Austin, Texas (PRWEB) May 15, 2017
Exploros™ announced today that Texas schools have seen continuous improvement since joining the large-scale pilot of its 8th Grade U.S. History OER core curriculum, and pilot teachers surveyed in April have given Exploros high marks. This free full-year course for device-rich classrooms includes 135 TEKS-aligned digital lessons based on the 5E Model, organized into units, with an emphasis on active learning, teacher effectiveness, and ease of use. Real-time data constantly monitors student progress and understanding.
In 2016, the first pilot school, Beatriz B. Garza Middle School in Weslaco, achieved a 24 percent increase in satisfactory STAAR scores after one year and an average of 17 responses per student per class, indicating a high level of engagement. Fifty schools in 32 Texas districts have since joined the pilot, with teachers in an additional 59 Texas schools also using Exploros. In 2017, pilot schools have seen gains of up to 28 percent in benchmark testing—results that compare favorably with average district scores. The current pilot is scheduled to end after the May 2017 STAAR testing, with new pilot spots available for the fall.
In the April survey, 93 percent of pilot teachers said Exploros provides high-quality learning experiences for their students, 89 percent said Exploros saves lesson preparation time, and 96 percent said Exploros allows them to better assess student understanding of concepts. All teachers said they had elected to use Exploros in their classrooms, with almost two thirds using Exploros for 40 percent of classroom time and about a third also using Exploros for homework. Many teachers indicated that Exploros helps them differentiate learning, with comments such as “students can work at their own pace” and “there is something for everyone’s style of learning.”
“Exploros is a one-stop shop and easy to implement, even for non tech-savvy teachers,” said Blanca Ibarra, Middle School Social Studies Coordinator at United Independent School District in Laredo. “It accommodates different teaching styles but always with 100 percent student engagement, while allowing teachers to see the difference between teaching something and the kids learning it. In addition, the real-time data lets me monitor instruction in schools across the district.”
Because a core principle of Exploros is to incorporate teacher feedback, the survey also solicited suggestions for improvement. “We greatly appreciate all the feedback teachers provide, and we are excited to further meet their needs,” said Exploros CEO Bradley Heilman. “For example, teachers requested easier access to student scores, so a new feature called Response Dashboard now shows live when a student posts a response and auto-scores the response where possible.”
Teachers also asked for a choice of shorter reading passages and more differentiated reading levels. In response, this summer Exploros will introduce a new feature called Article Summaries, with optional simplified versions of the online articles. And because teachers asked for more reporting connection to the TEKS, new reports will soon show TEKS coverage for each concept, student, and class.
With offices in Texas and Massachusetts, Exploros provides free OER core curriculum to K-12 schools with an initial emphasis on the underserved area of middle school social studies. In addition to 8th Grade U.S. History, Exploros provides free OER curriculum for 6th Grade World Cultures and 7th Grade Texas History. All lessons and resources are aligned to TEKS standards, making the rich but overwhelming range of online information truly useful to Texas teachers. The free courses help districts move to financial sustainability, with significant cost savings over traditional curriculum. Real-time data measuring student engagement and progress against learning objectives is available to pilot schools at no charge. An optional end-of-pilot subscription of $10/student provides ongoing access to data as well as customization services.
For more information, contact Yoel Givol, yoel(at)exploros.com.