Alpha's blended-learning program began with a two-station Station Rotation model where half of the class would be working on online learning while the other half received direct instruction from the teacher. The model has changed to a three-station Station Rotation model in order to personalize instruction and meet individual student needs.
For a first-year school in a first-year organization, the greatest challenges have been typical: recruiting students and teachers, fundraising, securing a facility, establishing a strong school culture, etc. With respect to blended learning, we have struggled with data integration, effectively training and supporting teachers, balancing risk tolerance and innovation with the responsibility of ensuring that the academic program is effective, and selecting and creating meaningful content and assessments. Another one of our biggest challenges was not being able to meet the needs of students who were falling behind. It solved this problem by incorporating small-group instruction where students filter through based on tiered levels.
Make sure you know what your end-goal is for incorporating a blended program. This goal should drive all decisions for how to move forward, otherwise there will be components in your program that may deter you from your goal.
Traditional schools take a one-size-fits-all approach, marching all students through the same material. Teachers try their best to differentiate instruction across their classes, but rarely have the tools and resources they need to meet each student’s needs, interests, learning style and pace — let alone move students beyond basic academic competency and toward true college-ready skills. By using technology to empower great teachers and inspire active learning, Alpha Public Schools will not only change the educational and economic trajectory of our students’ lives, but also transform their surrounding communities.
Contact: Manny Barrera
Contact Title: Director of Academics, Alpha Public Schools
Alpha: Blanca Alvarado Middle School
1601 Cunningham Ave
San Jose, California
In 2014-2015 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in science in grades 5, 8 and 10. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.
In 2014-2015 California tested students using the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), administered through the online Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments. These are comprehensive, end-of-year assessments of grade-level learning that measure progress toward college and career readiness. Each test, English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics is comprised of two parts: (1) a computer adaptive test and (2) a performance task; administered within a 12-week window beginning at 66 percent of the instructional year for grades three through eight, or within in a 7-week window beginning at 80 percent of the instructional year for grade eleven. The summative assessments are aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA and mathematics. The tests capitalize on the strengths of computer adaptive testing—efficient and precise measurement across the full range of achievement and timely turnaround of results.
Each spring, students in grades two through eleven take a STAR test. The STAR Program looks at how well schools and students are performing. Students take tests in math, reading, writing, science, and history. Teachers and parents can use test results to improve student learning. The STAR Program includes four tests: the California Standards Tests, the California Modified Assessment, the California Alternate Performance Assessment, and the Standards-based Tests in Spanish.
The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System was established on January 1, 2014. The CAASPP System replaced the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program, which became inoperative on July 1, 2013.