Printed from Afterschool Curriculum Choice - Math
Location: http://www.sedl.org/afterschool/guide/math/


Curriculum Details for
Classworks Math


Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
Classworks Math
Publication Date: 2008
Grade Level: K–12
Content Focus: Math
Costs: $25,000 one time cost, plus $1,800 per day for training
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
Developer Contact Information
Curriculum Advantage
3885 Crestwood Parkway, Suite 200
Duluth, GA, 30096
888-841-4790
www.classworks.com

User Comments (add a comment)
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Program Description

Design Summary

Classworks Math is a school-based curriculum that is easily adapted for afterschool.  It is a computer-based curriculum that combines software from many other high quality programs, taking material for similar age levels and skills and building units around them.  For example, for a unit on fractions, students could work through an introductory lesson, 4-5 different software activities from various publishers, and then be assessed for mastery of the concept.  Classworks is self-paced, targeting cognitive math skills.  It incorporates experiential learning through hands on projects at the end of each unit that apply critical thinking skills to real world applications.

Because it is a computer-based program, students can be assigned to various levels allowing for instruction that is targeted to the needs of individual students. Classworks has the unique ability to import and read state high-stakes test results and create an individualized learning path based on student need. The lessons can also be assigned entirely by the teacher, or students can have a choice in which activities they want to do.

All student work is managed and tracked, with a comprehensive reporting suite for informed instructional decision-making and accountability. In addition to the software, a reference manual and training manual for teachers is included with the curriculum.

Costs and Staff Training

Classworks is sold as an unlimited site license at a one-time starting cost of $25,000.  This can vary based on the grade levels and subjects that are purchased.  Annual technical support fees start at $500 a year.

A four-day onsite training, at a cost of $1,800 a day, is required for new purchases.  Training is customized to meet the needs of each school or organization, and can prepare staff to train others within the school or organization.  More training and technical support is available upon request.

Staff Qualifications

Formal teaching experience is not required to implement Classworks.

Standards Alignment

  • National: National Council for Teachers of Math (NCTM), National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), National Math Panel Report
  • State: Classworks State Editions are customized and aligned to state standards in Alabama, Arkansas California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Research Base

Classworks is based on sound instructional design and research-proven best practices. With rigorous and relevant instruction, an individualized and differentiated learning experience is delivered effectively to every child. For a full review of the research base underlying Classworks see A Research Proven Solution at http://www.classworks.com/index.cfm/success/research/.

Evaluation Details

Both independent and internal evaluations have been conducted. The evaluations looked at academic improvement, time on task, and success on high stakes testing. Results are available to the public on the Classworks website: http://www.classworks.com/index.cfm/success/research/

Overall Strengths/Overall Challenges

Strengths
  • Students can continually keep working and challenging themselves with higher grade level material.
  • Aligned to many state standards and curriculum.
  • Diagnostic and prescriptive features which import and read student assessment results allow for the creation of individualized learning paths.
  • Capacity 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.
Challenges
  • Only one mode of instruction: computer-aided.
  • Only covers some areas of algebra and geometry.
  • Instructional approach focuses on drills and repetition.
  • Students who may struggle with attention or behavioral issues may have difficulty engaging with this curriculum.

Practitioner Expert Review

Practitioner Expert Background

This practitioner is the principal of a middle school that has been using Classworks for the past four years.  He has observed many students using the program and gotten positive feedback from teachers about it.  He has also seen his students’ test scores increase impressively, and he attributes a good deal of this success to Classworks. There are two computer labs in the school, one devoted to Classworks Math, and Classworks Reading.  This practitioner uses Classworks during the school day with all students who did not pass the state test the previous year.  During afterschool time, Classworks is used with some special education students.  Students at his school are from mixed racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Logistics

Training
  • When a school purchases Classworks, trainers come to the school and spend two full days showing teachers how to use it.  Felt that the training was very thorough and sufficient to start using the program.
  • If there ever are problems, can call up trainers and they figure out how to solve any problem and meet school’s needs.  Customer service is excellent.
Set-up/preparation
  • Majority of preparation involves inputting test data into the program. Based on this data, Classworks creates individualized programs for students.
  • From there, preparation consists of a few clicks of the mouse to bring up students’ IDs and individualized programs.
  • Computer labs are set up with 24 computers. Students use headphones and can work individually. 
  • Should have at least 60 minutes per week for each Classworks subject to be effective.

Student Engagement

  • Students like the interaction with the computer and find it to be fun. Feels different from the regular routine in the classroom. 
  • Graphics, sounds, and music grab students’ attention and engage them, especially at the middle school level.
  • Students seem to particularly enjoy the math curriculum. Observed students in labs doing Classworks Math showing a great deal of focus and effort.

Content

Adaptability
  • Classworks is helpful for students who may be learning below grade level, as the curriculum allows a student to go back and do lessons in lower levels.
  • Teachers have their own ID, which allows them to go into the computer and pick out particular lessons on a topic to teach in the classroom.
  • Even when a teacher is absent, students can log in with their ID and use Classworks.
  • This is an especially useful remediation tool for students who are struggling with their math skills.
General skills taught
  • Classworks is comprehensive, and models the program on a school’s particular state curriculum and standards.
  • Students feel successful when they use Classworks since Classworks builds upon more basic skills with which they may have struggled.  This helps to boost their self-esteem.
Addressing diverse student needs
  • If a student does not understand a topic or program one way, the large number (180) of software programs allows for other ways of teaching that topic.
  • Effective with students of different learning styles and ability levels.
  • Gap in achievement test scores between white students and students of color has been significantly reduced after using Classworks.

Strengths and Challenges

Strengths
  • Students can continuously keep working and challenging themselves with higher grade level material.
  • Aligned with state standards and curriculum.
  • Program can create course of study individualized to each student’s needs. 
Challenges
  • This practitioner has found no challenges with Classworks.

Content Expert Review

Content Expert Reviewer

Jaylyn Hermann
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.

Content

  • 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.

Skills

Academic Skills
  • 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.
Study Skills
  • Helps students see the benefit of learning math through doing problems. 
Non-Academic Skills
  • 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.

Assessment

  • 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.

Structure

  • 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

Adaptability
  • 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.
Developmental level
  • 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.
Learning Styles Addressed
  • 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.
Multiculturalism
  • While this curriculum does not explicitly address these issues, it does not appear to be culturally biased.

Strengths and Challenges

Strongest Features
  • 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.
Challenges and Drawbacks
  • 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.

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