15 February 2013

Blended Learning Is the Cure for the Common Core

Comic Sans. I picked the most hideous picture that came up on purpose.
Not being a core subject teacher, I didn't really need to form an opinion on the Common Core. Until now, apparently. Over the last two weeks I had the lovely opportunity of babysitting remediation. (Remediation is a chance for students to make up credit if they failed a class. It's mostly really awful busywork packets.)

Four of the kids had to make up a math credit. To get the credit, students had to pass a test covering topics from the term they failed.

Long story short, it turned out they were a lot farther behind than just one term. They took a quiz to assess where their weaknesses were, and those weaknesses showed up a lot farther back than just one term.

And here's where the Common Core comes in. Apparently these students have a choice between two maths: regular 9th grade, and 9th grade honors. So no matter how far they fall behind, they're stuck in one of these courses. And then they're stuck in a class that continues forward onto more and more difficult concepts when they have yet to master the simpler ones, halting their growth altogether.

And here's where blended learning comes in. By having short video lessons for each concept, plus a teacher in the room to provide live feedback, students would be able to learn at their own pace, and stay on difficult concepts until they're sufficiently mastered to move on.

This would even work in the age of standardized testing, they'd just need to change how the tests work and when.

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