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How do you remediate—and gain almost 3 years of math learning in one year?

Elliot Sanchez has won a number of awards for his innovative work, most recently being named as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30 in Education”. His latest initiative is New Orleans-based mSchools, a revolutionary concept in math education. They partner with community-based afterschool programs and schools to turn free space into accredited, math remediation “microSchools.” The mSchool online platform leverages blended learning to help struggling students succeed in math in unprecedented ways.

Differentiation Through Adaptive Learning

Through his own teaching experience, Sanchez knew the only way to help students during the short timeframe offered by afterschool programs was to differentiate the learning experience for each student. “Adaptive software,” says Sanchez, “makes a huge impact in learner progress.” mSchools use adaptive technology within a blended learning environment to individually challenge every student, ninety-six percent of whom are from low income communities with the average student as many as four years behind their peers in math capability.

While most mSchool students are in Grades 8 through 10, the individualized content prescribed by the DreamBox system for those same students spans Grades 4 through 8—some of whom are four years behind expectation.

The mSchool Classroom

Under the mSchools model, there can be as many as 25 students in a classroom with up to three adults facilitating the learning. These guides help students navigate the program and provide the socioemotional learning curriculum mSchool believes is central to their students’ success: personal responsibility and love of independent learning. For the most part, math instruction is almost entirely student-driven through working with DreamBox on their connected devices. But for students to drive that education, they must be engaged. “We’ve used DreamBox with students that have not previously seen success in math. DreamBox is incredibly successful at helping these kids let down their guard—and the compelling gaming element is instrumental to their success.”

Almost 3 Years of Learning in One Year!

In just eighteen months of operation, the program has grown from one pilot location in a community center during the 2012–2013 school year, to more than 24 locations throughout Louisiana. This growth is because the mSchool formula—with the help of DreamBox—is working. In a longitudinal study completed last year that compared state assessment data from students who participated in an mSchool classroom with their counterparts in school who did not participate, the mSchool students made gains equivalent to 2.9 years of learning compared to what their cohorts learned in one full school year!

“DreamBox is one of our best tools. It forms the backbone of our curriculum for elementary and middle school students, and has been effective with high school students working at that level as well,” reports Sanchez.

To find out more about how DreamBox is powering the mSchool concept to unprecedented success, read our case study “Innovative Math Remediation: Closing Gaps for Profoundly Struggling Students”.