Math Intervention and the Promise of Adaptive Learning

America’s schools are underperforming in math education; many students are not reaching the level of mathematical proficiency needed to excel in school or in the workplace. A consensus has emerged that corrective reform and innovation is necessary to reverse this trend. Pedagogical models that address the needs of individual students are gaining broader acceptance. The necessary gains in math proficiency can only be achieved if instruction is streamlined to target the unique learning profile of each student: comprehension, skill level, learning style, and strategies for processing thought.

As part of this effort schools use data to identify students who are not making adequate progress in the core curriculum and are at risk for poor learning outcomes, and to provide interventions that are appropriate to a student’s level of need and responsiveness. The widespread use of this ‘Response to Intervention’ (RTI) model is supporting the move toward intervention that is provides an instructional path that will most effectively improve math proficiency for each individual student.

“Adaptive learning” is a promising approach that fits within the Response to Intervention model. It actually goes far beyond the expectation of intermittent assessment and adjustments to instruction. Formative assessments throughout the learning process help shape that process. In real-time, every mouse click is tracked to gain insight into student strategies. Then, based on that insight, individual learning paths are dynamically created to guide the student through the curriculum.

Current Influences on Math Intervention

  • Mandating proficiency with No Child Left Behind
  • Establishing consistency with math standards
  • Addressing diversity with IDEA.
  • Identifying risk with RTI.
  • Tier I – Core instruction
  • Tier II – Supplemental instruction
  • Tier III – Intensive interventions and comprehensive evaluation

The Importance of Math Proficiency

Funding for RTI programs

Challenges to Successful Math Intervention

  • Class size
  • Lack of resources
  • Lack of time
  • Need for individualized student instruction
  • Lack of subject-specific expertise among teachers

Assumptions for Effective Math Pedagogy

Solution: Adaptive Learning for Math