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Providing Independent and Individualized Learning Opportunities with Study Island and Exact Path

Providing Independent and Individualized Learning Opportunities with Study Island and Exact Path

Tucson Country Day School (TCDS) began as a private summer camp in Tucson, Arizona. It later became a private school, and now, for the past 19 years, it has been serving Tucson students in grades K–8 as a public charter school. TCDS continues to grow every year, and with so many students at different learning levels, educators needed tools that would allow all students to learn independently at his or her own pace and on his or her own level in and out of the classroom.

TCDS began its partnership with Edmentum in 2017 when Jordan Krause, chief operations officer/principal, joined the school. A former administrator recommended Study Island, Edmentum’s formative assessment and practice program, because of a positive experience with the product in the past.

According to Mr. Krause, “It was kind of a no-brainer to bring that back on campus. Now, with that said, we’ve evolved [Study Island’s] use over the last couple of years.”

Standards Mastery and Practice

Students in grades 3–8 use Study Island for assessing mastery of the standards and for ongoing practice. Students access the programs in class regularly during small-group rotations for math and language arts and during their weekly computer lab time.

“I think one of the simplest features—that’s nice for teachers with Study Island—is simply the fact that students have access to all the standards,” said Mr. Krause. “It really allows a teacher to be able to assign tasks and create assignments unique to a students’ readiness.”

To keep students motivated to eventually earn 100 percent of the Blue Ribbons that denote mastery of a topic in Study Island, TCDS teachers created a fun, schoolwide, quarterly “Blue Ribbon Challenge”—both at the individual student level and at a classroom level. This contest serves to recognize students who have crossed into the 25-, 50-, 75-, and 100-percent “clubs,” based on the percentage of topics mastered. Individual student challenge winners are recognized during the morning flag ceremony, where they receive a button that represents the heart of the challenge—which many wear proudly pinned to their clothes or to their backpacks. The overall winning class celebrates with an “eegee’s party,” which is a local restaurant with frozen treats, and a trophy, which travels from room to room based on which class is winning the contest for that particular quarter.

“[Study Island] gives [teachers] a sense of security that students are interacting with the question types that are going to be seen in late April,” said Mr. Krause.

Individualized Learning

Students in grades 3–8 who are working below grade level or who need additional support also use Exact Path, Edmentum’s diagnostic assessment and individualized learning program. Exact Path provides an individualized learning path that meets students at their current learning level and provides instruction to help them move to where they need to be.

Students in grades K–2 use Exact Path as their primary online learning tool. Students take the adaptive diagnostic and work on their individualized learning paths throughout the school year. Every quarter, students retake Exact Path’s adaptive diagnostic assessment to assess progress and to recalibrate their learning paths. K–2 students use Exact Path during small-group rotations and during computer lab time, but home use of Exact Path is also promoted.

“Study Island is definitely accessible 24/7; our parents and students know that,” said Mr. Krause. “But, the difference is—with Exact Path, students are on a tailored learning path. So, it’s a tool that’s more accessible independently, without the guidance of a teacher.”

Success

Since implementing Study Island and Exact Path, students at TCDS now have more opportunities to work independently on learning activities that are just right for them while at school or at home. Now, students have practice tools and resources they need to continue mastery from home or anywhere else where they happen to have a mobile device. Educators have also been able to use these two programs to address learning gaps and intervention needs for struggling students.  

Additionally, TCDS educators have found that students are motivated to master standards thanks to the Blue Ribbon Challenge and the school’s commitment to celebrating students’ accomplishments.

Now, TCDS is working toward a more project-based approach to learning “so that learning is developed and reinforced through kids applying what they’re learning into something that has a greater purpose,” explained Mr. Krause.

In the meantime, Tucson Country Day School educators will continue to use Study Island and Exact Path to encourage independent learning and standards mastery and explore how they can incorporate these programs into their future project-based learning plans.

Interested in learning more about how other Arizona educators are seeing real growth with Edmentum programs? Check out how Gila Vista Junior High School in Yuma, AZ is using Courseware to create flexible learning solutions for their students!

Alexis.Brakebill's picture

Alexis graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She started working as a Marketing Associate for Edmentum in March 2018 and aspires to provide educators and students with resources that will make a difference in their day-to-day lives.

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