SuccessMaker supports math success in Gwinnett elementary schools
Today’s elementary school student doesn’t remember a time when technology and computers weren’t a part of their school day. Not surprisingly, for these tech-savvy students, digital learning can be a powerful tool for increasing achievement in math.
For students in GCPS’ 66 elementary schools, SuccessMaker is a supplemental computer-based teaching tool that can be targeted to each child’s individual learning needs in both math and reading. Seventeen different math, reading, and spelling modules are available. The covered math concepts and skills include number operations, fractions, measurement, probability and statistics, decimals, geometry, word problems, and more.
SuccessMaker is used in a number of settings… with before-school clubs and after-school interventions, for enrichment activities for students achieving above grade level, and with summer school students. About a third of Gwinnett’s elementaries use the program more extensively. Struggling students use the program for at least 20 hours in both subject areas during the course of the school year. Data from their SuccessMaker sessions is used to forecast assessment results and identify needed interventions.
“We love SuccessMaker,” says Jackie Beasley, principal of Lilburn Elementary. “We find it’s useful for accelerating learning for students who need to be challenged academically, as well as helping children who are struggling with concepts to catch up with their classmates.”
The school’s technology coordinator, Jane Evans, says that the computer-based program helps teachers monitor students’ progress toward academic goals in preparation for the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (or CRCT), state tests taken in the spring and tied to promotion at some grades. She reports that the vast majority of students who reach their targeted level in SuccessMaker also are successful on the CRCT.
Here’s how it works… At the beginning of the year, a placement test determines the right starting level for each student. The program adapts automatically as the student masters skills or needs extra practice to become proficient. Students set their own pace and teachers can target specific learning objectives. Because the program has more than 3,300 hours of instruction at different levels and for different skills, this flexible learning tool can be used with a wide range of learners.
Based on results from targeted mini-assessments, teachers can identify areas of weakness where a child would benefit from additional classroom instruction or note academic strengths that indicate a child is ready to learn at a faster pace or higher level.
"SuccessMaker has proven to be a tremendous support to our students and teachers," says Chris Roudebush, technology coordinator at Stripling Elementary. "Teachers are enjoying the benefits of a one-to-one instructional ratio to provide struggling students with extra help while our students achieving at or above grade level have the opportunity to preview and learn skills not yet taught in the classroom. Since we began using the program in such a strategic fashion, our students' scores on the CRCT have increased significantly."
In addition, some schools use at-home kits so that students can continue using SuccessMaker after the school day ends. Their at-home practice is saved to their school history so they continue to log their progress. More than 60 kits are out on loan to Stripling families, Mr. Roudebush says. That at-home parent involvement helps ensure that student learning continues after the school day ends.
Click here for a preview of SuccessMaker math activities and here for resource links.