8th Grade Math Facilitator
I am an 8th grade math teacher at C.I.S. 339 in the South Bronx. Our school is a part of a program called iTeach/iLearn. This program provides laptops for schools with the objectives of increasing student engagement, providing equitable resources that enrich learning for both teachers and students, increasing collaboration among teachers and students, and improving communication within all aspects of the school (teachers, students, administration, and parents). In the 2007-2008 school year our iTeach/iLearn program was not fully running a true 1-to-1 laptop initiative school wide, however the 8th grade students had 1-to-1 laptop accessibility.
Our school is also currently on the New York City School Under Registration Review (SURR) List. When I entered C.I.S. 339 in the fall of 2006, 50% of our students were performing at a Level 1. Teachers identified that a major area of weakness in our students had been their foundational skills. In order to teach them grade level objectives we needed to simultaneously build these skills so that they were able to tackle grade level tasks. Teachers and administrators examined many different skills programs both textbook and internet based. It was through this intensive process that I came to learn about Mathscore.
Mathscore has dramatically helped to improve not only our students' foundational skills but also supplement and reinforce grade level concepts. Mathscore is user friendly both for students and teachers. The reports generated allow teachers to see where students are still weak and therefore can accommodate those needs within the classroom. It allows for individualized differentiation specific for each student that would otherwise be extremely challenging in a classroom.
Another key component of Mathscore is that is has allowed transparent communication with parents. By using the e-mail function any parent with e-mail access can receive daily or weekly reports of their child's progress. It has deepened the discussions between teachers, parents, and students by providing a common language and easy-to-read reports. Parents are now able to monitor student progress from home, which has increased their knowledge and involvement in their child's learning.
Students enjoy the game-like dynamics of Mathscore, always attempting to accumulate points (which they receive for mastery of objectives) in order to obtain a higher rank. Students are able to track their own learning and teachers have easy access to breakdown of student data, class data, and even specific topic data. It easily allows students to take ownership over their own learning and to progress at an individualized pace without an abundance of extra work for the teachers.
While I personally enjoyed using Mathscore over the course of last year and received a lot of positive feedback from both students and teachers, the question from many was did it actually improve student achievement? Many teachers saw dramatic improvement of foundational skills within their individual classrooms after the use of Mathscore. Students also responded more positively to skills work than they had in previous years where they had been completing countless worksheets. While the in classroom reports have been tremendous, we have also seen a significant increase in student performance on the state test.
Year Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 2007 33% 52% 14.9% .1% 2008 16% 44% 36% 4%
Mathscore has been an integral part in helping change the mathematical landscape of our school. It has increased student engagement, differentiation, and has allowed teachers to help use data to drive their instruction as well as using data to set individualized goals for each student. Most importantly it has given students the tools necessary to take ownership over their own learning. I look forward to continuing the use of Mathscore not only in the 8th grade but also school wide.