4 Tips to Keep Students Learning This Summer with Exact Path
4 Tips to Keep Students Learning This Summer with Exact Path
Summer learning is an effective way to keep students moving forward and make sure they do not lose essential skills while school is paused. Whether you’re looking for a way to create a formal summer school program or let students autonomously work on their own schedule, we’re unpacking four tips to help you use Exact Path to avoid the summer learning slide!
1. Think It Through: To Assess or Not to Assess
One key to a successful Exact Path implementation over the summer months is making sure that your students have individualized learning paths that are at their learning level. The best way to do that is to start by administering Edmentum's adaptive diagnostic assessment. Use the assessment to benchmark specific strengths and needs across our entire K–12 learning progression and to confirm that learning will start in just the right place.
If you recently assessed students toward the close of the school year, and have a good idea of where learning should start already or you generally don't feel like you have time to assess, there are other options. For one, you can choose to auto-generate an on-grade learning path that reviews all skills from the grade level students just completed. This gives them an opportunity to revisit and reinforce everything they recently learned to support a successful start to the upcoming school year. Additionally, if you’d like to meet students where they are, you can check in with the Knowledge Map to see how they have been tracking during the previous school year. If things look good, let them keep cranking through their required skills during the summer months. Finally, you can manually edit learning paths by domain for small one-off tweaks.
If you’re looking for ways to allow students to address unfinished learning or acceleration needs from home, you can use the assessment with our at-home diagnostic administration guide! To prepare, you may want to carefully communicate to both students and parents just how this assessment works. Remember that a computer-adaptive test is not about earning a score of 100 percent. Rather, it is about figuring out what students know and don’t know so that instruction begins at the right level. That means, family members or guardians, if you’re helping your child through a particularly tough problem, you’re actually negatively affecting their learning path. Encourage students to make their best guess when they need to. The testing algorithm will adapt in real time to deliver appropriate questions that zero in on each student’s strengths and needs.
If you’re leveraging data from one of our assessment partners—NWEA or Renaissance—ensure that spring testing is complete so that students can start working right away. Remember that each fresh assessment administration means that students have the opportunity to receive an updated learning path, ensuring that the curriculum they’re set to work on is the best fit for their unique academic needs.
2. Set Up Summer Challenges
A little friendly competition goes a long way. If you’re looking to keep things interesting over the summer months, consider setting up Challenges for your students in Exact Path. If you’re not familiar with this feature, Challenges allow teachers to define and set customized goals for specific learners or classes. These goals can be based on time-on-task or skill mastery to encourage engagement in a variety of ways. Students can monitor what Challenges they have to work on and watch their Challenge Badges accumulate as they meet each learning goal. You also may want to check out our Exact Path contest toolkit for tips and guidance to create your own summer learning competition using built-in Challenges and Trophies as your guide.
To keep engagement steady throughout the summer, try setting up weekly Challenges so that students have small, achievable goals that reset frequently. Another option for this feature is to add a little something to help sweeten the deal—you can actually customize any sort of prize you might want to tie in to earning Challenge Badges.
For in-person summer programs, celebrate students’ accomplishments and allow them to show off their certificates earned for each Badge they have acquired. If summer learning is happening in a less structured, more self-directed environment, work with teachers in the next grade level to help follow up on learning gains made over the summer and consider partnering on incentives that can be given out when school resumes. This flexible feature allows you to decide what level of encouragement your students need to achieve success.
3. Build Assignments
While your students will automatically have on-target content to work on in their learning paths, layering in Assignments will give you the ability to ensure that your learners focus on specific standards and skills that you think are important during the summer months. Use this feature to ensure that students can engage with curriculum for the next grade level, or conversely, use Assignments to help address unfinished learning and remediate skill gaps. Either path you choose, the Assignments feature allows you to search for lessons, teaching videos, and printable worksheets by skill or standard.
4. Create Family Buy-In
So, how do you make sure that your grand plans for summer learning aren’t all for naught? Gain buy-in from families, of course! Once you’ve outlined your expectations or recommendations for students over the summer, communicate them ahead of time to your students’ families. Help parents and guardians understand that interruptions to learning over the past few school years only further confirm the need for summer acceleration and enrichment—and not just for struggling students, but for all. Try sending home our editable summer learning parent letter in English or Spanish! You can even customize it to add in your own suggested summer plan or incentives for staying on track.
We also recommend checking in with parents to assess their access to technology during the summer months. For students with limited options, you might consider customizing printable packets to support learning. Edmentum’s free worksheet bundles are a nice place to start!
For more tips to continue student’s learning at home with Exact Path, check out our blog post, [Sample Schedules] Four Ways to Organize Your In-Person or Virtual Summer Learning Program with Exact Path.
This post was originally published on May 2018 by Madison Michell and has been updated.