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Adaptive learning programs track student knowledge

It can be difficult to know when students are actually learning. Of course, we have standardized, homework, quizzes, tests, and projects to provide some clues – but how can teachers know that their students really, truly understand the material they’re being taught?

Preparing students for the demands they will face in college and 21st century workplaces has been at the core of developments in education over the last decade. Because the economic recession has meant growing class sizes and shrinking budgets for many school districts, it has been a struggle for teachers to track student progress and ensure that they’re grasping the concepts they need to before moving on to the next grade.

In order to assess student knowledge and track learning, many school districts have turned to adaptive learning technology. These programs go beyond previous attempts at integrating technology into the classroom – largely represented by students staring at a video of a teacher explaining a lesson – and interact with students while simultaneously analyzing their responses and adjusting instruction accordingly.

Adaptive learning programs are reshaping education by using real-time data analysis of students’ academic performances to give each child a personalized learning experience. Teachers, in turn, are able to access this data to monitor student progress and pinpoint areas where they may need a bit more individual attention.

Adaptive learning is one of the most revolutionary education reforms that have been undertaken to date. The integration of technology into the classroom is already well underway – it’s emphasized by both the Common Core State Standards and the U.S. Department of Education – but the question is whether or not the way it is used will improve student achievement. For instance, why use data to track student knowledge in the first place?

To begin with, adaptive learning programs make it possible to combine learning simultaneously with assessment, freeing up costly time and materials needed for formal testing and thereby maximizing the amount of class time devoted to mastering new concepts.

Secondly, monitoring student progress in a given subject area enables teachers to take data gathered by adaptive learning programs and apply it to their own instruction. Many educators choose to use adaptive learning technology as a supplement to their teaching, and rely upon the student data retrieved from those programs to inform their teaching and make as effective a use of classroom time as possible.

With many students across the country soon being expected to meet higher academic standards, adaptive learning programs aligned with the standards will help teachers monitor student progress toward these new goals. This, in turn, will enable teachers to make targeted lesson plans and share accurate data with parents about their child’s academic process.

Student data is increasingly being used as a means for developing more effective education models, and adaptive learning technology is leading the way.
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