Turning Things Around

Online learning platform helps tackle COVID slide

Students use IXL curriculum in Melva Triplet
Students use IXL curriculum in Melva Triplet
Photo Provided

LINDEN — For Melva Triplet, the answer for stopping the COVID slide in her fourth grade classroom at Pleasant Hill Elementary was already in her toolbox.

“When we came back to school, [the students] took NWEA,” Triplet said, referring to the standardized test, “and we had a lot of kids who made no growth or low growth and we needed a way to turn that around.”

Triplet turned to IXL Learning, an online personalized instruction platform she began using more than a decade ago to reinforce reading and writing lessons.

The strategy is showing results: A special education student who came into fourth grade a year-and-a-half behind on reading is now reading at grade level and was the only child in the class to receive a perfect score on a math assessment.

“I contribute all of that to using the IXL program because it’s just so good,” said Triplet, who was recently named to IXL’s Elite 100 list of participating teachers. “I see it over my whole classroom and it’s great.”

IXL Learning offers individualized lessons in math, language arts, social studies, science and basic Spanish to more than 11 million students in preschool through 12th grade.

All North Montgomery elementary schools use the math program, where activities are tailored to each student’s skills.

“This app allows students to practice math skills at their own level,” North Montgomery Superintendent Dr. Colleen Moran said.

IXL has also helped boost reading skills. Some of Triplet’s high-ability students are reading at a ninth grade level.

For teachers, the program helps generate personalized learning plans and provides a real-time look at student progress as skills are completed.

Teachers across the country say the platform has improved standardized testing scores and classroom performance while helping identify and remediate struggling students, especially during the pandemic.

“Educators taught us lessons about resilience and dedication that we’ll never forget. They inspired us as they continued to serve their students despite unimaginable disruptions,” IXL CEO Paul Mishkin said in a statement.