Accelerated Math Enterprise

By providing personalized practice for students, Accelerated Math enables teachers to add student confidence, subtract frustration, and multiply success, while using generated data to inform

Company Information:

Renaissance Learning

Category: Educational Software
Subcategory: Math Management; Educational Software

Pricing: Dependent on school/district needs. New customers can get started for a one-time school fee of $2,899, plus a low annual per-student fee. Scanner and scan cards sold separately.
Best for: Grades 1-12. Accelerated Math is appropriate for use in a variety of settings, including Response to Intervention (RTI) models, after school programs, general education classrooms, and Gifted & Talented programs.

Awards/honors won:

• Accelerated Math meets the National Center on Student Progress Monitoring's rigorous criteria for scientifically based progress monitoring tools
• 2007-08 District Administration Magazine Readers Choice Top 100 Products
• 2006 eSchool News Readers' Choice Awards, Best Software for Teaching Basic Math Literacy, Algebra, Pre-Calculus
• 2005 eSchool News Readers' Choice Awards, Best Software for Teaching Basic Math Literacy; Fractions, Decimals and Percents; Pre-Algebra; Algebra; Geometry; Pre-Calculus
Best Practice Case Study

At-risk students at California school empowered through math

Madrid Middle School improving math test scores, thanks to teacher’s innovation and Accelerated Math

Class, what do you believe?
“I am brilliant!”
How are you feeling?
“Like a genius!”

Every morning, Jeff Koenig, a math teacher at Madrid Middle School in El Monte, California, and his students begin the class with this chant—a simple strategy Koenig uses to help them believe that they can overcome and achieve greatness. The power of the strategies he utilizes, along with use of Accelerated Math, has helped his students become math enthusiasts.

Madrid Middle School—of the Mountain View Elementary School District and just minutes from Los Angeles—has a student body of more than 85% Hispanic students, and nearly 40% are English learners. Over 80% of the school’s students qualify for free- or reduced-lunch services. Koenig said the majority of the incoming sixth-graders enter Madrid scoring Far below Basic in Math and Language Arts on the California Standards Test (CST), and are often more than two grades behind.

But Koenig said that despite these obstacles, Madrid students have shown great improvement on the CST—especially in math—the past few years. In addition, the school met Adequate Yearly Progress goals in Math for the first time since 2004.
“Last year’s CST results showed that our math department posted its largest single year gain in school history,” Koenig said. “Although there were many factors that played a part, Accelerated Math was a significant contributor.”

But Koenig believes even the best teaching strategies are useless if the student doesn’t feel personally successful. “This idea is amplified tenfold with struggling students who have had very little positive experience and reinforcement in math,” he said. “Convincing these at-risk students that they are as intelligent and capable as advance students is the prime mission. By using the fabulous tools in Accelerated Math, along with other classroom strategies I’ve developed, they respond in a big way.”

A visitor to Koenig’s class might see what is best described as “organized chaos.” After Koenig teaches the day’s lesson to the whole group, some students begin quietly working on Accelerated Math-generated exercises and practices individually or collaboratively in small groups, while other students scan their work and print off their next activity. Koenig floats around the room to check on them, guide them, and teach them. There is constant motion and energy in the room. Koenig acknowledges that some teachers might find this overwhelming to manage, but he feels it’s what is best for students.

“It’s a well-known fact that when students are engaged, they learn. The problem lies within a teacher’s ability to engage students in multiple ways on multiple levels simultaneously. The beauty of Accelerated Math is that it maintains this level of engagement so that the teacher can specialize the students’ experience,” Koenig said. “However, this most often requires the teacher to adapt to a new role of learning facilitator and can seem overwhelming. Yes, it requires you to wear many hats simultaneously, but it’s what’s best for kids—and there’s no arguing that.”

Koenig stresses the importance of knowing of knowing when to step in to help, and relies on the data from Accelerated Math Reports, such as TOPS and the Status of the Class, to give him the knowledge of who needs help and where they’re having trouble.

“Although Accelerated Math is excellent at providing comprehensive and leveled practice for all students, it remains the teacher’s responsibility to ensure students are willing and able to find qualified assistance when needed and providing the resources required,” Koenig said. “What I mean is, the teacher needs to use their Accelerated Math Reports and have knowledge of flexible grouping strategies to work proactively on objectives causing difficulty for students. Practice is a perfect time for that. Likewise, the teacher needs to create an environment where students feel secure enough to ask for help when necessary during practice.”

When it comes down to it, he said his students’ transformation using Accelerated Math is simple. “The students now believe in their own progress as a result of praise, the chanting, and positive reinforcement. The entire class is continuously involved as a learning community that relies on its members for help and motivation to achieve,” he said. “The roadblocks were many—few prerequisite skills, lack of practice in abstract thinking, low math-esteem—but focusing on a success philosophy and getting student buy-in helps address all of the challenges at once. Students transform themselves from ‘reluctant’ to ‘enthusiastic’ and from ‘fearful’ to ‘fearless.’ It’s all about the belief.”