Browse Category: Differentiated Learning

Adaptive Learning 101

Every student has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses.

 

Some student may excel in STEM subjects, while others may love literature and writing.  Yet, think about how the average school day is divided up: 55 minutes for English, 55 minutes for gym, 55 minutes for science, as if every student needs the exact same amount of time and support to grasp each and every subject.

 

As human beings, we just don’t work that way. Educators know it better than anyone. Their students learn at different speeds. And the variety of skill levels in a classroom make it difficult to personalize learning and reach every student. Often, we see the advanced student bored because they’re not being challenged and the struggling student lost because the content is too difficult or quick-paced.

 

This linear approach to teaching, giving equal attention to every subject and moving students along at the same pace, is not practical. And it may not be the best way for preparing students to succeed on those rigorous end-of-year assessments.

 

Adapting in the Classroom with Adaptive Learning

 

More and more, what students need is an adaptive learning approach—an approach that adapts itself to them, with their individual strengths and weaknesses in mind.

 

Adaptive learning gives students the opportunity to spend time on those concepts and skills needing additional support and instruction. Adaptive learning tools are often technology-based, using this technology to track student progress and adapt lessons to the skills and content students need. Students move quickly through what comes easily to them, but spend more time on what doesn’t.

 

Adaptive learning doesn’t just empower students, though. It empowers teachers. With adaptive learning, teachers can meet students at their precise learning level. Scores come back in real-time, while the student is working, which means that a teacher knows—almost immediately—which students are struggling and on what specific concepts and teachers can then remediate or reteach an individual student, small group or the class as a whole.

 

Adaptive Learning = Success

 

The insight a teacher gains, thanks to adaptive learning, enables that teacher to offer more individualized help or to modify instruction or explain in greater detail.

 

Ultimately, adaptive learning means greater student confidence and the potential for stronger performance on state assessments. In fact, according to one recent study, students showed a 27% pass-rate increase, a 9% retention increase, and a 10% increase in final grade average, thanks to adaptive learning usage in their instruction. Another study revealed a nearly 50% increase in students who received an A or a B grade. [1]

 

Ready to Adapt

As we developed Measuring Up Live 2.0, we took into account the profound importance and the practical challenges of nurturing 21st century skills in the classroom. To improve students’ skills, knowledge, and readiness for assessment, our research-based, adaptive, and differentiated solution provides rigorous content and scaffolded support and puts success into students’ hands. Robust reporting is at the heart of the program, giving educators the tools they need to track all students in their classroom, target instruction, and prescribe practice to meet the skills and standards each student needs, all to support standards mastery and assessment success.

 

Want to learn more about how you can use the Measuring Up Live 2.0 adaptive learning to improve student assessment? Watch This!

 

[1] http://acrobatiq.com/what-student-outcomes-say-about-adaptive-learning/

Welcome Back! Checklists Aren’t Just for Students

For students, the back-to-school checklist mainly consists of the standard list of supplies, the requisite instructional materials, and maybe a new backpack. Educators, however, have a much more daunting task to prepare for the year. Not only do they have to round up the supplies they need, but they also must create lessons, prepare the classroom, and put in place a plan for ensuring their students come away from the year with a truly educational experience. It’s a few weeks into school now, but we know how chaotic those first weeks can be. We’ve put together our top three suggestions for any educator looking for ways to set their year up for success.

 

Let’s Get Personal

It can be easy to become so focused on the needs of your students the first few months of the year, that you forget to take care of yourself. As you design lesson plans and meet with students and parents, take some time to set personal goals. What do you want to achieve this year? Be it career advancement, personal progress, or even just a focus on improved relationships with your peers, construct a list of ways you want to improve yourself over the next year. Giving yourself something to work towards can improve the overall classroom environment in surprising ways.

Maybe try keeping a journal. Noting and reflecting on your ideas and experiences not only allows you to keep track of the ever-mounting tasks at hand during the school year, but it will also give you a chance to see how far you’ve come at the end of the year. Between goal setting and journal keeping, our hope is that these measures help highlight the impact you are making as an educator.

 

Establish Your Baseline

Most educators have experienced at least one instance in which they worked hard on a lesson plan they loved, only to start over when realizing it was overly ambitious for their students’ skill levels. Using assessments helps educators track their students’ level of knowledge and skills. There are variety of helpful tools geared towards this, all of which have unique approaches. Some teachers may choose to simply have the students conduct a self-assessment, while others may utilize a specific formal assessment (summative, formative, benchmarking, etc.). The key is using whatever tool you have to establish what your students know, where they are in terms of their skill level and to identify a clear path for advancement.

It’s a simple fact that your students are all different in terms of skills and knowledge. There will be some far ahead of the curve while others lag behind. A baseline assessment of your class as a whole will allow you to differentiate your instruction to the needs of your individual students.

 

Establish Benchmarks

While it is important to have goals for yourself as an educator, it is also essential to work out clearly defined benchmarks and progress points that you want your students to reach throughout the year. These benchmarks may be observational, they may be the result of a running record, they may be formal assessment opportunities throughout the year, or they may be a defined set of test scores and portfolio elements. The important thing is that they are clear with target dates and goals to track student progress towards standards mastery allowing you to modify instruction to meet those goals.

 

The goal of the Measuring Up suite of digital and print instructional materials is to provide educators with the tools to assess students, target instruction, and provide each student with adaptive practice at their just-right instructional level. With over 25 years of experience and research backing us, we are dedicated to making student assessments simple for educators, with the goal of testing to track true yearly progress. To learn more about the Measuring Up solutions, visit us online today or contact your local sales representative!

Are the Tools You Use to Help English-Language Learners Measuring Up?

English Language Learners (ELLs) are the fastest-growing segment of the school-aged population[1] in the U.S. educational system, with many schools needing instructional support to meet the needs of these learners. In places that don’t have large numbers of ELLs and programs to support that population, one could argue it’s even more critical to prepare educators in specializing or modifying instruction to support English learners as they not only learn academic content, but also develop key language acquisition skills.

 

A recent analysis by Taylor & Francis Online[2] suggests that even academic content tests are linguistically complex, using words likely unknown by an ELL. That’s why testing poses unique challenges for this student population. Tailored tools and options for ELLs to allow educators to take a targeted approach and individually connect with each student in order to address their unique needs for instruction.

 

Research in the field of language acquisition[3] suggests that using multiple media to provide visual aids, providing repetition along with additional practice, and highlighting and teaching key vocabulary words are some of the methods that have shown to be effective for enhancing instruction for ELLs. Instruction becomes even more powerful when educators have access to data, which drives instruction and adaptive standards-based practice, in order to target the needs of ELLs.

 

With this challenge in mind, here are some tips for supporting English-Language Learners when preparing for high-stakes testing:

  • Developing oral language skills is critical for the development of literacy skills. In listening to language used in speaking, ELLs use context to figure out what words mean and learn about sentence structure and word order. Oral language and listening skills are a critical step in accessing written language. Educators can encourage this using prompts such as “turn and talk” and pairing students to discuss reading passages or verbalize how they worked through a problem.
  • Academic language differs from conversational English in that it is more complex and it is not typically encountered in everyday settings. Effective teaching includes planned speaking practice so that students have both formal and informal practice using academic English.
  • Students may struggle to use linking words and phrases such as “because,” “therefore,” and “for example” to connect opinions to reasons. Remind students that linking words and phrases help them connect ideas and sentences, which allows readers to follow what they are trying to say or write.
  • Some ELLs may need extra help coming up with different ways to state their opinions. Give them several sentence starters like “I believe…” “I think…” and “My opinion is…”
  • When teaching math, use visual aids. For example, to show examples of fractions, divide a whole circle into equal parts.
  • Develop writing skills by allowing students to jot down notes before beginning formal writing. In this way, students can build from writing fragments to forming sentences, constructing paragraphs, and finally to writing full essays.

 

Seeing growth and improvement can be a huge motivator for an ELL student. But educators won’t know if growth is taking place if it’s not measured. Regular student benchmarking can show not only what they’ve learned, but give educators the tools to plan future lessons. Utilizing portfolios to show writing progress over time can also be a great motivator.

 

In addition, ELLs need support to prepare for and thrive during high-stakes testing. The Measuring Up suite of print and digital solutions prepares all students for their state assessments, and further supports educators with teaching tips and guidance for ELL in the state-specific instructional worktexts.

 

Mastery Education, the creators of Measuring Up, constantly strives to provide richer and deeper learning experiences to prepare students of all backgrounds, including ELLs, for the challenges of mastering today’s standards and unlocking all the possibilities of a brilliant future.

 

Choose a partner that evolves with the ever-changing education landscape. To learn more, visit MasteryEducation.com today!

 

Sources:

[1] http://edglossary.org/english-language-learner/

[2] http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00405841003626619

[3] http://www.cal.org/create/publications/briefs/effective-practices-for-increasing-the-achievement-of-english-learners.html

New Measuring Up Instructional Worktexts Written to Your State Standards

A key challenge for educators is finding a way to customize and differentiate learning for each student in their classrooms. Teachers need tailored tools that allow them to target instruction and differentiate learning for all students in the classroom, including struggling learners, English language learners, and advanced students. And to ensure that students are making progress, educators also need to track and monitor incremental progress and mastery of the standards. To meet the needs of these educators, Measuring Up has created a new instructional worktexts built specifically to meet your state standards.

 

These new state-customized Measuring Up worktexts focus on helping students master the state standards and prepare for rigorous end-of-year assessments. Connecting seamlessly with the Measuring Up Live 2.0 digital assessment and adaptive practice solution, these worktexts help educators target instruction to those skills students most need support on.  It is a simple but powerfully effective approach, incorporating a comprehensive alignment of assessment, instruction, and practice for each student. This new program is customized for each state, addressing challenges educators are facing today with lessons that inspire confidence, engage students, and improve assessment results and growth.

 

This program was built with the needs of educators in mind. Through extensive market research, Mastery Education identified key needs, which informed the product development, including:

  • Providing real world connections to help students make deeper meaning.
  • Supporting all learners in a classroom, including English language learners.
  • Integrating writing within lessons.
  • Demonstrating multiple ways to solve mathematics problems.
  • Offering educators Exit Tickets for quick comprehension checks.

 

These new Measuring Up worktexts were built for CA, FL, GA, IL, NJ, NY, OH, PA, and TN standards, with additional states coming in early 2018. A national edition is also available, written to meet the needs of the Common Core standards. The lessons feature:

  • real-world learning goals,
  • vocabulary defined in context,
  • guided instruction to learn and apply skills,
  • independent practice in a format that emulates the state test,
  • and an Exit Ticket to check for student understanding.

Writing is embedded into every ELA lesson and mathematics lessons offer multiple ways to solve problems as well as more discussion opportunities.  Throughout the lesson, students will see work-space areas, checklists, and prompts like Turn and Talk to keep students engaged. These prompts encourage learners to apply what they’ve learned and elicit self-evaluation.

 

The Teacher Edition features teaching suggestions for struggling learners, English language learners, and above-level students. It also provides additional standards information, and offers support on how to use data to evaluate student learning and more effectively target instruction.

 

Measuring Up can be used in a variety of usage scenarios:

  • Supplement to a core curriculum
  • Before- or after-school program
  • Intervention
  • Summer school
  • Progress monitoring
  • Benchmarking
  • Test readiness program

 

Mastery Education constantly strives to deliver opportunities that provide richer and deeper learning experiences to unlock a brilliant future. With materials built for each state, the Measuring Up blended solution allows teachers to pinpoint each student’s standards level, target instruction to their skill level, and improve high-stakes state assessment results. Personalized and differentiated learning coupled with robust data and reporting give educators the tools to drive students’ improvement and success.

 

It is important to choose a partner that evolves with the ever-changing education landscape. To learn more or view sample lessons, visit MasteryEducation.com today!


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