Since the state of Georgia launched the Georgia Performance Standards, schools have been working to enhance their instruction to help students achieve the rigorous expectations for student work. At least three Georgia school districts that integrate Classworks® comprehensive K-12 instructional software into their curriculum report that the targeted, standards-based instruction is an important factor in achieving success on the Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT).
Commerce City Schools, Buford City Schools and Barrow County Schools each import students’ CRCT scores into Classworks to create individualized learning paths for each student, based on his or her own scores. Since implementing Classworks, the Georgia districts have achieved gains on the CRCT and helped students become more engaged in the learning process.
Developed by Georgia-based Curriculum Advantage, Classworks provides individualized instruction in math, reading, language arts and science to help bring at-risk students to grade level proficiency, accelerate learning for mainstream students, and help English learners build fluency. It offers more than 17,000 activities drawn from 265 software titles.
Commerce City Schools
In 2006, Commerce City Schools began using the software to help students improve their performance in math and reading/English language arts. Currently all K-8 students, as well as English language learners (ELL) and special education students in grades 9-12, use Classworks. As part of the district’s Response to Intervention (RtI) model, students in Tiers 2 and 3 also work on customized Classworks assignments before and after school. From 2006 to 2009, the percentage of students performing at or above the proficient level on the CRCT rose from 81 to 91 percent in math, and from 90 to 96 percent in reading/English language arts.
According to Mona Haynes, director of instructional technology for Commerce City Schools, a key benefit of Classworks is that it allows each student to work at his or her own pace as they complete activities aligned to the GPS. “If students need extra help, they can receive remedial lessons in Classworks. Or if they complete and master the units in one subject area at their own grade level, they can begin working on the next grade level,” she said. “When students are working on Classworks, they are completely focused. It keeps students on task and that’s made a difference in their performance.”
Buford City Schools
In Buford City Schools, Buford Middle School and Buford Academy implement Classworks to provide individualized instruction to all students in grades 2-8. The schools also integrate Classworks across all four tiers of their RtI model. In addition, the district uses Classworks Language Learner Series in its Language Academy, a program for middle and high school students who do not speak English, to help students build fluency. Since 2006, the district has achieved gains on the CRCT in reading/English language arts and significantly reduced the number of special education referrals. During the 2008-09 school year, the district experienced a 39 percent decrease in special education referrals, and had a 55 percent decrease in the number of ELL students referred to special education.
“Our CRCT scores have steadily increased since we implemented Classworks at Buford Middle School and Buford Academy. Our administrators believe that taking a targeted and individualized approach to learning has been instrumental to our schools’ academic success,” said Lori McCoy, director of technology for Buford City Schools.
Barrow County Schools
Barrow County Schools implements Classworks in all 11 elementary and middle schools to improve student achievement in math. Bramlett Elementary began using Classworks in February 2009 to deliver interventions to targeted students. While Barrow County experienced gains on the CRCT district-wide, Bramlett Elementary achieved the greatest gains thanks to its intensive use of the software prior to the CRCT. From 2008 to 2009, math proficiency improved from 73 percent to 82 percent at Bramlett Elementary. Hispanic, ELL and economically disadvantaged students had double-digit gains in math proficiency. Students with disabilities had the largest gain—28.5 percentage points.
“Classworks has proven to be an integral component in the academic gains of our students,” said Michael Mehrhof, assistant principal of Bramlett Elementary. “I utilized Classworks myself with three weekly groups of bubble, high-impact, and ‘key’ students in the computer lab. The students enjoyed their time working on the program, and our gains in performance on the 2009 CRCT are a reflection, in part, of the benefits of supplementing quality classroom instruction with a quality, technology-based program such as Classworks.”