The typical classroom in America looks like this from the beginning to the end of the year:
Some students will change levels, moving up or down, but at the end of the year, the numbers are the same. And almost half of the students will show NO MEASURABLE GROWTH!
I was the intensive math teacher at our school. So here’s what my classroom looks like from the beginning to the end of the year.
I started the year with a classroom of students who are ALL below grade level, most where in the bottom 25% of the state. By the end of the year, over 60% of my students were on grade level (15 percentage points higher than the state average), and 10% of my students test in the top 10% of the state. Furthermore, over 85% of my students earn a learning gain (30 percentage points higher than the state average).
How was I able to move the unmovable? How was my class full of level ones able to outperform the rest of the state, year after year, both in proficiency scores and learning gains?
By implementing a system of teaching that takes advantage of three strategies
- Whole Class Differentiation – everyone is working on a different skill depending on what they have already mastered. They stay there, until they master it, and then they move on to the next skill.
- Data Driven Instruction – the students are tested, and they work on the skills that they have not demonstrated proficiency on. They don’t stop working on it, until they have mastered it on an assessment
- Practice Perfect – We do what we practice. If you are practicing wrong, you will not benefit from your practice. Thus, I provide immediate feedback when students are practicing a skill. That way, if they did it wrong, they immediately know, and learn from their mistakes.
With all the technology and resources that we have today, why are we still factory lining our students with one-size-fits-all lessons and assignments?
It’s time to rethink, math teacher. The data is in from that failed experiment, and the results are poor. Half of our students learn less than half of the curriculum every year. One third of our students show no measurable growth. Test scores are down, discipline issues are up.
We can reach every student at the same time, and they can all be successful with differentiated instruction for the whole class.
Let me be your guide as we rethink math, teacher.