Using a combination of two Web-based programs -- My Big Campus and Khan Academy -- R.O. Hawkins Junior High School math teacher Christine Miller of Jackson is making inroads on improving her students' understanding of the often difficult subject.
Using the programs with 116 Jackson students in algebra A -- the first half of algebra I -- this year, Miller has found the number of children demonstrating an 80 percent or better level of mastery has "significantly increased" compared to last
year, as has student engagement.
The majority of her students achieved at least a C on their first test last year. However, last year, 66 percent scored at least an 80 percent on their first test. This year, 75 percent of my students scored at least an 80 percent on their first test, Miller said in am email.
Khan Academy is serving as a supplemental website where students can try their hand at higher math and improve their skills. It is a not-for-profit with a mission of providing "free world-class education for anyone, anywhere."
The approach also has freed her up from giving students as much extra help, allowing for deeper class discussions.
"At the junior high, we intervene when a student is missing assignments and/or not mastering objectives. We have established a culture with a goal of every student completing every assignment. With the use of technology
this year, my students have had more resources and quicker feedback, which has made fewer of those interventions necessary," said Miller, who also teaches geometry.
The math department also uses "delayed tests" as an intervention.
"We check up on students' mastery of the objectives as we go, before we ever reach the big unit test that is recorded for a grade. If a student is not displaying mastery of the objectives, instead of having them take a test
that they would most likely fail, we provide extra practice and extra help.
Then, we have them test at a later date that is more suited to their learning time frame. This year, more students have been able to stay on pace, making the number of those interventions drop significantly," Miller said.
Along with increased mastery, Miller said that with My Big Campus, her students have access to her lessons 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anywhere they can find Internet access.
"So, students can replay a lesson as many times as they need. Parents have been able to watch the lessons with their students and help at home. With the practice quizzes, students also get instant feedback about their mastery," Miller said.
Pertinent address: 210 Northwest Lane, Jackson, MO