Last fall, Grand Prairie Independent School District (ISD) took a pioneering step for K-12 education when it became the first district in the nation to launch a digital teaching platform. After its first year of implementation, the district reports that teachers and students who used the web-based platform, called Time To Know, achieved significantly higher gains on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) than students in comparable schools using traditional teaching methods and curriculum.
During the 2009-10 school year, Grand Prairie ISD implemented a one-to-one computing model — where every student and teacher has access to a personal portable computer in a wireless environment — and the Time To Know digital teaching platform in two classes each at Austin Elementary and Whitt Elementary schools. Teachers used the web-based system to guide their classes with a digital curriculum integrated with tools for real-time classroom management, monitoring, planning, assessment and collaboration.
On the 2010 TAKS, the Time To Know students achieved statistically significant gains in mathematics, reading and writing, and outscored students in control classrooms in the district. A greater proportion of Time To Know students also reached the “Met The Standard” and “Commended” performance levels on the TAKS. In mathematics, 93 percent of the Time To Know students reached these levels and achieved proficiency on the TAKS, compared to 66 percent of the control students. In reading, 90 percent of the Time To Know students achieved proficiency, compared to 69 percent of the control students. In writing, 98 percent of the Time To Know students achieved proficiency, compared to 92 percent of the control students. In addition, the Time To Know students significantly increased their TAKS scores in mathematics and reading from the third grade in 2009 to the fourth grade in 2010.
“Placing curriculum software in the classroom or even a computer in the hands of every student is only one step toward truly changing teaching and learning," said Dr. Susan Simpson, superintendent for Grand Prairie ISD. "What’s unique about the Time To Know digital teaching platform is that it enhances the teachers’ role as mentor and coach by allowing them to spend less time presenting basic content and more time guiding and advising students."
The TAKS results follow on the heels of an independent study conducted by Rockman, et al in Grand Prairie ISD earlier this year, which showed that the Time To Know students outperformed the control students in skills such as math reasoning abilities. Lower performing students made the greatest gains, narrowing the achievement gap in math. For the 2010-2011 school year, Whitt and Austin Elementary will be expanding the Time To Know program into all 4th and 5th grade classes for mathematics and English language arts.