Situated in north-eastern British Columbia, Peace River North is a district comprising 22 schools that serve approximately 6000 students.
As the first school district in British Columbia to introduce a one-to-one device program, Peace River North has long embraced learning technology to improve student outcomes. Every student gets an iPad in Year 6, and online learning programs are used in individual classrooms across the region.
But when it came to improving student numeracy results, a cohesive, curriculum-aligned solution was needed. Specifically, the goal was to:
- Develop students’ number sense via differentiated learning
- Find a program that was comprehensively aligned with the new British Columbia curriculum
- Support teachers in classroom instruction.
Charmaine Chretien – District Principal of Curriculum Design – opted for Mathletics to meet each of these needs.
“Mathletics supported the ability to differentiate to support student learning, aligned with the BC curriculum, and gave teachers the ability to create custom courses,” Charmaine says. “The integration of rich tasks and a problem-solving bank with embedded depth of knowledge levels also made the platform a viable resource for the district.”
Most importantly, Mathletics also allowed students to work at their own pace without seeing their grade level compared to that of their peers. “This is especially important for students not working at grade level,” Charmaine says. No student would end up feeling discouraged – as can happen with other programs that spotlight differences in ability.
Implementing Mathletics across the district
With Mathletics slated as a district-wide numeracy solution, the next challenge was to implement the program consistently across classrooms that had their own unique needs.
To make this happen, 12 Peace River North teachers from 9 schools took part in the Mathletics Pilot Program: a custom professional learning experience that sets teachers up for success with Mathletics.
The program began with an online Professional Development day led by our team of Mathletics Implementation Specialists, who guided participating teachers through the fundamentals (plus tips and tricks) of:
- Using Mathletics for in-class instruction
- Tracking student progress in Mathletics
- Designing custom courses
- Differentiating students with Mathletics work sets
Even teachers who had already used Mathletics in the past learned something new. “Many teachers learned the program on their own without support in past years,” Charmaine said. “But the support provided by Mathletics with professional development, suggestions, and ways to implement helped the district make decisions to support our needs and context”.
Mathletics Implementation Specialists were also on hand to help teachers once they brought the program into their classrooms, ensuring that everyone got as much out of the program as possible.
Using Mathletics to personalize student learning
312 students took part in the Mathletics Pilot Program at Peace River North. Naturally, this comprised a huge range of different ability levels.
The first challenge was therefore to personalize each student’s learning with Mathletics. To do this, our implementation specialists helped teachers split their classes into differentiated learning groups on the platform.
Many teachers already had an idea of ability level groupings based on existing results, but for those who were unsure, Mathletics’ in-built placement test was used to work out exactly where their students sat.
With differentiated groups set up, teachers could assign the right level of challenge to every student in a matter of clicks.
A dramatic boost in student engagement
The result was high engagement across the district. As shown, 90% of time was spent on Mathletics’ curriculum-based lessons – a sure sign the lessons themselves were perfectly tailored to students’ respective levels of ability.
This wasn’t just the result of teachers’ instruction either. While tracking student activity, our implementation specialists found that:
- 39% of Mathletics activities were completed voluntarily by students
- 13% of Mathletics usage took place outside of classroom hours.
In other words, students couldn’t get enough of Mathletics! No surprise then that teachers reported students becoming more receptive to mathematics in general over the course of the program.
Our implementation specialists tracked students’ improvement over the course of the study using Mathletics’ ‘Activity Improvement’ feature, which compares high scores with first attempts in the same activity.
The results were strong. Over the course of the program, Peace River North students’ Mathletics results improved by an average of 23%.
With the pilot group displaying such progress, Peace River North began to roll out Mathletics across the rest of the district. Now, all teachers and students in Grades 6-9 are using the program.
While Mathletics’ differentiation capabilities and its ability to cater to a brand-new curriculum made all the difference to district-wide results, the ongoing customer support provided to teachers and school leadership proved one of the biggest stars of the program.
“The support provided by Mathletics to the district for not only our initial pilot but the district implementation too has been amazing,” Charmaine says. “The quick responses to our questions and challenges have been very much appreciated.”