Educators at Lake Elsinore Unified School District in California have been using Edmentum Courseware since 2010 to assign and customize curriculum for first-time credit, credit recovery, and for creating access to courses that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to provide. Utilizing Courseware allowed Lake Elsinore educators to normalize using an online platform to provide greater variety in the ways content was presented to students. So, in 2020, when a desperate need for deeper and more precise levels of student data and interventions arose, having students and teachers interact with learning technology was not a new idea for them.
Ryan Mulvanny, the Director of Instructional Technology and Alternative Programs, knew the educators in his district would need a strong tool to help support tier 2 and tier 3 students fill critical academic gaps and access grade-level content. Mr. Mulvanny explained, “We didn’t have a way to measure where students were, and if we did have a way to measure where they were, it was just reaffirming that these kids are low. What we needed was to understand where the students are in a very efficient way.”
Beginning in the Fall of 2020, educators at Lake Elsinore started using Edmentum Exact Path with struggling secondary level students who were referred by the SST, 504, or IEP teams. Exact Path curriculum utilizes a mastery learning approach that adapts to each student’s needs and automatically remediates with prerequisite Building Blocks to support students through the learning process, so it was a natural fit for the tier 2 and tier 3 support the district needed. Using their integrated student information system, Mr. Mulvanny could quickly grant program access so there was no lag time between identification and academic support. As soon as students began receiving services, they would complete the diagnostic assessments and receive individualized learning paths. Educators no longer had to wonder what a student was struggling with related to content; the program provided, as Mr. Mulvanny put it, “an exact path for each student so they are getting more personalized learning…and the students feel like they’re doing work that helps them understand.”
While Exact Path provides the motivation of earning a trophy with each mastered skill, often, older students need a deeper reason to continue persisting. The huge social and emotional changes that occur during the secondary years of education cause many students to struggle to feel like they are in a safe place to vocalize when they need help or don’t understand a concept. “It’s not cool to say, ‘I need help’, but I think it is cool to feel successful,” Mr. Mulvanny said. “I’ve sat in hundreds of IEP meetings, and it’s not like the students are really excited about the goals because to them, we’re saying what they can’t do. Now, instead, we’re able to give them something that says, ‘Let’s work on these skills’ and make that a part of the fabric of the way we support our kids.”
Since the inception of Exact Path, students at Lake Elsinore have experienced growth and success. In 2023, usage was more than double the previous year. Increasingly, more teachers and administrators have found consistent assessments and placements have provided more actionable data to enable setting clear, concrete goals for students within the SST, 504, and IEP processes. “When we say things like write a SMART goal, now we we actually have measurable or data-bound information. We were able to bring in Exact Path to be more deliberate,” Mr. Mulvanny said.
Implementing change can be difficult, but Mr. Mulvanny explained that he has been supported at every step of his district’s implementation. “It’s been dynamic in the sense that it changes as our needs change. It’s not like partnerships we have with other companies…I appreciate the ability to have someone that understands the struggles that we’re going through and then is able to offer suggestions or a potentially different way of doing things. I feel like [Edmentum] wants the implementation to work for us because it’s the greatest thing in the world when you make a difference in kids’ lives.”
“We didn’t have a way to measure where students were, and if we did have a way to measure where they were, it was just reaffirming that these kids are low. What we needed was to understand where the students are in a very efficient way.”
Director of Instructional Technology and Alternative Programs