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College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning


Improving Performance on MCAS Math

On MCAS, every point counts.

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

Although ELA has barely ended, MCAS math will be here before you know it on May 23 and 24 for high schools.

It seems obvious that the math formula page is there to help students, but few students really use it. Many questions, including open response items, are easy to solve if they just check their formulas. For example, the 2017 10th grade test had six questions that relied heavily on geometric formulas. There is almost always an open response question derived straight from the formula page. One of the best ways to show students the value of the formula page is to do one of these open response questions in class. And don’t forget the handy tool on the DESE website mentioned in my previous blog— the student work/scoring guides section. You’ll find it very useful for practicing open response.

Does Homework Have to be Boring?

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

The value of homework is the subject of longstanding debate among educators. In simpler times, homework required no more than rote repetition of concepts taught in class. That’s no longer enough. Today’s teachers don’t want reinforcement to be merely repetitious. They want homework to drive deeper understanding of concepts. They use techniques that reinforce daily lessons while promoting deeper understanding through application and differentiated instruction. For example, one study of teachers who assigned technology-based homework linked their students’ improved performance on final exams to the way the teachers structured the homework ccording to the principles of cognitive intervention (Butler, Marsh, Slavinsky et al., Educ Psychol Rev (2014) 26: 331).

Treat? Or Schtick? Can tricks teach math?

There are many tricks that can help students solve math problems

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

It’s not news that many students struggle with math. According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the triennial test given to 15 year-olds by OECD, the United States ranked 38th out of 71 countries in 2015.1 Every three years we slide a few more notches. Something has to be done. But what?

Can learning math actually be fun

Puzzles and games in the classroom could be just the thing.

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

I love math, in all its shapes and forms. To me, it’s fun. But I’m a math teacher. For many students and teachers, “fun” is not the word they would apply to math. Deadly dull, difficult and boring would be more likely. Wouldn’t it be great if teachers could find a way to make math engaging and fun for students? And for themselves?