This student has always been a bright child in the eyes of Grade A! tutors, but her report cards indicated she was satisfactory, not particularly exceptional. After being assigned to work with a doctoral math student, she changed. She started “talking” math. She received awards from Grade A! for the highest number of minutes spent on the Khan Academy math program and for excelling into the Khan math program two levels higher than her school grade level. Her STAR standardized math test showed a jump into the 92% range and held steady for several months. Her mom indicated her teacher wanted to have her tested for the gifted program. She is the only student in Grade A! who has completed the Hour of Code (computer programming) course, which she convinced her teacher to allow her to do at school as she was already enrolled in the Khan program through Grade A! and just needed access to a computer to do it. (See photo; she’s with her tutor.)
At the end of the 2014-2015 school year, this student couldn’t remember her multiplication tables and became stressed and riddled with anxiety to the point of tears. Her teacher asked the student's father to help her work on it over the summer. Grade A! tutors focused on her fears, lack of confidence, and moved very slowly with her. They introduced her to the Khan Academy math program and utilized manipulatives so she could visualize the multiplication concepts. She felt ready when school opened in the fall of 2015. However, initial test results did not show much improvement from the end of the previous school year. Grade A! stayed the course and continued to work with her and by October her score had moved 15 points higher toward her total mastery goal. The teacher asked the student's father how he had done that! Her comprehension of multiplication meanings and facts and one digit numbers was at the 72% range, compared to a 45% range for adding and subtracting numbers. And oh, her confidence level was way up! (See photo)
This high schooler was enrolled in an Honors Geometry class as a sophomore in a class with all freshmen and was also the only African American student, began the class with a concern regarding these two facts. Grade A! recommended she sit in the front row and never look back. As a student whose baseline was to earn nothing less than A-, receiving a grade lower than that was devastating to her sense of confidence.
Grade A! obtained tutors from the MU Math graduate department who provided many hours of tutoring and coaching. She finished the course with a B-.
Grade A! learned that this was better than expected beause A! bright, capable students have gaps in their learning or a lack of testing knowledge that often works against them. There is not enough time to fill the gaps before the course is over or to teach the strategies for successful testing during the course.
Grade A! Math tutors have begun to work during the summer to tackle these two issues and we’re hoping for greater results with students who enroll next year. We have obtained the assistance of a math teacher to help shape an assessment and develop a study guide to help tutors and students become more successful!