"My students went from a 58% pass rate to 127-154% growth in eighth grade to 91-97% pass rate in high school.”
In the Mississippi high school where C. White taught 9th grade English for 10 years, impoverishment was an accepted part of daily life. Almost 100% of students at the school received free or reduced-fee lunch. Many of her students entered her classroom performing below a 5th-grade level. Classrooms of 25-30 students averaged three computers, with lab time limited to once per month. White estimates 65% of the students had no parents at home, living instead with foster parents or grandparents.
White was a substitute teacher for six years and a teacher’s aide in junior high and high school settings for four years before entering her own classroom in January of 2008. Although the school, students, and teachers were challenged, White notes that what she had going for her was, “…the most amazing administrator ever.” Data-driven, he pressed teachers in his school to use data to branch out, experiment, and use what worked.
“The reality is that even though schools bring in consultants and teams, too many teachers allow themselves to keep doing the exact same thing they’ve done for the past 25 years, with the exact same results,” says White. “I came in and saw the data and possibilities for custom remediation and personalized learning with USATestprep as a game changer, and used it to my advantage.”
White cites USATestprep as opening up her and a colleague’s time to better help and support their students. Not one to shy away from offering her opinion, she maintains that “brutal honesty and awareness” is how she broke through to her kids—with impressive results.
White would have students’ home in on one to two key areas at a time. “Once the kids could see where they needed the help, they felt more in control and were more likely to work with me,” she states. “USATestprep gave us all the data we needed. I could sit down and in 10 minutes, show a student where they were floundering. Then I could change up questions to make a quiz or assessment at a lower level for students who were struggling to keep up, keeping everyone engaged and motivated.”
White notes that at first students would get depressed that their pass rate on MAP tests was maybe only 55%, until she pointed out that they had a 20% growth in the areas in which they’d focused. “So as I’m breaking it down for them and making them aware of their strengths and weaknesses, the kids are into it,” states White.
While her administration was supportive, White notes that schools deal in reality and, at the end of the day, any teacher who doesn’t deliver pass rates isn’t going to make it. Which is what she appreciates about USATP—“It can really help you be a better teacher.”
White experienced success with underperforming kids to the extent that the most challenging students were soon being funneled into her room. “I did what the data said, and it worked,” she states. “I had kids enter my room in high school reading at a 1.2 or 1.3. By December they’d be at a 5.6 and then a 6.2 by the end of the year.”
What really sold White on USATestprep, however, was the learning she saw take place. “Even though we would switch focus areas, I’d go back and test them on the areas we’d left behind and they retained the information. “My students went from a 58% pass rate to 127-154% growth in eighth grade to 91-97% pass rate in high school.”
“That’s what truly made this a game changer.”
How White Engaged Students with USATestprep
- Videos – “These gave kids a feeling of accomplishment in basic skills that they could transfer into their reading and writing.”
- Games – “Kids loved the competition and it didn’t feel like ‘school’ or ‘learning.’”
- Green Dot Challenge– “This was great for our 10-minute conferences. We’d talk about what they needed to do to turn everything to their target color.”
- Practice – “These kids lacked confidence as much as knowledge. The USATP practice tests gave them a template they were able to recognize and work through on the actual state tests."
We love to share inspiring stories like White’s. If you have a success you’d like to share, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, our respect and admiration go out to White and her students for all they’ve accomplished together.