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Indiana School District Takes Math Program Digital

An Indiana school district is taking its middle school math program digital to make sure its students have the necessary technology skills when they graduate.

DeKalb County Central United School District has selected Pearson's digits because it is aligned with Common Core State Standards and will help cut costs, according to Lynn Simmers, district assistant superintendent. The district will be switching to the standards in the 2012-2013 school year.

"With the transition to Common Core and the digital landscape, we couldn't afford to tie ourselves to a traditional textbook for five or six years," said Simmers in a prepared statement.

digits provides math curriculum and technology for individualized instruction. It uses an architecture called interACTIVE Learning Cycle, which allows for instruction based on students' proficiency levels.

Features of digits include:

  • Lessons are divided into on-level (which includes three parts), readiness (which is created when a majority of students show weakness in a particular areas), and intervention (for individual students, using diagrams, animations, and math models);
  • Lessons formatted for presentation on interactive whiteboards;
  • Assignments targeted by proficiency level for each student;
  • A readiness assessment, designed to be taken by all students to determine their levels of proficiency. Each student will receive his or her own study plan and assignments based on the results;
  • Three types of assessments and tests. Summative assessments include intervention mastery practice, mid-year and end-of-year tests, unit tests, and end-of-topic tests. Benchmark assessments look at students' grade-level proficiency throughout the school year. State practice tests let teachers discover in which areas students need more preparation. Assessment and test results are automatically placed in the digits grade book; and
  • Automatic grading of assignments.

"They're [the students] more willing to try different concepts they haven't previously understood, and they're going beyond just finding the right answer. They're learning to rationalize how they came to it," said Justin Rentschler, a seventh-grade math teacher at DeKalb Middle School, in Waterloo, IN.

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About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.