Academy of MATH: A Piece of the Puzzle in our Multi-Sensory Curriculum

Trident Academy has incorporated specialized assistive technology as a component of our multi-sensory math program since the fall. Academy of MATH is research-based assistive technology (a web-based intervention tool for math) that can be used for instruction assessment and progress monitoring. In this program, component skills of mathematics have been broken down, with students introduced to skills along a development sequence that systematically builds math knowledge.
Automated placement tests provide a snapshot of each student’s abilities relative to grade level. The program then identifies performance goals and creates an individualized learning plan. A responsive intervention engine adapts to student responses, accelerating or remediating based on the student’s performance. The program includes over 14,000 questions, correlated to NCTM standards and Common Core State Standards.

Concepts first taught with the multi-sensory approach and using manipulatives can then be tested to see if the student has mastered the skill, making the leap from concrete to representational to abstract. Students are given positive and corrective feedback throughout the program including messages of congratulations, awards, and certificates when they are successful. This keeps the students engaged and gives them confidence to tackle more difficult skill areas.

Each skill area (ex. Number Sense, Addition, etc.) is assessed through 3 tactics: vocabulary, operations, and word problems. Each tactic is presented to the student as a puzzle with every math problem represented as a puzzle piece. If a student gets the math problem correct the piece gets filled in; however, if a student gets a problem incorrect the piece is shaded. The student works through the puzzle towards mastery; once mastered students receive a trophy which is then printed out and displayed on the wall. Students spend an average of an hour a week on Academy of MATH.

Teachers are able to analyze the data the program provides and offer differentiated instruction to students who need their help the most. Faculty use the information from a student’ error list to identify error patterns and provide additional instruction to help the student master the skill. Teachers access graphic reports to monitor progress and view gains at a student or class level. Usage targets are identified during the planning stage to ensure that students realize permanent gains in math. Statistics and reports are produced for all classes and grade levels to measure effectiveness.

Here are a few reasons why teachers feel it is a great resource for our students:

• The timing feature is preparing students for standardized testing.
• Assists teachers in assessing what skills should be revisited with each student. This allows for the teacher to spiral back to the skill and ensures the student is able to master the skill.
• Academy of Math allows for quick modification for students that are struggling with a skill.
• The program builds vocabulary.

Here is what a few of the students are saying:
“It’s fun and you get a cool picture [puzzle] when you complete a skill.” – Ben, 5th Grade
“Brings you to your own Math Level that you need help with. You earn trophies that can be printed out and put on the ‘Wall’” – 5th Grader
“It makes me happy” – 5th Grader

The "Wall"

The “Wall”

This is a possible problem students may have during Number Sense Training

This is a possible problem students may have during Number Sense Training

For more information, http://eps.schoolspecialty.com/products/online-programs/academy-of-math/about-the-program.

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