Acquinton Elementary School, Virginia
About the School
432 students, Grades 3-5, 77% White, 12% Black, 36% economically disadvantaged, 13% students with disabilities
In preparation for a 2020–21 school year affected by COVID-19, school leaders at Acquinton Elementary School (AES) in King William County Public Schools (KWCPS) of Virginia focused on answering two specific questions.
- Acquinton Elementary knew that the academic year would open with students only returning to school in person two days a week, and as a result, it became a 1:1 device-enabled school overnight. How could educators ensure that those devices were being used meaningfully?
- The district has long used NWEA MAP Growth assessments to diagnose learning needs, but what it did with the data after those administrations was hit or miss. Rather, educators found themselves asking: ”What’s next to meet individual needs?”
With these two questions at the forefront of Acquinton Elementary Principal Dr. Cyndee Blount’s mind, she sought out a digital partner with a track record of proven learning outcomes. After reading about how a nearby district was using Edmentum, she reached out and soon started an Exact Path pilot to offer diagnostic-driven, direct instruction in math, reading, and language arts for all of her 3rd through 5th grade students.
"Exact Path is about filling skill gaps, building children up, and making it feasible for them to access on-grade-level curriculum. [Exact Path] answers the age-old problem of, ‘Here’s my MAP assessment data, and I have kids [showing skill readiness] from kindergarten to 7th grade, but there’s no way as a teacher I can meet every single need."
The AES Exact Path implementation started slowly with focused concentration on purpose and teacher buy-in.
“Exact Path is about filling skill gaps, building children up, and making it feasible for them to access on-grade-level curriculum,” commented Dr. Blount. “[Exact Path] answers the age-old problem of, ‘Here’s my MAP assessment data, and I have kids [showing skill readiness] from kindergarten to 7th grade, but there’s no way as a teacher I can meet every single need.’”
With Exact Path, NWEA MAP Growth assessment results can be imported, and individualized learning paths are automatically created based on each student’s needs and where students are in their readiness to learn.
“It gave our teachers a fair chance to finally become exemplary,” noted Dr. Blount. “My teachers are getting the grade-level content across, but they're not getting that extra layer because they don't have the time to backfill those skill deficits. Then, the reverse of that is true too; you've got some really solid kids, but we're so busy staying on grade level that they're never accelerated.”
Guided by the value Exact Path could offer, she focused on building investment with the people who mattered most—her teachers. She orchestrated product demonstrations, scheduled staff professional development (PD), reviewed data on teacher usage, and rolled ongoing training into professional learning communities (PLCs) throughout the fall semester.
“If anyone is starting to implement, I would just tell them, don't ever approach anything as a mandate because teachers are professionals and they want to be treated as such,” remarked Dr. Blount. “Take the time to get teacher buy-in. There's no way they won't see value in this.”
With all of these PD opportunities in place, Dr. Blount started to see some aha moments occurring—teachers using their new product knowledge to conference with students around specific gaps and growth goals, as well as building out specific Exact Path assignments to reteach or reinforce on-grade-level concepts.
At the turn of the year, school leaders determined that it was time to kick things into high gear with a schoolwide contest, affectionately known as “Be My Edmentine.” The school placed a giant paper heart on the walls outside of every classroom, in which students posted smaller hearts for each mastery Trophy earned in the program. The hearts quickly multiplied!
“When we started the contest in February, we had less than 300 Trophies in our whole school,” recalled Dr. Blount. “From February 15th until our contest ended at spring break, we gained 3,848 Trophies. It went wild!”
Dr. Blount’s favorite memory from the contest’s success was being able to recognize students who weren’t otherwise taking home top awards.
“I've got one student that struggles with every content, but in his class, he earned the most Trophies,” noted Dr. Blount. “He took selfies of himself at the party [hosted for top contest winners]. I mean, he's not ever been that proud in his life! That was super, super exciting.”
Dr. Blount was not only floored by the success of her school’s Exact Path contest, but she also saw the tremendous skill gains that students were making reflected in MAP Growth assessment data. In evaluating beginning-of-the-year MAP scores to midyear, all data indicated that students met expected growth goals (adjusted for the COVID-19-affected school year) with the exception of one class where Edmentum wasn’t being used.
“Teachers will find value in [Exact Path] because it is valuable, and it speaks for itself,” remarked Dr. Blount. “It's almost like having a co-teacher with you that can remediate and accelerate while you make sure you're paying attention to the core content.”
Programs that Drive Success
Learn more about the program used by this school community to achieve results.
Diagnostic-driven learning paths and powerful teaching tools to scale interventions K–12 in math, reading, and language arts and empower educators to reach all students through personalized instruction.
Assessments, Supplemental & Intervention