Four Questions Answered About Exact Path Building Blocks
The term building block may already be familiar to you—whether in the education sense or not. By definition, a building block is an essential element on which something larger is built upon. As you reflect back on the towers you built from wooden blocks as a child or fast forward to the skill scaffolding you regularly write into your lesson plans today, the definition still applies.
In the context of our K-12 personalized learning program, Exact Path, a Building Block is a lesson that covers a prerequisite skill (often from a lower grade level) and is introduced into the student’s learning path automatically, when remediation is needed. To further explain how Building Blocks work in Exact Path, we’re answering four common questions on the topic.
1. Why are Building Blocks included automatically in Exact Path?
Not every learner grabs hold of a new skill the first time through the curriculum. For many, additional remediation or scaffolding may be helpful before they are ready to absorb and apply the new information.
That’s where Building Blocks come into play. These learning modules represent additional lessons, activities, and short quizzes focused on a prerequisite skill when a student has signaled that they need extra help on their recent Progress Check.
2. How are Building Blocks introduced in the learning path?
Building Blocks are a feature that students encounter from within the learning path.
After every set of up to four lessons, the student takes a Progress Check to assess their mastery of the topics just covered. Performance on a learning path Progress Check determines if a student will see a remedial Building Block in their next set of four lessons, or if they are ready to accelerate to the next skill in the progression.
If the student earns a score below 80% on one or more skills when completing their Progress Check, they will likely receive a correlated Building Block topic to work on in their next set of lessons. If a student is unsuccessful a second time, they could be given one additional Building Block topic that dips down one level lower.
Once students successfully complete their Building Block activities and demonstrate mastery on their next Progress Check, they will advance back up to the original skill for a second attempt at mastery.
3. What do Building Blocks look like on the student side?
To students, Building Blocks will feel like the next natural step forward in their learning journey and are therefore not flagged as “Building Blocks” (that’s actually just a term that appears in the educator interface).
They are inserted automatically into the learning path just as students need them, so while they won’t necessarily be flagged as lower-level content, they will provide the necessary scaffolding to ensure learning gets back on track.
This chance to experience success not only provides background knowledge the student requires to move forward, but also motivates the learner to persist toward learning goals.
4. How can teachers monitor Building Blocks in reporting?
When a student receives a Building Block in their learning path, the teacher will first be alerted on the notifications page as soon as they log into their account.
Additionally, educators can see Building Block details from a learning path reporting view known as the Knowledge Map. From here, educators will spot a red icon in the shape of several stacked blocks that will appear next to the skill the student was recently unsuccessful on.
Then, further back in the learning path, the teacher will find a prerequisite skill tagged in green as “practicing”, indicating it’s the correlated topic the student is working on to remediate that concept. The Knowledge Map will continue to provide these real-time status reports as students move through their learning path.
In a nearby reporting area known as Current Learning Activities, educators get a different peek into Building Blocks and makes it easy to see which skills were introduced as Building Blocks.
This learning path report shows the current four skills a student is working on, but also keeps tabs on all skills assessed in previous Progress Checks giving teachers the ability to easily map the exact journey students took through the content.
Quickly review this historical information to see when a skill was assessed, how successful the student was at that time, and their performance on the associated Building Block topic that followed.
For more information about how Building Blocks fit into the larger learning path experience, this article is helpful in unpacking the learning path and includes an infographic for additional visual support.