Curriculum Details for
Content Expert Reviewer
Jaylyn Hermann, a mathematics teacher and adviser at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, currently teaches pre-calculus and AP calculus AB while advising a group of rising junior girls. In her five years at New Trier, she has taught courses that span the curriculum at a variety of levels. She has also mentored new teachers and served as course committee chair for two different courses. As the current pre-calculus course committee chair, Jaylyn collaborates with teachers of that course and teachers of prerequisite courses to appropriately align content and skills while integrating CAS technology into the curriculum. Jaylyn completed her Masters degree in Risk and Prevention at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in June, 2007.
- Mathematical curriculum for grade levels K-8 and an introduction to some Algebra I skills and informal geometry.
- The content is accurate, and is made up of lessons, quizzes, projects, and activities from 180 different software titles.
- The variety of activities makes content compelling.
- Certain topics in Algebra I and geometric proofs are omitted from the ninth and tenth grade level, respectively. Thus, these programs might be useful as a remediation tool or a review of foundational skills, but it is not an appropriate instructional tool on its own for Algebra I or Geometry students.
- Wide breadth of skills and knowledge required for the understanding of mathematics for grade levels K-8.
- Introduction to some Algebra I skills and Informal Geometry.
- Helps students see the benefit of learning math through doing problems.
- General computer skills.
- Projects may require students to work with other computer software programs, thus building their skills with spreadsheets, word processors, or presentation aids.
Alignment to Standards
- Classworks is aligned with national, state, and local standards.
- State editions are directly aligned with both state standards and state test objectives so that individual student programs may be created based on state-determined areas of need.
- Throughout the lessons and activities, students have the opportunity to check their own understanding informally in a variety of ways.
- Each unit begins with a pre-test and concludes with a Quick Quiz or post-test. If a student does not past the post-tests, he or she is directed to complete pre-determined remediation activities.
- Classworks offers placement or benchmark tests to assess academic strengths and weaknesses, which can then be used to prescribe a relevant course of study. Students’ state standardized test reports can also be imported into the program, allowing for more individualized instruction.
- Classworks is both highly structured and highly flexible. The curriculum can be set to “manual mode,” where a student can navigate to any lesson or activity in the curriculum. In “instructional mode,” on the other hand, a student must pass each unit to move on to the next.
- Individual student programs may also be strictly prescribed based on standardized or placement test results.
- The content is defined either on an individual student basis or generally by a teacher or program.
- Within units, there is less flexibility since most units have a similar structure (Mini-lesson, Activities, Quick Quiz, Remediation if necessary, and Project).
- While teachers can determine the lessons and activities, most of the instruction is actually delivered by the computer. However, end of unit projects allow for a nice balance of teacher-directed instruction and student-directed discovery.
Addressing Diverse Student Needs
- Classworks is adaptable to different skill levels, as students’ programs can be individually prescribed.
- There is not a built-in mechanism for addressing behavioral needs. Instead, teachers would have to be familiar with the curriculum to make the best use of the various activities for students with behavioral challenges.
Learning Styles Addressed
- Singular mechanism of instruction delivery – the computer – may be challenging for some students who have a short attention span.
- For the older grades, there is a good deal of reading about advanced math topics, which is often difficult for high school students.
- Graphics and congratulatory messages that pop up at the end of a successfully completed unit may be less motivational for older students.
- Movement/spatial learning: While there is no movement involved, some of the activities included may appeal to visual and spatial learners.
- Interpersonal learning: Some projects lend themselves well to group work and other occasions for interpersonal learning.
- Artistic learning: The animation and graphic design, as well as some activities and projects, may appeal to artistic learners.
- While this curriculum does not explicitly address these issues, it does not appear to be culturally biased.
Strengths and Challenges
Challenges and Drawbacks
- Alignment to state standards and high-stakes assessments.
- Diagnostic and prescriptive features which import and read student assessment results, allowing for the creation of individualized learning paths.
- Ability to target instruction based on standards, test results, or student needs as assessed by the teacher or program.
- Potential for foundational review, remediation, and intervention for struggling students.
- Only one mode of instruction: computer-aided.
- Only covers some areas of Algebra I and Geometry curricula.
- Instructional approach focuses on drills and repetition.
- Students who may struggle with attention or behavioral issues may have difficulty engaging with this curriculum.