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Education related articles found by Alpha staff that are worth passing along to parents. This list is updated weekly.

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Instead of fixing public education, the left tries to end testing at schools it deems inequitable.


You can feel the excitement in the building each time MAP testing comes around. Students have been working hard in their apps, and the MAP test is an opportunity for them to show their progress to their parents, their Guides, and — most importantly — themselves.

Alpha MAP Results

As a part of Alpha’s standard MAP testing process, we’re dedicated to transparently sharing information with Alpha families and the broader community. Here is a summary of our Fall 2020 MAP results:

Achievement Percentiles — All Alpha Students

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Compared to Other Schools

Parents often ask how Alpha’s results stack up against other schools. While MAP doesn’t provide data on specific other schools’ results, it shows us how our achievement compares to that of public schools and other private schools. Alpha students consistently outscore their peers at other schools in the…


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Alpha is not a typical school. Because we use adaptive learning apps, every student is able to progress along an individualized pathway at their own speed. Our approach provides a custom learning experience designed to address the unique needs of each student. The admissions process therefore, doesn’t follow the standard, “Take a test, provide a writing sample, send recommendation letters, wait half a year,” pattern that most private schools follow. We do things our own (wackier!) way around here.

Instead, Alpha’s admissions process focuses on metrics that matter — does a student demonstrate behaviors that are consistent with success at Alpha, the most important being coachability? …


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When the State of Texas required schools to close physical campuses, Alpha moved into “Alpha Anywhere,” a new, remote version of our program. Alpha Anywhere was a real-life test that required students to collectively demonstrate the life skills they’ve learned.

Life skills are one of the three commitments we make to families. Self agency, focus, and intensity are among our core life skills, and Alpha Anywhere particularly tested students in these areas. The asynchronous nature of remote schooling meant that successful academic performance relied on students being self-agents. The remote setting also required students to adapt to doing work at home while maintaining a high level of focus. …


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Let’s talk about Level 4.

While Alpha’s three commitments to love of school, 2x learning, and life skills will still steer our L4 program, we are adding additional commitments to make sure all L4 students can get into the best universities in the country.

L4 includes the following commitments:

  1. All students will achieve a 1500 or greater on the SAT
  2. All students will score a “5” on at least 3 AP tests
  3. All students will get into a top 20 university

Just as the three original commitments are the most ambitious goals for any primary/middle school in the country, these three new commitments are the most ambitious goals for any high school in America. …


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Students worked hard during Alpha Anywhere. Despite the physical campus closure in Sessions 4 and 5, Alpha students stayed focused on their core skills work. They not only kept pace with Session 3, but completed an average of 20% more lessons per week.

This effort made it even more important for students to have a chance to show their hard work and academic progress at the end of the year. While many schools declared remote MAP testing impractical — or even impossible — Alpha students closed out the school year with the Spring 2020 MAP test at home.

And we’re happy our students took the test, because their hard work showed in the…


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Alpha’s first promise to students and families is that kids will love coming to school. COVID-19 presented us with a new challenge: how can we maintain love of school when kids can’t come to school?

Our strategy for maintaining students’ love of school was outlined in our note to parents after the onset of the pandemic. Our approach was built on two pillars:

  1. Let students design their own schedule
  2. Leave academic coaching to students’ Guides, who held 1:1 video chats with every student every day

To measure our success or failure, we did what we always do: we asked kids directly for feedback on Alpha’s program. …


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Maybe I learned how numbers tell stories from baseball. I had the opportunity to go to a lot of baseball games as a kid. I’d score the game and marvel how the game was the perfect juxtaposition of individual and team, exact specifications and the idiosyncratic. But it was how all numbers worked together to tell the story of a game: Batting Avg, OPS, ERA, RBI, 90ft…

Alpha Session 4 statistics were excellent:

  • Minutes and productivity were consistent across all seven weeks
  • Session 4 productivity was approximately 20% higher as compared to Session 3
  • Average minutes increased dramatically in our youngest two cohorts (~250+ in LL; ~160+ in L1) as compared to…

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Let’s face it — most colleges and universities are set up like stationary cruise ships. Students are housed densely in cabin decks, buffet in communal dining rooms at the appointed hour, swap sweat on shared equipment in the fitness center, and rub shoulders on dance floors at night. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a worse set up for controlling the spread of virulent bugs like COVID-19 than that of the typical American university.

It’s no surprise, then, that America’s colleges were among the first institutions to initiate lockdown. Campuses were shuttered, students were sent packing, and classes moved online.

And while most schools hope to embark on a normal academic year come fall, their campuses will remain particularly susceptible to a coronavirus resurgence for the next few years. …


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After three hard charging weeks full of good work, we are the eve of the Session 4 midpoint. So, how is Alpha Anywhere going?

Students are matching or exceeding their on campus productivity:

  • Minutes are up 19% as compared to the first three weeks of Session 3
  • Students completed 19% more units (the term we use for chapters, lessons or topics) as compared to the first three weeks of Session 3
  • L3 students have completed 37% more units

Students have lots of feedback. We asked for verbal feedback and sent a one question survey to all students asking “What activities would you like to add to Alpha Anywhere?”

About

Alpha

K-12 private school serving students in Austin, Texas. We are a community that believes that success lies in hard work and innovation. www.go-alpha.org

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