Introducing Edmentum’s New Accelerate Courses
Introducing Edmentum’s New Accelerate Courses
At the beginning of every school year, students return to learn with varying levels of readiness, and this year, the summer slide coupled with learning loss due to COVID-19 school closures mean wider and more varied skill gaps. To help educators address learning loss and prepare students to achieve success in high school math and ELA, Edmentum is introducing accelerate courses, available through Courseware.
These mini courses are expected to take anywhere from 5–9 weeks to complete and allow students to accelerate to high school math (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2) and ELA (English 9-12) content, by providing direct instruction on essential skills.
In this post, we’ll take a deeper look into the learning design behind these courses and three ways accelerate courses can be implemented to support student achievement.
Accelerate courses are built based on Courseware’s Foundational Learning Design Principles:
Accelerate courses are shorter in length, as they only focus on the essential skills students need to succeed. Individualized support is provided by pretests and posttests, so the focus of these courses remains on learning mastery at the students’ own pace. Each course begins with a pretest, and students are able to exempt out of content for which they can demonstrate mastery. This creates an individualized experience and means that students can focus on their knowledge gaps without having to retake content they already understand. Mastery tests in each module help students know whether they are ready to move on or need further review. Each mini course ends with a posttest that provides a comprehensive measure of mastery and allows students to reflect on their own progress.
The accelerate to math courses focus on prerequisite skills and provide explicit instruction on critical skills students need to succeed in upcoming high school math courses. The accelerate to ELA courses are designed to give students extra opportunities to hone skills necessary to be successful in high school ELA courses by actively engaging them in both critical reading and writing skills.
Instructional scaffolding facilitates moving students toward more challenging content material, while still providing instructional support along the way. One of the ways accelerate courses provide scaffolding is through guided notes available to students with each module. Answer keys to the guided notes are available to instructors so they can support students as they work on this resource. Other resources available to students include: a dictionary, a translation tool, a glossary, and audio supports. Read more about the accommodation features Courseware offers.
Active, Engaging Learning
Students will find these mini courses engaging, as they will be asked to actively respond to and manipulate information presented to them within each module, building their understanding of key concepts that will later help them in future courses.
3 Ways to Implement Accelerate Courses
An important aspect of accelerate courses is how flexibly they can be implemented to serve educator and student instructional needs.
Accelerate courses before standard coursework
One way to implement accelerate courses is to assign them to students before they begin their current coursework, ensuring all students master the prerequisite skills needed to be successful in that class. For example, students in an Algebra 1 class could start by taking the accelerate to Algebra 1 mini course, beginning with a pretest which will exempt them from content they already understand. This way, students can individually focus on content they have yet to master. Data gathered from the pretests and posttests can help instructors determine whether they should plan small group sessions or provide one-on-one instructional support to make sure the class is ready for Algebra 1 content.
Accelerate courses alongside current coursework
Another way to utilize accelerate courses is to have students complete them concurrently with their standard coursework. An instructor could assign an accelerate course at the beginning of the school year and at certain times of the year, have students work on specific modules to prepare them for what will be taught in an upcoming lesson, unit, or grading period.
Accelerate courses during summer school bootcamp
Accelerate courses are not only helpful during the school year as a tool for instruction, intervention, and remediation, they can also be used during the summer to prepare students to transition to the next grade level. The summer bootcamp format gives instructors the ability to control the pace of lesson completion while providing small group instruction or even opportunities for students to collaborate and practice key skills.
Looking for resources to mitigate learning losses and address skill gaps for grades K-8? Check out Exact Path!
For more information on how to maximize learning outcomes when reopening schools after COVID-19 closures, take a look at Edmentum's Start Smart white paper for insights, research, and recommendations.