Making the Text Connection: Using SMART lab to Enhance Student Evidence in Writing

A SMART Customer story with Lori Carrasco, Bear Creek School, Elizabethtown, PA

Teacher and School

Lori Carrasco, 4th Grade Teacher Bear Creek School, Elizabethtown, PA

Key Challenge

Students struggled to connect and explain evidence that supported text dependent analysis (TDA) responses.

SMART Solution

SMART Board® 800 series
SMART Learning Suite


The number of students who were proficient in TDA responses increased from 6 to 32 after integrating SMART Learning Suite.
“I was thrilled to see my students wanting to work on explaining why their evidence supported their answer in a fun and engaging way.” — Lori Carrasco


Bear Creek School is a grade 4-6 school located in a rural community outside of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania containing approximately 930 students. Lori Carrasco graduated from Millersville University in 2001 with her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and in 2011 from Wilkes University with a Master’s degree in Instructional Media. She is passionate about helping students become active learners in innovative and creative ways.

Lori observed her students were successful writing a text dependent analysis (TDA) response, but struggled with the ability to explain why evidence supported their answer. Because technology has been a great motivator in engaging her students, she wanted to enrich her teaching practice to help her students learn how to better synthesize answers based on specific evidence within a reading passage — so they could more clearly demonstrate their ability to interpret meaning behind that evidence.


After examining classroom assessments and observational data, Lori believed her students were facing this challenge because they were lacking the metacognitive skill-set to make connections between text evidence and craft their TDA responses. She chose to use the SMART Learning Suite because it provided her students with a tool that would allow them to become actively involved in the systematic learning process of a TDA prompt.

She used SMART Learning Suite to model how her students should effectively use text evidence to elaborate and justify TDA responses. She created SMART lab™ Match’em Up activities for their independent practice, and SMART lab Fill in Blank activities to replace her close reading comprehension strategy. These two SMART lab activities provided her students with practice and immediate feedback on how to organize their thoughts and encouraged them to elaborate and justify their thinking within responses.

How SMART Solutions Improved Learning Outcomes

After incorporating the SMART Learning Suite, Lori began to see her students increase their ability to provide detailed explanations in their TDA responses. Using a proficiency-based assessment where students were scored on a scale of 0 to 4 with a score of 3 to 4 being proficient, she only had 6 out of 48 students labeled as proficient. After integrating SMART Learning Suite into her instruction, the number of students labeled as proficient increased from 6 to 32. What she was most pleased with, was that 18 of her 32 students increased their level of proficiency by at least 2 points.

number of students proficient with text dependent analysis

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Posted: April 18, 2018
in Outcome Studies