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Hudson (WI) Middle School

/Academy Interventions

Download PDF version of this articleWhen you hear the words “proposal”, “engaged” and “lifelong commitment”, you’re most likely thinking about the last wedding you attended or maybe even your marriage vows. Although this story isn’t about a Wisconsin wedding, it does have a happy ending.

It begins with Emily Wood-Sorenson, a Hudson Middle School Teacher and her proposal to the Hudson School District to purchase the Academy of MATH® software for her summer school math intervention program.

“Almost every student improved during our summer school program. Some went up two grade levels, and a couple went up three grade levels. If this is what the Academy of MATH can do in three weeks with my students, I can’t wait to see the results after we implement it during the school year!”
Emily Wood-Sorenson, Educator

The program lasted three weeks with three periods in the morning for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who needed additional help with their math skills. Wood-Sorenson was eager to implement the Academy of MATH with her students because she had finally found a program that could make a difference.

“I had struggled in the past trying to figure out what I could teach these summer school kids in three weeks that would do any good,” said Wood-Sorenson. “I was so frustrated I was pulling my hair out. But with the Academy of MATH I have students who are at a level 2 and others at a level 8 in the same classroom. The software makes it so easy to monitor their progress and give individual attention when needed.”

The developers of the Academy of MATH are giving today’s educators the tools they need to help students succeed in the classroom, and in life. With little time and even fewer resources, busy educators need to quickly integrate technology into the classroom, help students become productive immediately and generate rapid results. Many teachers have made lifelong commitments to educating and enlightening youth, while AutoSkill International has been assisting in this mission since today’s high school seniors were wearing diapers.

For more than 18 years, AutoSkill International has been a leading provider of reading and math intervention solutions for at-risk students of all ages and abilities. Based on original scientific research and proven to build fluency in the foundation skills of reading and math, AutoSkill products are improving student achievement in thousands of schools across the United States.

For Hudson students, the engagement happened as soon as they began working with the Academy of MATH. The software uses a pedagogical model that incorporates task-analysis to break skills down into simpler components, automaticity to build fluency, and positive feedback and motivational elements to boost confidence and self-esteem.

“Students who are at their skill level stay engaged, even students who are at a higher skill level felt challenged and were offered new material to work on. It wasn’t just a review of the same skills over and over,” said Wood-Sorenson. “My students felt comfortable using the Academy of MATH and really got a lot out of it.”

After an average of just less than 11 hours in the program, Hudson Middle School students made gains their parents would be proud of — the 8th graders gained 2.0 grade levels, 7th graders gained 1.7 grade levels and 6th graders gained 1.1 grade levels.

“Almost every student improved during our summer school program. Some went up two grade levels and a couple went up three grade levels,” said Wood-Sorenson. “If this is what the Academy of MATH can do in three weeks with my students, I can’t wait to see the results after we implement it during the school year!”

To be successful in any learning environment, students need to stay motivated. The Academy of MATH uses a variety of motivational elements to keep students engaged. For starters, the age-appropriate content, interfaces and graphical elements create an optimal learning environment for students from 2-12. Students also start on “easier” material and work through content, celebrating success at every step along the way. The program’s positive feedback and motivational “buddy” characters keep students focused on learning.

Wood-Sorenson also motivated her students with “AutoSkill Bucks” – fake money she created and distributed to students who stayed on task or as they progressed to a new level in the program. The students were able to use their “AutoSkill Bucks” on Fridays to purchase candy or small toys from the classroom “store.”

The Hudson summer school students found the Academy of MATH very worthwhile. Wood-Sorenson even had new students enter the program late because their siblings were already in it and had been achieving such great results. With such a variety of students benefiting from the program, Wood-Sorenson believes it could expand even further.

“I think that the Academy of MATH could be very beneficial to special education students as well as ESL students,” said Wood-Sorenson. “It is so easily monitored, you can tell exactly what students are working on and if the get stuck on a lesson. Just the fact it’s on the computer would be a huge advantage for these students. They’re getting the skills and practice they’ll need down the road.”

We told you this story would have a happy ending.