screener takes 20-35 minutes to administer and helps understand present level of performance down to the domain and skill level for reading and math.

We recommend administering the screener in a single sitting for a smoother process. 

Try this: During screener time, remind students of time intervals and actively walk around to ensure students are working through the questions. It’s easy to see how far along each test the student is by glancing at their monitor. 

Before administering the screener, show your students this video to prepare them to do their best! View these best practices for administering the screener to your students.

If you’re using a partner assessment like NWEA MAP Growth or Renaissance Star, that data will automatically adapt students’ learning paths once they have taken their assessment.

Fall Social-Emotional Skills Survey Window

As with the screener testing window, the Social-Emotional (SE) Skills Survey window is also open at the start of the school year. If your district is using the SE Skills Survey, we suggest implementing the survey at the same time as the Classworks Universal Screener. 

The survey identifies students who need social-emotional and behavioral interventions, helps students create and achieve academic and behavioral goals, and monitors and logs behavioral incidents and interventions–with one easy-to-use platform. The survey allows students to think through various scenarios and mark if they find them difficult, very difficult, easy, or very easy. Teachers can then guide students toward goal setting and encourage them to log their feelings onto the platform, allowing teachers to engage back and forth.

View these tips for how to guide students to take the SE Skills Survey and these best practices for using it. 

Individualized Learning

In Classworks, students have an evidence-based learning path comprising reading and math activities. Once students have taken an assessment, their learning path is updated. 

Individualized Learning (IL) is where the magic happens. Assessment data adjusts a student’s IL Path and ensures they work on the skills they are ready to learn and apply independently. 

It is essential to know when your students will work on their Classworks instruction during the week. Here is a suggested schedule. Students who spend consistent time working in Classworks experience tremendous growth! 

Try this: Once Individualized Learning Paths have been created, users can easily monitor progress and status and view and customize what is a part of their individualized learning. See how to monitor ILPs in Classworks. 

Set students up for success with their Classworks lessons by setting clear expectations. Model what they should be doing in the program. Once your students feel confident, assign them to work on it in a center or on their own and continue individualized support for those who need more intensive instruction. View tips for modeling a mini-lesson. 


Use this time as your runway to success by setting clear expectations by modeling the mini-lessons with the group. All of the Classworks unit components (mini-lesson, activities, quizzes) can be used as a teaching tool to help support teacher instruction. Once your students feel confident, assign them to work on it in a center or on their own and continue individualized support for those who need more intensive instruction. 

Watch along as we give tips for modeling a mini-lesson. 

Going the Extra Mile

Keep the momentum going strong by completing the online Classworks Smartguide courses, designed to set you and your team up for success in Classworks. Here’s how to access the online course. 

Real-World Example
Mr. Shaw is a special education teacher who aims to progress monitor the students on his caseload and effectively document their progress through their specific short and long-term IEP goals. Let’s follow along as he tackles month one.
Week 1
After we get through the first few days of back-to-school introductions, to kick start their year off right, the school set up a screening window so we can gather baseline data and use that information to make updates to our students’ SDI and progress monitoring plans. 
We will screen for reading Tuesday and mathematics on Thursday. Their scores will help me identify baseline learning levels and measure growth. Classworks makes this process so easy! The screener is already assigned to my students; they can watch short videos to help them prepare and do their best! 
My students will also complete the SE Competency Survey, where they respond to forty questions about their goal-setting and intrapersonal skills. 
Week 2
After completing the screener, it is time to familiarize students with their individual learning paths. I will spend some time at the beginning of class modeling units in Classworks to help my students feel confident enough to tackle these lessons independently. 
Today I will model a mini-lesson in the group setting. After an excellent discussion, I will ask students to tackle a lesson independently, spending time with students who need more intensive help.
Weeks 3 and 4
We are rolling along nicely in Classworks! I will continue to monitor the learning paths and assist students when needed. 
I can not wait to see the 6-9 points of progress monitoring data over the next few weeks to help me determine any adjustments needed in the learning path and have the data necessary to create IEP goals. 
I will use these tips to keep my students motivated and engaged.
Stay tuned as we check in with Mr. Shaw during the next three months for ways to utilize Classworks for special education.

District Leaders

To help set the new year right with your district, we suggest identifying a district-level point person for principals to work with to facilitate ongoing communication about how Classworks is being implemented. Your dedicated Classworks account manager will be there to answer any questions. They’ll set up monthly meetings with you to help ensure Classworks is implemented with fidelity and that we meet your specific goals. 

Oh, and did we mention the importance of training?

What’s next? 

In the next installment of this series, we’ll talk about progress monitoring. We promise it doesn’t have to be complicated!  

Need help?
Chat with us using the button below or from within Classworks, or email us at Let us help ensure you see the success we know is possible with Classworks.

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