Curriculum Playlists, are they harder and more expensive than they look?

An article in Education Week caught my eye recently. It examined Curriculum Playlists as a method of personalizing instruction. Here’s a quote:

 “But some have found that implementing a playlist-based instructional model is harder—and more expensive—than it looks: On top of facilities renovations and technology upgrades, yearly software licenses cost $225 per student”

This is, in a word, ridiculous. It doesn’t have to be expensive or hard to implement a truly individualized program of math instruction.

Group Of Students Working At Computers In Classroom

The concept is simple really: 1. Assess 2. Provide Instruction 3. Verify Mastery 4. Assess again!  Okay, but let’s be specific about what we are assessing. Too often, assessment of math skills is reserved for on level. Far too many students have skill gaps several grades below their current level. Too assess properly the functional grade level must be ascertained first. Then the student must be quickly assessed on each skill in that functional grade level to determine where the student needs instruction.

An effective assessment and instructional math program that provides truly individual study plans for each student can be very easy for a teacher to implement. Also, it should cost no more than a small fraction of the amount mentioned in the Education Week article.

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