The biggest benefit of School of One is that it’s truly an individualized program, where students are experiencing different modalities of learning.”
Students learn in different ways. Some prefer lectures led by teachers, and others thrive with digital instruction. They also enter the classroom with a range of strengths, interests, and needs. To address these different needs, the New York City Department of Education was awarded a five-year i3 grant to develop a model for delivering customized learning plans to middle school math students.
School of One, now known as Teach to One, was co-created by the iZone and New Classrooms Innovation Partners, a nonprofit established to scale School of One and create new models for effective instruction. Schools implementing School of One integrate a variety of instructional approaches to create a targeted, individualized learning experience, at the appropriate academic level for every student.
In the School of One program, students are assigned groups based on skill level and learning style and then participate in a variety of skill-building activities including direct instruction with teachers, small group work with peers, and online tutoring. Students are assessed daily to determine whether they have mastered a skill or need more time on that skill. Daily assessments are then used to determine what each student will work on the following class day.
With School of One, teachers are equipped with real-time data on student performance and students learn only what they are ready for and do not move on to more advanced material until they have mastered a particular skill. This enables each student to have an engaging, meaningful, and highly personalized learning experience.
Interested in seeing School of One in action? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign-up for a tour of Teach to One.
Research & Evaluation
Researchers at Columbia University conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial with four participating NYC Schools. The researchers examined whether the program had a large impact on students’ mathematics achievement growth during a two-year period (SY 2012-13 and 2013-14). The evaluation methodology included survey data collected from students and teachers measuring academic behaviors and attitudes, focus groups, and analysis of student achievement and enrollment data.
Although the study design was limited and lacked precision for multiple reasons, including a small sample size, the researchers concluded that:
- School of One had no statistically significant effects on student achievement—positive or negative–relative to traditional math instruction. Student outcomes in the School of One setting suggest a potential modest effect on math achievement.
- Teachers in School of One report a significantly higher view of their math curriculum than non-School of One teachers in both 2013 and 2014.
A second study is currently underway by New Classrooms in partnership with
Elizabeth Public Schools and the Consortium for Policy Research in Education to better understanding the impact of Teach to One on student mathematics achievement and instructional practices.
A post-implementation study was also conducted to determine enabling conditions, challenges, and promising practices associated with the implementation of the program. That research demonstrated the need for a highly collaborative, flexible staff with strong behavior management techniques who have the desire to make the program successful.
The implementation guide created as a result of this study highlighted factors and strategies that could contribute to a successful implementation of the program. Read more: School of One in New York City: An Implementation Guide
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