To achieve the goal of dramatically improving student achievement and help students emerge from high school well prepared for college and career, we know that traditional educational approaches need to be reinvented. To do that, we’ve worked with leading researchers and practitioners in mathematics and science to create comprehensive programs that support student learning from middle school through high school and successful entry to college.
Together, we have leveraged the latest digital technologies, as well as breakthrough findings in the learning sciences, neuroscience, and psychology, to build course programs that transform the experience of teaching and learning in the classroom.
1) Teachers at the heart of instructional leadership
Agile Mind programs were explicitly designed to equip teachers with resources worthy of the challenges they face every day. We use 21st century technologies to provide the tools, knowledge, and support teachers need to elevate their practice for all of the students they serve. For more information on our supports for teachers, click here.
2) Comprehensive, aligned system for teaching and learning
Agile Mind course programs are more than a digital curriculum. Every Agile Mind program provides a complete set of tools, carefully aligned and calibrated to help teachers work more effectively and to help students take responsibility for their learning. Tools and services encompass:
More than a decade of research shows that a comprehensive integration and alignment of resources for key instructional functions correlates positively and powerfully to improved student achievement and teacher satisfaction. For more on each Agile Mind course program, click here.
3) Explicit design for non-cognitive factors
Core to Agile Mind’s pedagogical approach is the knowledge, backed by years of research, data, and experience, that non-cognitive factors, such as motivation, positive self-belief, and productive persistence, are fundamental to a student’s success in school, college, and career.
Our integration of these concepts and supporting strategies builds from the path-breaking efforts of Uri Treisman, whose work with minority students in the Emerging Scholars program led to a MacArthur Foundation award and has been replicated at 400 colleges and universities, as well as dozens of high schools.
Agile Mind mathematics and science programs have all been designed to incorporate knowledge from research on these non-cognitive factors and their effect on how students learn. These concepts are put into practice in our family of Academic Youth Development programs. Learn more about our Academic Youth Development programs.
4) Embedded formative assessments
A rich body of research shows that continuous use of formative assessments in and around the classroom—where teachers make instructional decisions in the moment—is a powerful lever in transforming student achievement.
Every Agile Mind course program encompasses hundreds of formative assessments, most of which can be automatically graded and reported in real time, enabling teachers to use data to impact instructional decisions in the moment. To date, more than two million students have engaged more than one billion times with our embedded assessment tasks.
Because of our pioneering work in developing and testing next-generation assessments, we were invited to co-develop the assessment prototypes for the PARCC consortia. For examples, please visit the assessment section of The Mathematics Common Core Toolbox.
5) Next-generation standards
Agile Mind’s research and development partners have been involved from inception in the Common Core and TEKS standards—and to the deeper learning they represent. Leveraging that knowledge and expertise, our programs have been built from the ground up to incorporate the vision as well as the requirements of these next-generation standards. Our professional development services are specifically designed to address the practice, as well as the content standards outlined in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) and college readiness requirements.
Agile Mind co-hosts, along with the Charles A. Dana Center, the Mathematics Common Core Toolbox, an open-access website that provides a range of free tools and materials to support teachers and administrators in their transition to the Common Core. Our open-access site for the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills will be available March 1, 2014.
6) R&D partnerships that bring best-of-breed research to practice
Agile Mind’s founders recognized a dramatic disconnect between the breakthrough research and practice being conducted by key research institutions around the nation and the programs and curricula being made available for use in the classroom. That is why we have partnered with outstanding research institutions such as the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin, the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois/Chicago, and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study group to continuously incorporate the latest findings into the programs we offer our partner districts. Learn more about Agile Mind’s research partners.
7) Technology to honor and support educators, not replace them
From our inception, technology has been central to the design and implementation of Agile Mind programs. However, we do technology differently. Unlike tech evangelists who envision technology as a replacement for teachers, we at Agile Mind see that technology can help teachers meet the much more complex demands on their expertise, can help students take responsibility for their learning, and can add purpose and intensity to the collaboration of teachers and learners toward academic success.
We have also leveraged technology to pioneer new uses of data mining—both to equip educators with the data on student behaviors that can inform their daily practice and to provide empirical evidence for the instructional design of every component of our programs and services.
The Agile Mind technology platform, developed by our San Francisco-based engineering team, was designed to support a range of school environments, from low bandwidth schools with minimal infrastructure to those deploying 21st century learning strategies.