Scaffolded, personalized learning experiences are key to addressing unfinished learning.
Intervention is on every educator’s mind this fall, and with good reason. Our students are likely to come back with unfinished learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So how can we more effectively scaffold instruction and make sure that every student has the exact support they need to be successful?
The Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a framework designed to give students that support through:
Let’s look at the experience of a typical student, Amy, whose 8th grade math class meets 2nd period. Amy, along with her classmates, begins the school year by taking an assessment to provide a picture of what grade-level competencies she possesses. Amy’s results show that she is two grade levels below in algebra and algebraic thinking, which means she may lack a sound understanding of the relationship between factors and multiples. Or, she may not be fluent with multiplication and division facts. Amy’s teacher can’t discern from the assessment report exactly why Amy struggles with algebra and algebraic thinking.
Amy’s teacher uses the class and individual results to plan whole-class instruction, and she prepares to scaffold certain activities, anticipating that the cognitive demand might be too complex for some students, like Amy. This “just-in-case” approach is not exacting enough, however, because Amy’s discrete math skill gaps are not clearly identified.
Since Amy’s competency is below grade level, Amy receives supplemental math instruction at school, aimed at building targeted math skills connected to algebra and algebraic thinking. This instruction, termed Tier 2, typically lasts 20-40 minutes several times a week. In this class, she is asked to login to a new software specifically for intervention. This software is not connected to the experience she is having in Tier 1, leading to a confusing, disjointed experience. Amy will wallow in lower-level work, not making valuable progress toward grade-level mastery and getting further behind. Her Tier 1 teacher may have no insight into what she’s working on or how she’s doing in Tier 2.
It doesn’t have to be this way, and with the stakes so high this year, it shouldn’t!
Here’s an alternate scenario:
In Amy’s Tier 1 class, her teacher guides and facilitates learning on grade level. Amy is given opportunities to work collaboratively with her peers and her teacher is able to successfully scaffold the content for her and her classmates. Amy also uses MATHia to learn individually in her math lab and at home. MATHia analyzes her problem-solving process to understand why she is struggling with algebra and algebraic thinking, and gives her the exact support she needs to overcome this gap. She is able to continue to learn at grade-level while addressing her specific gaps as they come up.
(How do we know this works? Our analysis of data collected from almost 100,000 students using MATHia shows that most students are able to complete grade-level material if they’re given appropriate support to do so.)
When Amy goes to Tier 2, she continues to work in MATHia, giving her a consistent experience and giving both her teacher and interventionist more complete insight into her progress.
The difference here is using a blended math solution for both tiers that:
The truth is, effective intervention is not quick or easy. It takes time and dedication to help students achieve everything they are capable of. We are committed to giving you the highest quality resources to support you in this critically important endeavor.
Anella Wetter is a Regional Vice President at Carnegie Learning and is responsible for creating successful partnerships with state education agencies and school districts across a quarter of the United States. She holds an M.Ed. and a K-12 teaching certificate in New York state. An avid reader, writer, and thinker, Anella believes that the most basic tool available to a society to reimagine itself is the education of its children. She aspires to personally challenge K-12 leaders to be brave, to create a legacy, and to NOT settle for the way it’s been done before.Explore more related to this author
Effective intervention is not quick or easy. It takes time and dedication to help students achieve everything they are capable of.
Anella Wetter, Regional Vice President, Carnegie Learning