Our philosophy here is simple: we think all kids can be great. We meet kids where they are in each subject, placing them on appropriate apps that fulfill our promise of 2X learning. The new continuum breaks down artificial content barriers between levels, so students can use the apps to progress as fast and as far as they want.
What specific problems are we trying to solve? While the 2018–2019 year represented a huge jump forward for Alpha, we noticed two recurring issues about our check chart and level advancement system:
- Parents and students did not understand what our creatively-named checks equated to in real-world terms. For example, a student was working on a “Number System” math check while being unaware that the check equated to fifth grade math content. Transparency is of the utmost importance to us, and our new academic continuum shows exactly what content the student is working on and the distance they have left to go to meet their long-term academic goals.
- The check chart and leveling up system led to an unintentional disincentive for students to spend time on their strongest subjects when they neared the end of a level. For instance, if a student had completed all of their Level 1 reading checks, some chose to spend all of their time on math and none of their time on reading, in order to advance to Level 2. We want all students working on all subjects every day. Our new system provides a built-in incentive for them to do so.
How are students placed on the continuum? Students’ placement is determined by their MAP scores and the academic work they’ve already done.
Does this change anything about the apps? No. We still rely fully on adaptive technology to maximize each student’s academic growth. Every subject in the continuum is supported by multiple adaptive apps.
We are excited to roll out this new change because we believe it supports our concept of student mastery and provides transparent understanding of students’ progress to parents, students, and guides.
The adoption of the academic continuum allows Alpha to appropriately adjust the levels to optimize for students’ learning and social development. Levels are now defined by age, reading MAP score and math MAP score. Level progression will be based on those three components as well as points earned from completing afternoon workshops and projects that focus on life skills.
Simple equation: level placement is determined by Age + MAP Math + MAP Reading + Life Skills.