From 67 to 100 Percent Proficiency in Math

Los Angeles Charter school math equity for disadvantaged and ELL students

Fast Facts

  • Location: Los Angles, CA
  • Approximately 4,200 total students
  • Grades K–12
  • 82% African American, 16% Hispanic,
    8% English language learners,
    9% special education
  • 83% Free/reduced lunch
  • 12 schools

DreamBox Implementation

  • Deployed since 2012 in one-class pilot
  • Since 2013, implemented in 5 ICEF elementary schools for all K–5 students
The kids are eager to use DreamBox every day, to unlock a new game or interactive environment. They like to see what games the other kids are working on and try to get to that lesson themselves.
Aziza Pavageau,

ICEM Vista Elementary,
Teacher

Blended Learning Drives Math Achievement

Challenge

Equal Access to Math Technology

ICEF is the first charter management organization in the Los Angeles, California area, operating 12 schools in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. More than 80 percent of their students are disadvantaged. However, through a commitment to blended learning, the organization realizes graduation rates of nearly 100 percent, and most of those students are accepted to college.

Although 67 percent proficiency would be impressive in many schools and districts, ICEF Vista Elementary second grade teacher Aziza Pavageau knew that her students were capable of much more enabled by the right blended learning tools.

Solution

Building Foundational Understanding

California has endured some of the most drastic cuts in education funding in the country. In 2012, ICEF Vista lost three teachers and two aids. Budgets have still not recovered, so Pavageau undertook a fundraising campaign to support the use of blended learning. The choice was clear when it came to selecting a curriculum solution, as DreamBox Learning had already been successful at ICEF Vista— especially among ELL students. “I knew that DreamBox particularly excelled at helping students develop number sense, which is key among my students. Some of them come to second grade without mastery of kindergarten math skills. Those gaps in foundational skills need to be filled before you can move forward.”

Implementation

Daily Use is Key for Best Results

Pavageau’s classroom implementation shows a true dedication to blended learning and to DreamBox. Three to four rotations are used during math time every day. These rotations include independent work, guided instruction, and remediation—all based around DreamBox’s adaptive learning capabilities. Each rotation lasts 15 to 25 minutes, equaling a minimum of an hour’s worth of work on DreamBox every week for each student.

“When we started using the program every day, I started seeing a real difference in their achievement that I don’t think would have happened with occasional use.”

—Aziza Pavageau, Teacher

In low SES schools like ICEF Vista, home use of online assets can be a challenge. Families simply lack the assets that allow students to work from home; however, five of Pavageau’s 26 students have logged significant time on DreamBox while at home. Pavageau also recognizes the power of DreamBox’s engaging, highly interactive environment to motivate her students and keep them focused. “The kids are eager to use DreamBox every day, to unlock a new game or interactive environment. They like to see what games the other kids are working on and try to get to that lesson themselves.” “I only allow the students to spend their token badges and coins on Fridays. The rest of the week, they are earning their rewards through completing lessons. I find that this strategy keeps the kids motivated to keep working, knowing that their reward is coming later.”

Results

Second Graders Succeed and Exceed

With the help of DreamBox, 100 percent of Pavageau’s students were judged proficient or advanced in math according to the 2013 California Standards Test. In the previous year, only 67 percent were rated as proficient or above.

“I don’t think that kind of success would have been possible without DreamBox,” she said.

Some individual success stories are equally impressive. One student entered Pavageau’s class with gaps in learning rooted in a lack of mastery of kindergarten concepts. By the end of the school year, she had mastered all of the second grade concepts—more than a year’s worth of math knowledge—as well as the appropriate progress for the current year; and it was all accomplished in less than one year. Another student who works on DreamBox from home was ready to start on the third grade curriculum in the middle of his second grade year. By the end, he was working on fourth grade concepts. After the success of the pilot, in 2013 ICEF implemented DreamBox in all 5 ICEF elementary schools for all K-5 students.

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