How Much Time Should Students Be Spending in Exact Path?
How Much Time Should Students Be Spending in Exact Path?
This is the million-dollar question we hear over and over again—and for good reason! The time available in the school day is finite; every minute counts. Knowing just how many of those minutes should be devoted to making your Edmentum Exact Path implementation a success is important.
While there’s no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all answer, there are recommendations from our Learning Design experts. Let’s take a closer look at three ways that time spent in our K–12 diagnostic-driven learning path tool can maximize growth.
At Edmentum, we think about time spent in our programs as dosage, and the Exact Path dosage recommendations document is the place to go to dig into the details for ideal duration and frequency of usage. Here are the takeaways:
Your students can use the program for the optimal amount of time each week, but if that usage is divided between too many sessions, those disruptions are likely affecting learning. An investment of 20–30 minutes per session per subject area enables all K–8 learners to experience a coherent portion of instruction, practice, or assessment in one sitting.
Depending on the age of your students, determine what time window is appropriate. We also recommend building that stamina (especially for very young students) over time. Ensure that learners can successfully log in, know where to go next, and understand how to track their progress. Setting these intentional expectations will make program usage that much more impactful.
Stacey Knerr, math department supervisor at Cumberland Valley School District in Pennsylvania, shared that all her middle school students were using Exact Path every other day during their 44-minute study hall class periods in addition to using it in math class. The benefits of this approach are clear to her: “[Exact Path] was able to show us where those gaps were, and it was able to assign those [skills] through the learning path so that [the students] could make progress.”
Frequency Activates Prior Learning
In addition to considering duration, we also recommend setting a purposeful cadence for logging on. For students in grades K–5, a minimum of two sessions per week per subject activates learning that builds from one session to the next. Students are able to flex their recall muscles in the best way without too much time passing between sessions causing learning to be lost.
Dr. Brent Comer, superintendent at Mitchell Community Schools in Indiana, noted that at the elementary level, students work on their individualized learning paths 30 minutes a week per subject during ongoing learning stations, allowing educators to pull small groups for further targeted intervention. Whitney Pannebaker, 4th grade teacher at Burris Elementary School in the district, reported: “As students earn Trophies [for successfully mastering Exact Path skills], they would get a sticker to put on their chart. They get really excited about it, so getting my kids to be invested in it was really cool. It’s friendly competition, which is fun.”
Daily sessions are recommended for Grades 6–8, with considerations given for scheduling. In high school, this could take place in dedicated class periods, while middle schools often still have time in place for intervention, enrichment, or study hall. Think about your daily schedule to determine the appropriate fit for Exact Path that will still move the needle on academic success.
Learning Goals by Tier Prioritization
We know (and see quite often) how Exact Path can be used successfully to support all tiers of intervention. Implementation for tier 1 versus tier 2 and tier 3 learners, however, should look different.
At a general education tier 1 level, Exact Path is designed to support differentiation for all learners, filling gaps and reinforcing skills as needed. With implementation of 40–60 minutes per week per subject across grades K–8, educators can successfully target completing a grade level’s worth of work in one year.
Erin Rineberg, K–8 coordinator at California Pacific Charter Schools in California, reported that all students utilize Exact Path at least two total hours between math and reading learning paths every week to address skill gaps inside of their intervention program. She commented: “We've used [Exact Path] for several years, but we weren't utilizing it to its full potential. And [“in 2020–21], we've made it a key part of our instruction.”
At the tier 2 and tier 3 level, Exact Path learning is focused more on repairing foundations and filling gaps from previous years. With 90–150 minutes per week per subject in grades K–5 and 150–200 minutes per week per subject in grades 6–8, educators can target completing one and a half to two grade levels worth of work in a year.
Dr. Courtney Holley, the district MTSS (multi-tiered system of supports) director and school psychologist at Cook County Schools in Georgia, described her award-winning intervention program, which utilizes Exact Path at the center. Each grade level receives appropriate intervention three to five days a week depending on the grade level and tier 2 versus tier 3 qualification. Her goal: “I wanted to make sure we were monitoring these kids all the way through graduation and we were providing intervention if the intervention was needed. . . . We have loved it, and we’re excited about using it.”
Interested in more tips and strategies to augment your Exact Path implementation? Check out our Getting Started Resources page for videos, blog posts, and downloadable resources to take your program experience to the next level.