Bright ideas for tech-savvy educators, right to your inbox

Personalize Learning for Middle School Students with Edmentum Exact Path

Monday, August 28, 2017 -- Kara Marolt

Edmentum Exact Path began as a K-6 individualized learning program, providing students in their formative years access to self-paced, tailored instruction driven by adaptive diagnostic assessments and frequent progress monitoring. As students head back to class, many entering middle school or junior high for the first time, Exact Path is too! Guided by meaningful customer feedback and the expertise of our in-house curriculum, development, and research teams, we’re pleased to now offer a superior personalized experience for students through 8th grade. So, just how did we go about expanding on Exact Path’s elementary-level foundation to meet the needs of middle school educators and students? Today we’ll dive into that topic to explore the ins and outs of Exact Path as it applies to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.

What unique features can middle school educators and students expect to find in Exact Path?

Significant efforts have been taken to ensure middle school students are successful in Exact Path. From the assessment to the curriculum to the student experience itself, great care was applied to build a program that helps students close learning gaps, work on grade-level skills, and enrich understanding in a relevant, age-appropriate environment.

Assessment

In Exact Path, all learning starts with the diagnostic assessment. It’s important that before students ever receive any content, their strengths and weaknesses are precisely understood, such that their learning path represents a set of skills precisely tailored to their needs. In order to build an assessment appropriate for middle school students the item pool was expanded to include questions through the high school level. Additionally, the program’s adaptive algorithm was adjusted to work with longer passages and more difficult items, while mindful adjustments were made to the overall cognitive load put on students so that the test is as efficient as possible.

Curriculum

Following each assessment administration, students receive targeted playlists of content based on where they are ready to start learning within each subject domain. Each set of skills a student is assigned includes a variety of learning objects, such as instructional tutorials, practice and application activities, and quizzes to appeal to different learning modalities and provide students with multiple opportunities to demonstrate mastery.

To ensure curriculum is appropriate for middle school students, our valid learning progression has been extended through high-school level content. This means that for those students ready to move ahead, they have appropriate material to continue their learning journey. Additionally, while content for elementary students includes youthful animation and oversized text, middle school students can expect to find more mature, developmentally appropriate instruction, practice, and assessment.

Student Interface

It’s not enough to stop at the content itself—we were determined to make every part of the student experience in Exact Path feel mature enough for middle school learners. That is why we created an entirely new interface for our 6th-8th graders with a more advanced theme, navigation, and learner options. Middle school students have additional insight into the learning process in Exact Path being able to easily track their own progress, trophies earned, and challenges mastered in the My Rewards area. They also have the added ability to message their teachers with questions or for further clarification when they are working on their learning path outside of the classroom.

What powerful tools are available across Exact Path K-8?

Training educators and students on a new technology tool each year can be exhausting. As a robust K-8 solution, Exact Path supports educators and students with a unified experience such that all users are supported with a familiar reporting engine, motivational elements, and additional learning tasks to support their implementation year over year.

Year-over-Year Reporting

When we first contemplated the idea of Exact Path, it was critical that the program elevate meaningful data to measure growth and progress in such a way that it could continue to follow students throughout their academic careers. For this reason, educators can track students’ year over year, isolate grade level trends, and examine differences among demographic groups. All of these metrics help educators analyze learning trends, identify specific academic opportunities, and invest in professional development that will make the biggest impact.

Student Motivation

Starting as early as kindergarten, we believe it’s essential for students to monitor their own progress in order to build agency. That doesn’t change when students are promoted into middle school, which is why Exact Path incorporates Mastery Trophies to reward students as they tackle new skills. Additionally, learners can see what’s up next and set personalized learning goals.

To reward both grit and mastery, Exact Path also includes Teacher Challenges, which can be set by the educator and connected to classroom incentives. This goal-setting flexibility allows elementary educators to tie success to such rewards as visits to the treasure box, but gives middle school educators the option to pick a more appropriate prize like allowing students to choose the Pandora station for the day.

Teacher-Graded Activities

Teacher-Graded Activities allow educators to incorporate more opportunities to infuse reading and writing into their lesson plans and engage in project-based learning. These activities help all K-8 students fully demonstrate their understanding of specific reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. At the middle school level, they also have the added benefit of allowing educators to focus on developing students’ soft skills such as responsibility, teamwork, and time-management—all of which are essential to success at the high school level and in the real world beyond the classroom.

For us at Edmentum, we’re very excited to build on our commitments to simple technology, high-quality curriculum, actionable data, and customer success by expanding Exact Path’s assessments and content to serve K-8 students and educators. We’re looking forward to partnering with a broader group of educators to help personalize learning for even more students, and we can’t wait to see what kind of innovative ways Exact Path is implemented at the middle school level. We’re also dedicated to making continued enhancements and integrating customer feedback so that Exact Path can continue to evolve with you and your students. So, let us know what you think! Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter, and know that our education consultants, support team, and my own product management group is always available and happy to hear your comments.

Want to learn more about the exciting updates we made to Exact Path this summer? Check out everything that’s new for the 2017-18 school year!