SmartStart Introduction for Teachers

SmartStart and Waterford Early Learning both use the same manager to add students, manage curriculum, and access Classroom Advantage. Both courses are available for students to use on an iPad and a laptop or desktop computer. Use the other guides in the help for instructions on using the manager, or follow the links below:

Home Access

You may not post or distribute links or shortcuts from the manager, Student App, or parent manager to external sites or parties. Doing so is in direct violation of the license agreement.

Prepare Accounts for Home Access
Home Access must be enabled in the Waterford Manager by an administrator. When Home Access is enabled, parents automatically receive an email with a unique URL assigned to their child and setup instructions. For Home Access to work, it is required that teacher and student user accounts include email addresses, and that student accounts include an accurate birth date.

Find more details in the Home Access section of the School Manager for Administrators guide.

To access the Student Portal at home, the parent or guardian will be given these instructions, which are also included in the Home Access email. You can also download and print parent instructions here.


Teacher Materials

Teacher materials include classroom resources like worksheets, printable masters, audio clips, classroom activity ideas, and newsletters.

To find Teacher Materials

  1. Go to Curriculum.
  2. Click Search.
  3. In the search results table, click the Teacher Materials tab.
    teacher materials
    Use the same search tips for finding online activities.
  • Teacher Materials for Waterford Reading and Waterford Math & Science are currently organized according by Common Core standard. You can use the Level and Standards search filters, but at this time you cannot use keyword search or any other search filters.
  • Teacher Materials for SmartStart PreK complement lessons and activities from the SmartStart Teacher Guide and SmartStart Activity Library.

Test Breaks

If a student does not finish their test by the time limit, Wyatt tells them to take a break and the program temporarily shuts down. The student can access the program later  to finish the test, but they must complete it within 14 days.

If a student does not complete a test by day 14, it expires and their teacher cannot view their score. The student must be reassessed at a later benchmark.

Note: WACS only gives students 14 days to finish their tests because after that time, a student may have learned new literacy skills or seen external sources, so the test won’t be an accurate assignment.

Test Adaptation Algorithm

WACS adapts to each student’s needs by giving easier or harder questions, depending on whether the student answers the previous question correctly.

If the student gets a question wrong, the question lowers in difficulty until it is answered correctly. Once the student submits a correct answer, they are given a harder question or test section until WACS determines their literacy level.

Some pros of the WACS testing algorithm include:

  • Tests all students equally
  • Diagnoses literacy skills quickly
  • Provides precise data for high/low-scoring students
  • Reduces student frustration

WACS Test Format

WACS is hosted by Wyatt, an anthropomorphic marmot who tests student on literacy skills so they can “earn” a sheriff’s deputy badge. The test graphics have an overall Western theme.

Note: Wyatt is encouraging and does not tell the students their test score or whether they get an answer wrong. The only feedback he gives is positive encouragement.

Each student is tested on five to ten skill sets, based on grade level. Depending on their skill level, however, the student may see fewer sets.

Wyatt walks each student through a tutorial at the beginning of the test and before each assessment. After each tutorial, Wyatt allows the student to complete the section, then explains the next section.

At the end of the assessment, Wyatt “awards” student a deputy badge for completing the test, then the program shuts down. WACS records the student’s test score and assigns them to one of the following proficiency levels (low to high):

  • Deficient
  • Developing
  • Proficient
  • Advanced

Teachers can then view their students’ test scores and proficiency levels through the WACS Reports tab.