Gateway Tech utilizes Gradpoint courseware, developed by Pearson. This program is a web-based program. Follow this link to read about this program:
All students are enrolled into courses using the prescriptive mode, regardless of whether or not they are restoring credit or taking the course for original credit. Most of the courses are separated by first semester (A) and second semester (B). For example, Algebra IA is the first semester of Algebra I and Algebra IB is the second semester of Algebra I. Students are assigned to the first semester course and then when this is completed, they advance to the second semester course.
Each course is divided into units, or folders. Depending on the subject, each course has from 5-12 units. The units include from 3-5 major concepts. Each unit begins with a pre-test. The pre-test evaluates the student’s knowledge of the concepts covered in the unit. The computer then assigns lessons in the areas that the student did not score at least 80% mastery level. It is not uncommon for students to “pass out” of one or more lessons based on their knowledge and competency in that area.
Gradpoint lessons utilize an effective lesson cycle. This cycle includes learning objectives, preview vocabulary, direct instruction, guided practice with feedback, independent practice, followed by a quiz/assessment for each lesson. Lessons present small chunks of information, either through written texts, interactive diagrams, or embedded videos or links to videos. Students may use headphones to listen to the lessons or some choose to just view them without the audio.
After completion of all assigned lessons in a unit, the student then takes a post-test. Grades are derived from quizzes and post-tests plus the final review test (semester exam.) Mastery is set at 80% in all areas.
The cycled then continues throughout the course: pre-test, lesson/quizzes, post-tests for each unit. At the end of all of the units is a cumulative Review Test or semester final.
The program is not easy. The standards are high and students’ feedback indicates that although the material is thorough and at times challenging, they learn more than in the traditional classroom setting.
Curriculum aligns with the State of Texas TEKS and is taught in a controlled and sequential manner.
Students are scheduled into four semester courses at a time. These courses are determined by the individual graduation plan. Credits that need to be restored are done first, and then original credit courses are assigned. Once a student finishes a course, he/she is assigned a new one.
Initial instruction is provided by the Gradpoint program. Students are required to have a spiral notebook to take notes while they are working in the courses. They are required to show their work in math before they select the answer in guided practice, independent practice, and all assessments.
Students who struggle with a concept or lesson can then get help from the teacher. Many times it is a simple matter of clarifying the concepts or steps to the student. Once a student moves into the assessments (quizzes, post-tests, review test) if he/she does not reach an 80% mastery, the computer re-assigns the assessment once. If, on the second try, the student does not reach the 80% mastery, he/she must receive instruction from the teacher. This instruction is delivered in various ways. Generally the teacher works with the student (re-teaches) the concepts not passed. The student is expected to show his/her notes to the teacher during this process. Once this re-teaching is completed, the teacher re-assigns the test and the student is usually successful. Every time an assessment is re-assigned, the computer generates a new test. The tests cover the same concepts but just different questions.
Students are encouraged to link to educational websites for additional instruction. Websites such as Khan Academy (for math and science) are approved. Websites that show just answers with no explanations are not approved. Students are discouraged from seeking out just the answer from websites such as ask.com or answer.com. Incidents such as these are evaluated on a case by case basis by the teacher and/or coordinator.
We focus on teaching the student how to learn and how to apply the new concepts. Our teachers emphasize and train students to think about the problem, evaluate what is being asked, solve and then answer the question, and explain how they arrived at the answer. These are important steps to becoming a successful, life-long learner.