Wouldn’t it be great if all math students in a classroom came with the same experiences and same motivation to learn? It’s a nice thought, but the reality is that there is a wide range of skills and readiness in every classroom. Teachers are faced with the challenge of making sure that every student is at grade level or above by the end of the school year. Combined with growing class sizes and changing standards and curriculum, this expectation for teachers today is overwhelming. The believed solution is to simply differentiate instruction. To do this well requires teachers to have a deep understanding of the curriculum, strong classroom management skills, and use assessment well.
Teachers also need to access the scope and sequence of skills before and after each particular grade level. Allowing students to grow in their academic endeavors as seen in academic gains should be the goal for all students regardless of where they start at the beginning of a unit of study. Integration of technology to support the learning as well as classroom management procedures, are critical for optimized student learning. Having a tool available to communicate any skill gaps helps teachers to better understand and plan strategically. Individualized instruction can be very difficult to manage, especially with a large class and a wide range of mathematically ability.
The use of web-based support materials in a blended learning environment can be an effective way to better fill in the missing skills and extend the learning of those working below and above grade level. Avon Intermediate School East has implemented Ascend Math for several years for the primary purpose of extending the learning for those students at or above grade level. Further analysis of recent statewide testing indicates that not only the amount of time spent using the program, but the leveling up and teacher intervention based on the reports are crucial to attain this growth. This was true for students who are below or on grade level as well.
We have found that Ascend Math has multiple uses, and it can be a very helpful tool to reduce skill gaps if implemented well. There are multiple reports and resources. Its flexibility is its greatest attribute.
Dr. Brian Scott, Principal of Avon Intermediate School East
To learn more, read the white paper: Which Math Skills Are Students Missing?.