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MAP Accelerator math aid to debut at Glendale Unified this upcoming year

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Glendale Unified School District, Khan Academy and the NWEA will debut a MAP Accelerator tool to help with math learning this school year in the district.
(Associated Press)

For several years, many Glendale Unified teachers have benefited from videos, courses, lessons and other learning services provided by the nonprofit Khan Academy online educational organization.

The relationship between the district and the academy will grow even more as Glendale Unified, Khan Academy and the NWEA, formerly known as North West Evaluation Assn., will debut this year a new tool that’s geared to boost student math comprehension and development.

The partnership came to fruition, according to Chris Coulter, the district’s director of teaching and learning, shortly after Glendale Unified formed a committee to investigate ways to assist teachers and students inside and outside the classroom.

Glendale Unified contacted Khan Academy, which informed the district of its latest production, the MAP Accelerator, engineered in collaboration with NWEA.

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“We know that many of our teachers already use Khan Academy to help support students,” Coulter said in an emailed statement. “After reviewing other options, the committee recommended the Khan-NWEA Accelerator.”

Khan Academy and NWEA will roll out their project in four districts this school year, as Glendale Unified will join Madera Unified, Parajo Valley Unified and Nevada’s Clark County School District. Around 150,000 students are expected to use the program.

The MAP program is composed of two parts, the first being a MAP Growth diagnostic test that will provide district teachers with an assessment of how an individual student is performing in math.

The program will also provide supplemental products and tools, the MAP Accelerator, available online at any time, that can aid a student in a specific area.

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The diagnostic results will also allow an instructor to better tailor an education plan for a specific student.

“The most important part is that this is a tool to help teachers, not to replace their teaching or something that would replace any sort of instruction a teacher would give,” said Chris Minnich, NWEA chief executive. “This is a reinforcement mechanism, not something that would stand alone.”

Students will be tested three times a year, using the MAP assessment devised by NWEA, and then incorporate Khan Academy tools — such as video or text lessons — to catch up in troublesome areas.

“Teachers and parents can track student progress as they work through the lessons and assessments in Khan Academy,” Coulter said. “This program has great potential to assist the teacher in providing some fine tuning to students on a highly individualized basis.”

Minnich said the MAP Accelerator program was created for students from kindergarten through 10th grade studying math, reading and science.

Glendale Unified is embracing a limited release in just math and only for sixth- through eighth-graders attending the district’s four middle schools and 15 elementary schools that offer sixth-grade classes.

Glendale Unified teachers will begin MAP Accelerator training in August.

“We’re excited to see what they do with it,” Minnich said. “It’s going to be really interesting to see how much kids really do want to work with this outside of school time. That’s the thing we will be looking at.”

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