No matter what you teach, you’ll always have students who need remediation.
This is also true in every track of career and technical education. Whether you’re introducing students to health science in a middle school or preparing them for certifications at a career and technical center, you’ll always have students moving at different paces in the classroom.
As a teacher, it’s your responsibility to help as many students succeed in your classroom as possible.
So how do you identify and help the students who need it most?
That’s a difficult question — especially because the students who need the most help are sometimes the last to ask for it.
Fortunately, a digital curriculum and learning management system (LMS) can help you easily reach the students who need a little more guidance.
HealthCenter21 specializes in CTE health science, while Business&ITCenter21 covers business education, career readiness, computer applications, and more.
Our community of teachers uses these digital curriculum solutions to plan out their classes, organize lesson plans, and track student progress. They do it all through an online portal, so everything is right in their web browser.
Our digital curriculum options come with a full-fledged LMS, complete with automatic grading, data reporting, and a slew of customizable features.
With all of these features in one curriculum, teachers can easily identify and help students who need remediation.
The key is allowing students to work at their own pace.
Step 2. Let Students Work on Their Own
The best part about CTE classes is that students almost always have to opt into them.
So some students may hate math classes, but they have to take the classes to satisfy state requirements. Others may not like English classes, but they have to take the classes anyway.
For CTE pathways, almost every student in a classroom is interested in the topic at hand. That interest makes it easier for students to become engaged and motivated.
That’s a big reason why self-paced work is such an advantage of CTE digital curriculum.
The idea behind self-paced learning is that students don’t have to worry about keeping up with a class or waiting on others. Instead, they learn at the speed that works best for them.
As a result, you can start identifying students who may need remediation after they complete a few assignments.
These students could show lower grades, fewer assignment completions, or more errors than their peers. They may also take and retake online quizzes, if you allow that in your classroom.
But one bad grade isn’t enough to decide if someone needs remediation.
That’s why it’s important to continually watch your students’ grades and progress.
Step 3. Monitor Student Grades & Progress
Because digital curriculum options often come with an integrated LMS, you’ll be able to check student progress in your classroom at a glance.
So you’ll be able to see when students complete activities and assessments. You’ll also be able to see how well they do on each.
Some companies (like AES) even let you see how many times a student has attempted a test if you let them retake assessments.
With this information, you can see which students are getting better, which are holding a steady grade, and which are getting worse.
You don’t often have to worry about the first two categories of students. But it’s crucial that you intervene with students who show a decline in activity completions and assessment grades.
These are the students who are clearly missing something. It could be introductory information that never learned, misunderstanding a task, or just a general sense of feeling lost in a class.
Regardless, a digital curriculum lets you identify the students experiencing difficulty so you can approach them directly.
The way you approach them is up to you.
Step 4. Offer Extra Help to Struggling Students
It’s never fun to be the student who needs extra help.
But depending on your class, you may have too many students to help personally.
With that in mind, you have a few options you can use.
Option 1. Help During Class
Advantages: Direct, specific, and informative
Disadvantages: Student embarrassment and time investment
The most direct approach to remediation is to help a student during class.
You can do this by calling the student to your desk, talking to them about their performance with their work, and listen to them talk about where they’re struggling.
Then, you can go back to the student’s work station and give them direct guidance in the areas where they’re struggling.
It could be overcoming test anxiety, reading activity prompts more closely, or explaining concepts in a different way.
There are many reasons a student could have trouble in your classroom. By helping a student during class, you can be sure you’re helping them with the specific issues that are holding them back in class.
On the other hand, no student wants to be known as the one who needs remediation. It may not bother some students, but it may be a major social issue for others.
In addition, you could spend a lot of your class time with the same student(s) to help them along. At a certain point, you can’t keep helping them.
After all, you won’t be there to spoon-feed them information when they start their careers.
Fortunately, this isn’t the only approach to remediating struggling students.
Option 2. Start a Private Discussion
Advantages: Private, direct, specific, and informative
Disadvantages: Time investment
You can also remediate students by having a private discussion with them outside of class time.
This discussion could happen at your desk, in the hall, after class, or somewhere else that a student’s peers won’t see them.
This removes the possibility of student embarrassment. It also lets you get more honest answers from a student since they don’t have to worry about being overheard if they have to ask questions.
Best of all, you’ll learn exactly where your students feel they’re struggling. Just like with our last option, pulling a student aside will give you some specifics on how you can help them succeed.
But there’s a big downside to this remediation strategy. To make it work well, you have to invest a ton of time.
You’ll have to speak to a student after class, experiment with learning solutions, and steadily work with them to achieve improvement.
If they don’t, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board, which could mean starting from square one and an even longer time investment.
But neither of these two strategies truly embrace the power of digital curriculum to help remediate students.
Our next example lets your curriculum take charge so you can help students without losing a ton of time in and out of class.
Option 3. Allow Students to Repeat Curriculum Material
Advantages: Specific, flexible, and student-based
Disadvantages: Repetitive and indirect
If you really want to remediate students, you should use the digital curriculum that you already have.
That means allowing students to redo activities and retake tests, among other ideas.
Plus, you can have students do this outside of the classroom. That requires a bigger time investment on their part, but nothing on yours.
You just have to observe.
As you observe, you can see the activities or questions that a student gets wrong most of the time. That’ll give you a good idea of where they’re struggling, even if they don’t know how to put it into words yet.
You may also see that a student doesn’t need your intervention at all. A student may start learning the material better through sheer repetition.
But if a student continues to struggle, then you know you should intervene.
This approach is great if you want to be a more hands-off instructor.
But it subjects your students to rigorous repetition, and they don’t always get the extra face-to-face instruction that can really help them.
As a result, we recommend taking this approach first when you find students struggling in a digital curriculum.
Then, if students don’t show improvement, you can take a more direct approach with Option 1 or Option 2.
That gives you the most advantages of every option while minimizing the disadvantages.
In other words, it gives your students the best chance to succeed!
Check Out a Digital Curriculum for Yourself
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Check out our programs to find the digital curriculum that’ll fit your classroom.