How I Use It
Our building uses this online software as a remediation tool for low performing students on the PA state exam. We have found that when students are assigned a grade appropriate pathway then results on building benchmark exams has improved. The key to the program is identifying and placing the student in the appropriate pathway. For example, when I used this program last year in my pre-algebra classes I made the mistake of placing students in the 7th grade PA Core Standards pathway. Unfortunately, many students were well below grade level and this pathway wasn't appropriate to achieve a positive outcome. Many students became increasingly discouraged because they weren't earning any points or passing lessons(points that would lead to a pizza party sponsored by the TTM company.) Once I reassigned a student(s) to a lower grade level pathway he/she found greater success.
Since the state of PA is now using a growth model to determine student and teacher performance we are looking into using this program with our advanced students who are not showing the same growth as lower achieving students.
This is a great product and our building has found marked improvement with our lower achieving students on district benchmark and state exams. I like the fact that it is aligned to the PA Core Standards, it can be used outside of school hours, students can access a REAL teacher online for additional help, and it provides extrinsic motivation in the form of class gift cards from companies such as Subway, Wal-Mart, and Pizza Hut. The students really enjoyed earning points to receive a reward. In addition, I tried to encourage students to donate some of the points they earned to a charity. The TTM company will give money to charities if a student "donates" his/her points to a particular charity of the student's choice.
I provided the option for my 7th grade Algebra I students to complete the Algebra I Keystone Exam pathway for the purpose of preparing for the Keystone exams. Unfortunately, since it was optional, and only a few students worked on the pathway, I don't have enough data to determine if it impacted performance on the PA Algebra I Keystone exam.