Is your PD missing this key element?

The importance of professional development in education cannot be overstated. In fact, according to research, when teachers receive well-designed professional development, an average of 49 hours spread over six to 12 months, they can increase student achievement by as much as 21 percentile points.

Yet, professional development is often overlooked and considered an afterthought—especially with pressing concerns around students’ mental health and well-being, gaps in reading and math skills, and so much more. The COVID-19 pandemic shook up professional development, encouraging schools and districts to rethink what this process looks like and how to best set their educators up for success and, in turn, their students.

At Waxahachie ISD in Texas, we’ve implemented professional development through the use of video, and lean on self-reflection and personalization that is naturally part of the video process to transform how our educators learn, collaborate and grow.…Read More

3 ways to prepare for rigorous math learning

While students across all grades have shown growth during the pandemic-related learning disruptions, that growth hasn’t kept pace with what we’d expect to see in a typical year. According to the most recent data, students in grades 2–8 have fallen an average of 11 percentile points below typical year expectations in math.

In terms of instructional time, it will take approximately 11 weeks to make up that lost ground, though it varies widely from grade to grade. Recouping an 11-percentile point drop in 2nd grade, for example, will require an estimated five weeks, while covering a similar drop in 6th grade will take more like 15 weeks.

The issue is that the math skills we expect students to master do not always increase linearly in terms of difficulty. If math standards and skills are a staircase, most of them are short, relatively uniform steps up—but every once in a while, we expect students to take big leaps in understanding and ability.…Read More

Newark Board of Ed, Prudential Financial, and Discovery Education Launch Partnership Supporting Academic Achievement

The Newark Board of Education (NBOE) has joined forces with Prudential FinancialSchools That Can, and Discovery Education to create an innovative public-private partnership that supports student academic achievement and builds confidence in math skills through a unique suite of dynamic digital resources.

Through this new collaboration, NBOE’s educators, students, and families in grades K-12 are empowered with exciting digital resources, standards-aligned activities, and vetted, high-quality content carefully curated by grade level. These new digital resources will play a critical role in continuing each students’ academic progress on any device, whether at home or in the classroom.

Among the resources now available to NBOE’s teachers and students is Discovery Education ExperienceExperience – Discovery Education’s flexible, award-winning K-12 learning platform connects educators to a vast collection of compelling high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, and professional learning resources. Together, these resources give educators what they need to facilitate instruction in any learning environment, with the ultimate goal of generating long-lasting educational impact.…Read More

Texthelp Launches WriQ to Automate and Standardize Writing Assessment

Texthelp®, a leading education technology company focused on helping learners of all ages and abilities improve their reading, writing, and math skills, today announced the launch of WriQ®, a cloud-based writing assessment and achievement tool. Using a powerful and proprietary computer algorithm, WriQ automates and standardizes the assessment of student writing against national norms, evaluating each student’s writing across a number of criteria. As a result, teachers are able to quickly assess writing proficiency and provide students with specific and personalized feedback.

In conjunction with the launch of WriQ, Texthelp also released a new report, “Lockdown and beyond: Learning in a changing landscape,” developed with ImpactED. It highlights a number of key challenges for U.S. educators in light of the pandemic, including the scale of disruption; the rapid move to online teaching; the need for teacher support; mass learning loss; and a decrease in student motivation.

The report analyzed U.S. education research, finding that approximately 29 percent of students stated that they were “not engaged” before the COVID-19 lockdown. At the beginning of May 2020, 80 percent of teachers said that student motivation was lower than it had been pre-lockdown. Notably, the report also highlighted the potential for a widening of existing achievement gaps of up to 15-20 percent. It concludes that research-based tools that encourage engagement through real-time feedback and gamification, as well as provide student autonomy, will likely have the best impact on both student outcomes and teacher workloads.…Read More

McGraw Hill Offers Learners Two-Month Free Trial of ALEKS MathReady to Help Combat ‘COVID Slide’

In an effort to help ensure that students are prepared for fall classes, McGraw Hill is offering new customers a free two-month trial of its ALEKS MathReady program, allowing current and rising college-age students and others to refresh their math skills efficiently and effectively. First launched in June, ALEKS MathReady is a new, direct-to-consumer version of McGraw Hill’s personalized ALEKS program, which helps support millions of K-12 and college students each year. The special free-access offer for ALEKS MathReady is available now through October 18, 2020 and subscriptions will automatically renew on a monthly basis at a rate of $19.95/month.*

“Now more than ever, students need access to the tools and resources that can help them succeed in their college courses – and for many current and rising college students, ALEKS MathReady is precisely the tool that they need,” said Kathleen McMahon, VP of Portfolio Management for Science, Engineering & Mathematics at McGraw Hill. “Faculty and school administrators face significant instructional challenges this fall, as the learning disruptions due to COVID-19 leave students at varied levels of preparation when they start the fall term. Because MathReady can target each individual’s knowledge and put them on a personalized path to success, we can help level the playing field in math for all students – and not just those that can afford it – through this free offer.”

For more information about ALEKS MathReady or to sign up for free trial access and $19.95/month after, visit:…Read More

Free Math Program for iOS and Android

In response to the demand for learning at home, Bedtime Math has taken their research-proven after-school math club activities and presenting them for families to use for free.  Bedtime Math’s mission is simple: to make math a fun, natural part of kids’ everyday lives, just like the bedtime story. Bedtime Math is offing their Bedtime Math app for free, and it is available on iOS and Android. Every day, they deliver a fun new math problem for parents and kids to explore numbers in real life together. Plus, studies have shown it’s proven to improve kids’ math skills.

Bedtime Math is a national nonprofit that ignites kids’ curiosity and learning by unleashing the fun in math. It offers playful online math problems for parents to do with their kids every day, as well as lively hands-on games. Research has shown that both offerings reduce kids’ math anxiety, increase their love of math, and lay the groundwork for greater math achievement. For more information, visit

…Read More

App of the Week: Eat your way to basic math skills

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated with help from Graphite by Common Sense Media. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? DragonBox Numbers surreptitiously introduces kids to basic number concepts through puzzles, challenges, and free play. “Nooms” represent each number from 1 to 10. Kids can stack Nooms, have them “eat” each other and turn into different Nooms (for example, 3 eats 5 and becomes 8), or slice them into smaller Nooms. In the sandbox, kids freely experiment with the Nooms against a number line. In “ladder,” kids build a Noom to reach a star on a number line, which gets more challenging as they want to avoid or pass through certain points along the way. In “puzzles,” kids create pictures using the Nooms in certain ways. All activities earn coins that kids can use to “buy” more levels.

Rating: 4/5…Read More

Research: Digital media could aid early math skills

Study of early learners reveals media content from the show PEG + CAT could help improve children’s critical math skills

math-skillsChildren who used media content from PBS KIDS’ series PEG + CAT showed improvement in critical math areas involving ordinal numbers, spatial relationships, and 3-D shapes, according to researchers at EDC and SRI International.

Parents and caregivers also showed greater comfort and confidence in supporting their children with math concepts and problem-solving strategies.

The randomized Ready To Learn study was based on a sample of 197 children ages 4 to 5 years old, primarily from low-income families, in New York City and the San Francisco Bay area.…Read More