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6 Reasons for Your Youngest Learners to Love Exact Path

Nov 07, 2023
Young learners and exact path Edmentum article

Who doesn’t get a little nostalgic when thinking about their elementary learning experience? There’s a special sparkle to those formative years that’s hard to put into words. At Edmentum, we are committed to supporting educators as they build the strongest foundation possible for their elementary students, ensuring that an early zest for learning carries them to future academic success.

With Exact Path, our award-winning, diagnostic-driven, individualized learning program, we’ve created a powerful online experience designed specifically for the ways elementary-aged students best learn. Today, we’re diving deeper into six reasons for your youngest learners to love Exact Path.

1. Alignment to the Science of Reading

The science of reading is a body of decades-long research that studies how we learn to read, as well as the instructional practices that best facilitate that process. The science is clear: the five pillars of reading—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension—are effective, evidence-based approaches to teaching reading.

Exact Path is designed with the science of reading in mind, as students systematically work from initial phonemic subskills to more difficult phonics concepts to build automaticity and then ultimately apply the newfound skills to make meaning and develop comprehension. Check out a few sample lessons here.

Word Analysis Example (2nd Grade – Decoding Syllables)

Systematic phonics lessons have an explicit focus on mapping an individual letter or letter combination with its appropriate sound, and the lessons follow DIBELS© (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), a set of procedures and measures for assessing the acquisition of literacy skills. Vocabulary-building opportunities are presented in context as the modules progress. For fluent readers, modules and Progress Checks focus more closely on student comprehension.

Decodable Reader Example (1st Grade – Blending Sounds)

Early literacy and foundational reading skills are critical to setting students on a path to success across all subject areas. Exact Path ensures that it always has evidence-based curriculum at its core.

2. Math Foundations for Later Success

According to an blog post from Bill Gates’ GatesNotes, students who fail Algebra I have just a one-in-five chance of graduating from high school. Conversely, those who are successful find greater opportunity to access advanced STEM courses and AP classes, and they are more likely to enter and complete a four-year college degree, going on to well-paid, in-demand careers.

Success in this gateway course starts early by building math foundations, and Exact Path is designed to ensure that students develop these essential math concepts. Intentional focus is placed on delivering engaging lessons via multiple models and representations, including base-ten blocks, pictorial models, number lines, and more. The curriculum also features highly interactive opportunities to help students better comprehend early numeracy concepts.

The math modules support students’ ability to make connections across learning experiences (both teacher-led and within Exact Path) by equipping them with the tools they need to be successful. For example, the following lesson uses a common classroom representation of base-ten blocks and connecting cubes to support hands-on practice with manipulatives. Dive into a few sample lessons here.

3. Built-In Engagement to Promote a Growth Mindset

As Richard Allington described in his 2013 study, the key to an effective reading program is scientifically based reading activities combined with highly motivational elements. These have been shown to enable students to make ongoing, long-term gains in reading, fluency, and comprehension.

Engagement starts with ensuring that students are working at their just-right level. Exact Path’s valid and reliable diagnostics determine students’ individual strengths, needs, and academic readiness within a vertical K–12 learning progression. Additionally, ongoing Progress Checks provide real-time educator data and accelerate learning forward or provide just-in-time remediation to shore up key gaps in learning at every step.

Motivation is also central to the success students experience in Exact Path. For every skill mastered, students stack up Trophies in the rewards area. Educators can also design Challenges of their own based on time spent or skills mastered and set personalized prizes with celebratory badges. Each step of the way, students are encouraged to persist and stretch their knowledge to acquire new skills and richer understanding.

4. Culturally Relevant Curriculum

We want all students to be able to see themselves in Exact Path. Our ongoing investment in elementary content prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion in animation and character choice. The K­–2 characters are modern and diverse, just like our learners. The 3–5 students will see out-of-this-world characters from our Nebula Academy for an inclusive and more mature experience.

Diverse characters in content for grades K–2

Nebula Academy characters appear in content for grades 3–5

5. Design That Supports Positive Behavior Development

Alongside our fierce commitment to top-notch academic content, we’re incorporating relevant principles across our math and reading modules to support the well-being of the learner. You’ll notice this take shape via three main themes embedded in new and ongoing content development, where characters model how to:

  • Demonstrate a resilient attitude and growth mindset, even in the face of adversity and challenges
  • Identify and perform roles that contribute to the school and local community
  • Identify personal strengths based on interests and qualities

Characters in each content module engage in conversations and situations that model strong use of these skills and explicitly teach an important academic concept.

6. Developmentally Appropriate, Responsive Interface

Our youngest learners expect a friendly and intuitive experience when they learn online, and our educators expect students to be able to successfully complete lessons independently. We’ve taken that to heart by implementing a learning path design that guides focus and eliminates any guesswork or confusion.

K–2 learners experience a simple, sequenced progression through a pathway visual that moves them from lesson to practice to Progress Check.

Students in grades 3–5 soar above the clouds with a hot air balloon theme that leverages oversized, intuitive buttons in friendly colors to guide them through each instructional component.


Our early learner interfaces are also designed with a foundation in responsive Web design. This means that the layout automatically adapts to different screen sizes for a beautiful and uncompromised experience on all the devices your young learners regularly use—including iPad tablets! We know that young learners excel with a touchscreen approach, and we’ve optimized for these needs through expanded capabilities.

Learn more about how Exact Path accelerates students by reading our success stories and more

This post was originally published June 2021 and has been updated.

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