In 2020, Valenture Institute – a global online high school – partnered with the iBhodi Trust to develop a model of providing excellent education to students who come from impoverished backgrounds. They identified 28 mixed-ability students in Year 9 from Beacon Hill High School receiving their online education while remaining within the school they originally came from. However, they experienced the problem of backlogs in both numeracy and literacy. As such, they partnered with Reflective Learning to assist their need for numeracy catch-up. The baseline results
Initial baseline results showed that students suffered from extensive backlogs. While students were generally three years behind in Numbers, they were five years behind for Measurement and six years behind for Fractions. This showed in their Cambridge-curriculum Year-level assessments as they achieved an average of 30% with only a quarter passing the test.
The team decided to dedicate one school term purely to remediation of these gaps. Students worked on the Reflective Learning app for 30 to 40 minutes per day on average and were given class recognition when they reached key milestones in their learning. The class teacher provided support, answering questions where required. Overall improvements
After only 13 weeks, students saw a dramatic improvement in both their conceptual catch-up and their school-based marks. The vast majority of students caught up to the required year-level in Numbers and Data Literacy, more than half in Fractions, and just less than half in Measurement. On average, the class caught up four years of knowledge across the seven threads of Maths.
This improvement in conceptual knowledge translated to their school-based assessments. Their third term test showed an increase in the class average to 53% with three-quarters now passing. And after two weeks of further curriculum input, their class average improved to 74%, with only a single student not passing. One student jumped from 14% to 84%!
This case study shows that learners from previously disadvantaged communities have the ability to catch-up tremendous amounts when provided with the right content at the right level, sufficient time with content, consistent positive support, and motivating rewards. While these learners have yet to complete their catch-up process, they currently stand with a better class average and less inequality in foundational mathematical understanding than the majority of upper-end schools