“I think of it like this: Everybody needs shoes. But if you give everybody in a fourth-grade class size ten shoes, that’s not equity—not everybody wears size ten. Math lessons are similar, everybody needs to know the standards but they may need to learn them differently. That’s what Levered does."
Many of Ruiz’s ELL students are pulling what she calls “double weight.” She says, “Not only are they learning the language but at the same time they’re learning the content.”
Levered’s integrated strategies support SDAIE—an approach focused on teaching academic content to ELL students—without watering down the instruction. The platform provides students with access to core content in standards-based language. “Students can see examples. Text can be read to them. They can click on a glossary or watch a video,” says Ruiz. “There are so many functions that support English language learners.”
Thanks to those supports, Ruiz’s fourth grade ELL students improved their scores on the state math test by more than 60 percent. “It was phenomenal to see!” she says.
As students make their way through the interactive curriculum at their own speed, teachers can monitor each student’s progress on a dashboard. The platform will continue to offer relevant math problems as a student moves toward mastery. If a student is struggling, the teacher is notified through the dashboard and can immediately intervene. Teachers can then meet with students in small groups, using the platform’s data to differentiate based on language ability, math ability or both.
Students performing at all four levels of the CAASPP standards—i.e. exceeds, meets, nearly meets and does not meet—have seen growth in their learning. Students’ attitudes toward and engagement in math has also skyrocketed. A pilot study at Chula Vista found that 76% of fourth-grade students felt Levered made it easier for them to learn new ideas in math class, and 78% reported that they wanted to use the curriculum the following school year. In addition, 100% of teachers reported that their students developed more confidence in math while using the platform.
Teachers work closely with students through whole-class opening lessons, small group lessons informed by dashboard data, and one-on-one interactions with specific students.
In a school with a high ELL population, a blended approach to learning is critical because it “provides students with an opportunity to meet the state’s speaking and listening standards,” says Ruiz. “They have dialogue and discussion connected to both real-world experiences and the standards.” She adds, “With Levered, students get the discussion piece, the collaboration piece, the listening piece and the processing piece that enhances those speaking abilities.”
Ruiz says the platform’s differentiation, adaptive learning, and teacher dashboard data combine to offer her students one key benefit: equity. She believes that the adaptive program “provides kids with equitable opportunities for access and multiple opportunities for learning success.” What’s more, “it challenges every student, whether you’re a high achieving student exceeding expectations on the state test or you haven’t met expectations and you need scaffolds to move you along.”