A pilot program for personalized learning is helping teachers adapt multiple techniques for teaching diverse groups of students.
“My goal is to help my students to not care so much about their grade but, ‘Have I mastered the concept and the material I am supposed to learn in algebra?’ ” said Jeran Tenpenny, a teacher a Cannon County High School in Tennessee. He joined with a teaching coach at BetterLesson, a technology company which has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Education, to find a solution to help his students move on to more challenging material in algebra.
The pilot program is a part of Tennessee's commitment to incorporate personalized learning in the classroom. There are three specific goals: a majority of high school graduates from the class of 2020 will earn a postsecondary degree or certificate, the average ACT composite score will be 21 by 2020, and that by 2019 Tennessee will rank in the top half of states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
“One of the driving goals for the department’s work is supporting districts and schools to meet the unique needs of each and every Tennessee student,” said Deputy Education Commissioner Kathleen Airhart. “This pilot is an opportunity for Tennessee teachers to explore tools that can help them individualize their instruction, something that is particularly challenging in high school.”
The program began last summer, when approximately 50 math teachers participated in a three day course on personalized learning. They now are teaching 5,000 students with blended learning techniques, supported and advised by a BetterLesson coach.