National Education Foundation Students achieve Major Math and Reading Success with STEM+ Academies

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Students in the National Education Foundation STEM+ Academy Program have achieved a major milestone of success in the NEF’s 2015-2016 implementation. The STEM+ Academy program, now active in twenty schools in ten states across the country, includes state-of-the-art adaptive instructional software that allow students to achieve mastery in math and reading skills mapped to local, state, and national standards. The more than 3,900 STEM+ Academy students have achieved average mastery of over half a year’s worth of subject content, bringing many students from below grade level to performing at or above grade level, with some students achieving the equivalent of two or more years of reading or math skills mastery since the beginning of this school year.

This success is a result of the STEM+ Academy Program’s use of Pearson Digital’s SuccessMaker software, which provides responsive instruction that identifies gaps in core subject skills, allowing below-level students to review weak concepts and progress to or above grade level, as well as for on-level students to explore new material. Instruction is seamlessly blended with skills assessment and quality of learning, alerting their classroom teacher when a student is struggling with a specific concept; instead of teaching to a wide array of skill levels and understanding, the teacher can teach by addressing individual students’ specific needs, resulting in much more effective and higher quality teacher-student interactions.

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NEF Chairman, Dr. Appu Kuttan with two NEF STEM Academy students (Katie Metcalf and Laurel Whitier) celebrating the program’s success.

Dr. Anthony Betrus, the National NEF STEM+ Academies Program Director, credits the schools’ successes to the leadership of each school’s Academy Director. “They have done an outstanding job of managing their Academies. They’ve worked with the students, administration, IT staff, and the NEF staff to ensure that all students have had the opportunity to grow. A systemic approach to learning is at the core of our academy programs, and it takes a special person do manage all of the moving pieces.”

Based on state test scores from the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years, there is a strong correlation between student performance in SuccessMaker and achieving high results on state tests: the software provides a reliable, timely analysis of student’s mastery of critical subject matter and provides recommendations for small changes in student usage patterns that are likely to result in higher success with state tests. More information on the NEF STEM+ Academy Program is available at academies.cyberlearning.org.

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