In FastBridge, Iowa operates a bit differently than their nationwide users. We have different student/staff/roster data communications, access method, setup processes and requirements of ELI and Differentiated Accountability; therefore, some of the information and instructions available in the FastBridge knowledge base are not appropriate for Iowa users. These differences are the ‘dragons’ - things that are different for Iowa - that can cause someone unfamiliar with those differences to create chaos ranging from annoyance to data loss. If you’re reading this document, it’s likely you or someone you support is experiencing an issue with FastBridge and you’re uncertain where to start. To make things easier, this document will help you identify the areas of troubleshooting and locate resources.
- FastBridge differences for Iowa users
- Quick reference: What's permitted on the FastBridge administrative menu
- Glossary for Iowa users
What is it?
FastBridge is an assessment system for data collection. In Iowa, we have a statewide contract with FastBridge for K-6 literacy assessments for all districts that choose to use it. Districts have also been offered an opportunity to buy additional K-6 (math/behavior) and 7/8 (literacy/math/behavior) FastBridge assessments through their AEA. For an overview of the systems and data flow, see: Iowa: How the Automated Roster Process Works
The K-6 literacy data collected in FastBridge is transferred nightly to Iowa's Early Warning (EWS) and MTSS system, Student Success, where intervention/monitoring information, reports and other data tools are available to help support MTSS, ELI, and Differentiated Accountability.
Need help? Always start here!
The first stop for help with any FastBridge question or issue are the Iowa specific resources in the FastBridge knowledge base. In the nationwide documentation, you may stumble upon information that’s inaccurate for Iowa. There is an Iowa Resources section in the FastBridge Knowledge Base with documentation specific to Iowa processes.
If you need additional assistance, follow your district's plan for support, usually by contacting your FastBridge District Manager. If your district doesn't have a plan, submit a support request in FastBridge or by emailing email@example.com (which also creates a support request). Don't forget to include as many specific details as possible!
Special Note: Please do not use the chat feature or phone support number through FastBridge, as your Iowa support team is not available via those methods. Ticket/email response time is usually quick during working hours.
FastBridge Differences for Iowa Users
System performance, computer, hardware, display, audio, etc.
What looks like a system performance issue may actually be a local hardware or network issue. While this is not actually unique to Iowa, it's important to mention.
- Run System Compatibility Check
- Troubleshooting - System Issues
- FastBridge System Requirements
- Printing: Allow Background Colors & Graphics
Staff access: user accounts, login issues, etc.
FastBridge access is integrated into Iowa's Education Portal (EdPortal). LEA (District/School) user role and access will be based on the FAST role assignment entered in your student information system (SIS), which connects to your EdPortal account if the emails in both systems match. The process for AEA staff access is different and they should not be assigned a user role in the district's SIS.
Tip: You may notice Master Account Administrator (MAA) user role mentioned in some of the communications and articles. Iowa districts will not have an MAA due to the nature of the statewide contract.
- Quick Start: Access to Student Success and/or FastBridge for LEA Users
- AEA Access to Student Success and/or FastBridge
Rosters: classes, teacher access to students, incorrect student demographics
You should NEVER add or edit student demographic or class information directly in FastBridge. Student demographic data, classes and teacher assignments are sent from your student information system.
- Iowa: How the Automated Roster Process Works
- Iowa: Roster and Student Data Management
- Iowa: Troubleshooting Rosters and Student Demographics
- Iowa: Viewing the roster file created from your SIS data
Administrative setup: screening windows, benchmarks, assessment availability
Much of the district setup in FastBridge is completed automatically statewide including benchmarks, most assessment settings, and screening periods. Districts should not make changes to any of this information as the presets are according to state guidance and requirements. Use What’s Permitted on the FastBridge Administrative Menu (below) as a general guide.
FastBridge To Do List: contains tasks not permitted for Iowa users
Where be the dragons? The tasks contained in the FastBridge To Do list is designed with their nationwide users in mind and contains instructions that are not appropriate for Iowa, such as 'Upload rosters'. See the resources linked below for Iowa specific to do lists and reference the visual included in this document to know What’s Permitted on the FastBridge Administrative Menu.
Assessment scores: missing, flagged, tested incorrect student
Missing students and scores may be due to issues with rosters.
- Iowa: Troubleshooting Missing Scores
- Why don’t I get a composite score for earlyReading or earlyMath?
- Troubleshooting - Other Issues
- What is the flag next to a score?
- Deleting a Score
Progress Monitoring and Interventions: PM data collected in FastBridge; interventions and data review in Student Success
For Iowa, progress monitoring groups are setup and the data collection is completed in the FastBridge system, while Iowa's EWS/MTSS system, Panorama Student Success, is where the intervention (group or individual) information is entered and both PM and intervention data are reviewed. Progress monitoring data is transferred nightly from FastBridge to Student Success. Intervention data entered in FastBridge, is NOT transferred to Student Success.
Reports in FastBridge are designed for their nationwide users. For example, Iowa requires a “default assessment” for literacy status determination, but you may use more than one screening measure to populate the s2i report. Iowa specific reports and other data tools are located in Iowa's EWS/MTSS data system, Panorama Student Success, and updated nightly.
State level requirements and guidance: ELI and Differentiated Accountability
Directions for screening and progress monitoring in the FastBridge system do not take into account ELI requirements. There is not a place in the FastBridge system to mark or note Iowa requirements, default assessments and local decisions. Use Iowa's EWS/MTSS data system, Panorama Student Success, to enter interventions, view progress monitoring, reports and other data tools to support MTSS, ELI, and Differentiated Accountability. The state utilizes the data in Student Success.
- Iowa ELI in the FastBridge Lane
- Iowa Default Assessments
- Iowa Department of Education Early Literacy Implementation (ELI)
- Iowa Department of Education Differentiated Accountability (DA)
Mixed communications and support
Fastbridge sends and posts various communications that were not crafted with Iowa’s needs and processes in mind. The information shared by Fastbridge is excellent and helpful, but should always be read with an awareness of Iowa-specific differences. The Iowa Department of Education maintains an email list to send Iowa-specific communications.
Additionally, the chat and telephone support options in FastBridge are not designed to support Iowa users, as they're only staffed by the nationwide support team who are not trained to answer Iowa-specific questions and may not have all of the right information. Instead, start a support ticket or email firstname.lastname@example.org (which also creates a support ticket), and those tickets will be routed automatically to the Iowa team.
What’s Permitted on the FastBridge Administrative Menu
As FastBridge is nationwide and not customized for Iowa, there are functions available to district and school managers in FastBridge that should not be altered by district staff in Iowa as they are set automatically or by the Iowa support team.
Below is a visual of the administrative menu available in FastBridge District Manager accounts. The School Manager menu is similar, without the district level items. Each menu item in the visual below is marked with a red prohibition (circle-slash) to indicate that page is not for Iowa district-level use, a yellow or green circle indicate it can be used. Please do not make changes on any page marked with the red circle-backslash prohibited symbol on the menu visual below. Changes to these items may create performance problems or even loss of data.
If there is something you think should be changed on one of the pages marked with the prohibited sign, please submit a support ticket.
Common terms/abbreviations for Iowa users
Default Literacy Assessments:
the universal screening tool selected by the district to use for determination of literacy status and data collection for healthy indicator reporting.
Differentiated Accountability (DA):
DA is Iowa's accountability model designed to provide support for public districts, accredited nonpublic schools, and Area Education Agencies (AEAs) when and where they need it most.
FastBridge District Manager account user.
ELI [Early Literacy Implementation]:
Is driven by Iowa Code to promote effective evidence-based programming, instruction and assessment practices across schools to support all students to become proficient readers by the end of the third grade.
EWS [Early Warning System]:
Identifies at-risk students through data analysis.
FastBridge [Formative Assessment System for Teachers]:
FastBridge is a suite of assessments and an application for data collection and reporting.
Providers of the FastBridge assessments and system.
Healthy Indicators are broad measures to assess the health of the system.
Knowledge Base (aka KB):
A compendium of articles, videos and resources to assist you with using and understanding the FastBridge system, your data, the assessments and the Iowa-specific processes.
An element of ELI, the literacy status determination is based on the student’s most recent screening score and previous literacy status.
AP - Adequately Progressing Literacy Status
AR - At-Risk Literacy Status
PatR - Persistently At-Risk Literacy Status
MTSS [Multi-tiered Svstem of Supports]:
An every-education decision-making framework of evidence based practices in instruction and assessment that addresses the needs of all students.
Outside of the window:
Administering a universal screening assessment outside of the state defined screening window.
Abbreviation for Progress Monitoring
Refers to date when the FastBridge system changes to the next school year. Tip: The district’s SIF must also be rolled over to send the new school year data for the reload to occur.
The four-week block of time set aside three times a year to screen all students. Dates are set by the state for Fall, Winter, and Spring.
SIF [Schools Interoperability Framework]:
The data pipeline that sends information from the district SIS to FastBridge.
SIS [Student Information System]:
All districts have either JMC. Infinite Campus or Powerschool. All student demographic, Classroom User account information, and roster information comes from the data entry in the district SIS
Iowa's Early Warning (EWS) and MTSS system. K-6 data collected in FAST is transferred to Student Success nightly. Interventions, progress monitoring graphs, reports and other data tools to help support MTSS, ELI, and Differentiated Accountability are located in this data system.
Support Request (aka ticket):
Used for system issues or questions beyond what users can answer using the resources available in the knowledge base. Anyone with access to FastBridge can submit a support request by clicking Support in the upper left corner but please follow your district’s plan for support, usually by contacting your FastBridge District Manager before submitting a support request.