Bridging the Gap – One middle school pushes the competency envelope

I learned today of a unique approach to the credit recovery style of filling in the curricular gaps a student might have, and I think it’s spot on as an innovation.

Students with one of our middle school partners who are advanced, but have only got access to middle school algebra 1 wanted to meet the algebra 1 high school pre-req so they could jump directly to geometry. Now pedagogically I asked what was the difference and learned that while Algebra 1 concepts are taught at middle school they do not generally get the breadth of coverage most high schools do.  Perhaps this is pedagogy, perhaps it is simply the way the year goes, I’m not sure why, but the feeling was and generally is that Algebra middle school was equivalent to about 0.75 credits of Algebra High School.

To bridge the gap for its students one of IVS’s school partners has adopted an innovative approach.  They have the students wishing to advance take Credit Recovery Algebra 1  through us.  The idea being that through pre-testing they pass out of what they mastered at the middle school course and can focus on the .25 of the class which they didn’t get to in middle school, thereby entering high school ready for Geometry.

I’m going to follow this case closely, I really hope its a success.  At the very least it’s a start at a sort of blended-competency model that I had never considered and am excited to see the results both in our course and in the successive Geometry course.

Motivating and Retaining Learners Online

Perhaps the number one problem in online learning after technology is keeping students going.  Motivating and retaining students is the difference between successful completions and a dissatisfied turned off learner.

While I don’t personally subscribe to the theory that we can motivate others (motivation in my mind is an intrinsic state), I do believe we can do things which break down barriers to motivation.  To that end I happened across this ebook which speaks to the topic of what we can do for our online students. Its an interesting take on applying good teaching methods to our digital learners.  Recommended summer read.

Adding Some Tec-Variety ebook on motivating and retaining learners online. Click to visit the book site.