Summer Online Learners Face School Year with Confidence: Alabama

Amy Frith

With summer nearly over, many youth are trying to push thoughts of a looming school year to the back of their minds. The typical summer slide that results from students putting aside their studies for several months has set them back, and soon it will be time to play a frantic game of catch-up on lost skills and rusty routines.

In Alabama, some students are enjoying the waning days of summer free from the anxieties of a new school year thanks to consistency of learning over the summer months through the Stride anytime, anywhere online learning program.

“I made it a part of their daily homework,” says Gwen Yarbrough, a parent from Madison, AL. “They really looked forward to the games once they completed the lesson. We used to do workbook pages and they dreaded it, but they actually get excited about Stride. It’s an easy and interactive way for them to keep up their skills.”

Skill Growth and Summer Fun: Challenge Accepted

Fuel Education®, through a partnership with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) called the “Alabama Summer Learning Challenge,” was able to provide free access to the Stride online program for families across the state for the fifth consecutive year. The annual statewide campaign compels youth to stay connected to learning through technology, even when they aren’t required to during the summer.

Year over year, use of Stride during the summer months has grown in popularity, through word-of-mouth by parents and students, and through the encouragement of teachers who have seen positive results yielded from the program during the academic year. These teachers trust Stride to keep students engaged over the summer months—and with good reason.

Stride is a self-directed, fully adaptive learning program that allows students to practice math, reading, language arts, and science concepts beginning at a level where they can be successful—even if that’s several grades below their enrolled grade level. As they continue to work, Stride’s adaptive technology automatically adjusts the curriculum to provide remediation or enrichment appropriate to the needs of the student. Along the way, students are motivated toward skills mastery by coins they can redeem for gaming time in a variety of game genres—including puzzles, sports, arcade, logic, and word games.

Auburn University Study Demonstrates Stride Impact on Test Scores
A statewide study published this summer by the Auburn University Center for Evaluation found that Stride was “successful during the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 school years in improving academic achievement in targeted schools” in Alabama. Here are some key findings of Stride’s impact on test scores from the study, titled “Data Analysis and Evaluation of the Motivated Data Stride Computer-Online Learning Program and its Impact on ACT Aspire Results”:

  • Students who used Stride improved math pass rates by 15 percent
  • Students who used Stride improved reading pass rates by 10 percent
  • Economically disadvantaged students who used Stride improved math pass rates by 23 percent
  • African American students who used Stride and are economically disadvantaged improved math pass rates by 23 percent and reading pass rates by 18 percent
  • Special education students who used Stride improved reading pass rates by 5 percent

The Auburn University study concludes, “Overall, the evidence provided in this report suggests that Stride is a valuable method of improving scores for any student. However, those with the most to gain appear to receive the greatest benefit from participation.”

Imagine, then, what could be gained—instead of lost—in a summer of anytime, anywhere learning in Stride. For the student who lagged behind his peers last school year, it could mean catching up to grade level and gaining confidence to start strong in the new school year. For the student who struggled in a particular area of math, it could mean having the time and flexibility to master those concepts at a more gradual pace in the privacy of home.

Imagine, as educators or parents, what your students stand to gain by accessing Stride daily in the classroom—or even from home in the evenings in their moments of spare time.

Game-Based Delivery Builds a Year-Long Love of Learning
“My kids loved using Stride—they used it during the summer and still use it during the afternoon after school,” says Sarah Powell, a parent from Madison, AL. “They enjoy using it especially because it’s just them playing games while they learn. My 7-year-old said she learned extra math skills from Stride. My 11-year-old said he and his friends are ‘kind of addicted to Stride’ because of the coins they earn when they get answers right. They like saving the coins up and then using them to play cool games.”

It is easy to see why Stride is a favored choice for learning extension in the summer months, and again over fall, winter, and spring breaks when children deserve to have some fun. But parents and teachers agree that the Stride game-based learning program is a great tool for continuous, year-long learning: a healthy combination of fun “brain breaks” to keep students motivated, and a variety of content that is directly aligned to critical learning standards for math, reading, language arts, and science.

Charles A. Gardner, Ed.S., principal of Hokes Bluff Elementary School in Etowah County, Alabama, and a 2016 NAESP Distinguished Principal, agrees that Stride is effective for his students. “Stride gives students confidence because it meets the student at his or her particular level of ability. Students are motivated by the coin-based reward system and the gaming component, and it is a great example of learning while having fun.”

To read more about the Alabama Summer Learning Challenge, click here.
To read the full Auburn University study of Stride Impact on Test Scores in Alabama, click here.
To learn more about Stride or request a demo, click here.

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