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Zoom Math: Implementing Technology To Minimize Achievement Gaps
Identifying A Need In The Math Classroom:
Minimizing Achievement Gaps Among Student Subgroups
I would like to inform you that I had to take a different route in order to complete my Curriculum Project because of my lack of experience in the classroom. Thus, my project resulted in a research paper built on in interviews and research. My Curriculum Project introduces technology that may be implemented into the math classroom in order to minimize achievement gaps among student subgroups (regular education, special education, and advanced education).
Addressing These Achievement Gaps
As it turns out, the math teachers from his school discovered that a neighboring school district happened to score rather well last year on the same state-mandated test. They quickly adopted the "Ask and you shall receive" aphorism, and learned that the school had recently implemented a new form of technology in their math classrooms--that being "Zoom Math."
Zoom Math is designed to depict the math functions we use on our graphing calculators as those we find in our textbooks. By downloading the app onto a compatible graphing calculator (T.I.-83 Plus, T.I.-83 Plus Silver Addition, T.I.-84 Plus, T.I.-84 Plus Silver Addition), a student can now type math problems just as they’re written in a textbook. Many times, graphing calculators tend to cause students more problems than they solve. Zoom Math makes the calculator less of a hassle by eliminating the trouble of memorizing key combinations or symbols on the calculator, and allowing the student to type in a problem just as they would see it in a textbook, their notes, or their teacher’s written examples. This, in turn, causes students to feel empowered because they are able to focus more solely on the math content, rather than memorizing the ins and outs of how to use their graphing calculator.
Taking Action & Reaping the Benefits
All of the teachers decided to take the initiative in implementing this technology into their regular education and special education math classrooms. They decided to adopt a "mixed methods" design for teaching math in these classrooms for an entire school year. Everyday instruction was followed by guided practice with the use of Zoom Math. Below are the results I compiled with the data released from the 2012 and 2013 End of Course Algebra II test results:
Zoom Math For The Win!
After analyzing the results gathered from the 2012 and 2013 testing scores from the ACT’s End of Course Algebra II state-mandated test, I compiled data and constructed a table and bar graph to display the data and compare the results. The results differ significantly in the regular and special education classrooms. In one year, the average score of the regular education classes raised 2.83 points after using Zoom Math. More impressively, after one year of implementing Zoom Math in special education classrooms, the average score of these classes raised 6 points, which is roughly equivalent to the difference of a letter grade and a half. If you were only looking at the scores, you may not even be able to determine which students were placed in the regular, special, or advanced classrooms. Implementing Zoom Math into classroom instruction helped this Kentucky school minimize the achievement gap in math classrooms between each of the students’ subgroups; thus, the school has determined to stick with the program, and continue to use this technology in the incoming school year.
After analyzing the End of Course Algebra II results from the school's state-mandated test, my project facilitator, the head of a Kentucky school's math department, found that the achievement gaps among students placed in the regular education classrooms, special education classrooms, and advanced education classrooms were all too prevalent. Along with his fellow faculty members in the department, he took an active role as a leader in the school, becoming an active researcher in order to address this need in the school's math classrooms.