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4 Tips to Keep Students Learning This Summer with Exact Path

4 Tips to Keep Students Learning This Summer with Exact Path

This June and July, summer learning might look a little different than it has in years past. For starters, school closures and continued disruptions to learning due to coronavirus have rendered brick-and-mortar summer school programs mostly nonexistent. In their absence, what are your options for providing students with continued academic support? Whether you’re looking for a way to let students autonomously work on their own schedule or create a teacher-directed virtual summer learning program, 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. While schools are closed, you may not deem it appropriate to administer the diagnostic assessment. If that’s the case for you, there are a few options. For one, you can use the Knowledge Map to check in on how students are tracking. If things look good, let them keep cranking through their required skills throughout the summer months. You could also edit their learning path by domain for small one-off tweaks. Want some whole-sale changes based on their grade level? Create a new testing window (this may require also creating a new academic year) and then auto-generate on grade-level learning paths for your students (no assessment required). This gives them an opportunity to review and reinforce everything they learned from the past year so students are ready to go in the fall.

Considering using the assessment in a virtual setting? It can be done! To prepare, you may want to carefully communicate to both students and parents just how this assessment works. Remember, a computer-adaptive test is not about getting 100%. Rather, it is about figuring out what students know and don’t know so instruction begins at the right level. That means, mom and dad, if you’re helping your child through a particularly tough problem, you’re actually negatively affecting their eventual 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 spring testing is complete so students can start working right away. Remember, 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 at just the right level for their unique academic needs.

  1. Set Up Summer Challenges

One way that you can keep things interesting over the summer months is to set 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 multiple ways. Students can monitor what Challenges they have to work on and watch their Challenge Badges accumulate as they meet each learning goal.

Try setting up weekly Challenges so that students have small, achievable goals that reset frequently. Another option for this feature is the ability to add a little something to help sweeten the deal—that is to say, you can actually customize any sort of prize you might want to tie in to earning Challenge Badges. If you plan on meeting with students virtually throughout the summer, celebrate their accomplishments and 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.

  1. Build Assignments

Your students will automatically have just-right content to work on in their learning paths, but when you also layer in assignments, you gain the ability to ensure that your learners focus on specific topics and skills that you think are important during the summer months. Use assignments to ensure that students can preview curriculum for the next grade level, or conversely, in response to recent events, use them to help students review the current school year’s content and mitigate specific learning gaps tied to on-grade curriculum expectations. Either path you choose, the assignments feature allows you to search for lessons, teaching videos, and printable worksheets by skill or standard.

  1. Gain Parent Support

So, how do you make sure that your grand plans for summer learning aren’t all for naught? Gain buy-in from parents, of course! Once you’ve outlined your expectations or recommendations for students over the summer, communicate them to your students’ families. Help parents understand that interruptions to learning this year only further confirm the need for additional summer learning options—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!

Want to learn more about how you can use Exact Path to provide continuous learning opportunities during the summer months? Watch our recent webinar: Summer Virtual Learning with Exact Path.

Are you interested in similar resources for our other online learning programs? Check out our summer learning blog posts for Edmentum CoursewareEdOptions AcademyStudy Island, and Reading Eggs!

This post was originally published on May 2, 2018

madison.michell's picture

Madison Michell has been a member of the Edmentum team since 2014 and currently serves as a Marketing Manager. As a former Kindergarten and 3rd grade teacher during her time as a Teach For America corps member, she believes education truly has the power to transform lives. She is passionate about connecting educators with online programs, best practices, and research that improve teaching and learning for today's students.