As students return to class this fall, K–12 teachers and administrators face many challenges—and math instruction is high on the list.
Although state assessment data from the 2021–2022 school year suggest that students have begun to close pandemic-related learning gaps, the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results reveal that students’ math scores dropped seven points—the first-ever score drop for math in the assessment’s fifty-year history.
Educators now face the daunting task of making up for lost instructional time from the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time, addressing drops in math achievement and teaching grade-level content. Where do educators start?
At Belle Fourche Middle School in South Dakota, we’re fortunate to be able to provide 50 extra minutes of math enrichment per day for the students who need it. We’re also using technology to provide highly targeted and personalized math instruction and practice for our students.
With these measures, we’re ensuring that students who have fallen behind in math make measurable gains so they achieve grade-level proficiency. Here’s our approach, and three key recommendations for educators as they seek to close the gaps in students’ math skills this year.
1. Get personal
Due to the disruptions to learning over the last few years, students are at different places in their learning trajectories. Using data to pinpoint each child’s specific skills ensures we are able to meet their unique learning needs.
At Belle Fourche, we utilize a math practice tool called Get More Math. This program uniquely tailors math practice sessions to each student based on their progress and comprehension of previously taught and newly introduced concepts. By personalizing the learning and practice process to each student’s needs, I can spend the valuable classroom time we have together directing my instruction accordingly.
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