Hello, my name is Dan Neaton, co-creator of the new skill building math software Number DNA®. Using our online software, students in the greater Flint area are quickly improving the numeracy skills needed to meet or exceed state math standards. In November, one local school started an eight-week Number DNA trial. Ten cohorts were formed by selecting eight low skilled math students from each class that met for 30 minutes, 4 to 5 days a week. Their results are captured below. To the delight of teachers and administrators, all ten cohorts exceeded their expected NWEA growth targets, one cohort by over 19 points.
What is Number DNA’s secret sauce? First, Number DNA is mastery-based and energized by Pokémon micro-rewards for success. Students take a pretest to see where they begin then move forward mastering one concept at a time. The bar for mastery is set to be challenging but attainable due to the short workouts, instant feedback, and having the next workout cued up and ready to go. Students, on average, are completing 5 to 8 workouts per 30-minute session.
Mastery requires meeting two performance requirements, accuracy, and time.
Generally, students are required to earn a 90% or better average in under three minutes while the time requirements are set to discourage calculator use.
Workouts, quizzes, and tests are designed so that students automatically stop and think before locking in their answers and that is because questions are formatted three different ways. Three problems on a test a might look like this;
6 x _?_ = 18
7 x 4 = _?_
_?_ x 10 = 80
Students working in the Number Game unit are asked two-part questions like; find two numbers that multiply to equal 24 and add to equal 11. Here students practice the ‘process of elimination’ to home in on the correct pair. Eliminating the pairs 1 and 24, 2 and 12, and 6 and 4, the answer is 3 and 8.