Like any good educator, we want all children to succeed. We’ve spent years in the field of education teaching struggling and typically developing students, training preservice and in-service teachers, studying how to accelerate learning, and promoting what works.
Unfortunately, successful educational practices are often not widely adopted. Complicated, time consuming methods, and numerous demands on teachers are barriers that make implementation of effective practices difficult. We knew that teachers need tools that remove these barriers that are easy to use, and ensure positive student outcomes.
After 60 years of collective educational experience we wanted to take what we know about what works and develop technological tools to help teachers help students learn. To ensure that these tools would work, we knew we had to use other experienced teachers and involve students in the process.
Closing Achievement Gaps with RAMP
Initially, RAMP was entirely focused on the use of real time data to help teachers accelerate student learning and close achievement gaps. While at the same time allowing students to see their scores and progress thus motivating students by providing immediate feedback. Teachers and students quickly helped us see that we needed a system where students could primarily work on tablets that easily collected student data and provide the necessary feedback. That led to the development of supplemental learning activities and assessments that could be performed on tablets.
After several years of developing and testing RAMP, we are now seeing teachers successfully accelerate learning and close achievement gaps. For example, the data summarized on John and Eduardo, both at-risk students, illustrate how RAMP helped close their achievement gap by doubling the rate at which John, an eighth grader attending a Charter School for students on the Autism Spectrum, and Eduardo, a fourth grade English Language Learner in a Title 1 school, mastered learning targets in Addition/Subtraction Fact Families with RAMP.
Such accountability requires data on learning outcomes, but data alone don’t solve the problem. We are now collecting more data than ever, but are those data being used to make a difference with student learning? In recent years we are hearing more complaints regarding excessive testing, the amount of time spent on assessments, and the lack of support to effectively use student data to improve teaching and learning on a weekly basis. Continually updated learning data should be available for teacher team meetings to facilitate progress monitoring.
RAMP Inventors Dr. Richard Young and Lynnette Christensen
Brigham Young University