Tennessee DOE Blended Learning Pilot Yields Promising Results

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Tennessee Department of Education has found that the first year of its two-year pilot introducing blended learning to Algebra I classes around the state was most successful when teachers received regular, personalized coaching from BetterLesson, said officials. 

Teachers from four Chattanooga area schools participated in the pilot: Hixson High School, Howard School of Academics and Technology, East Ridge High School and Ooltewah Middle School. 

The pilot is a key feature in Tennessee Succeeds, the state’s five year plan to improve overall student achievement. Blended learning combines classroom teaching with technology so students can better control their own learning experience through video, websites to practice lessons, and other online instructional tools.

At the outset, two-thirds of the teachers in the pilot said they had never used blended learning in their classes before. That led the DOE to also provide personal, one-to-one coaching to each teacher, giving them advice from master teachers on approaches that could help them in their classrooms. 

A DOE report on the first year of the pilot says, taken as a whole, the results show a positive relationship between blended learning and increased student test scores in 37 participating schools. Coaching provided by BetterLesson was a catalyst for many Tennessee educators to adapt to the new teaching model. According to the report: 

“While the data does not completely explain what caused the increase from the first semester to the second semester, coaching and support provided by BetterLesson was likely a factor that led to an increase in differentiated instruction. When asked on the survey if BetterLesson coaches identified practical strategies that support differentiated instruction in their classrooms, 87 percent of the teachers agreed or strongly agreed.”

“One teacher said, ‘It is like a B12 shot every two weeks. It makes me feel supported, like I can do anything.’ Another teacher said, ‘The BetterLesson strategies…helped me expand my toolbox.’”

“Overall, teachers indicated that BetterLesson helped them implement blended learning in their classrooms or implement specific blended learning strategies.”

BetterLesson coaches have an average of 12 years of classroom teaching experience.

"As long as teachers are driving student achievement, we need to equip them for success,” said BetterLesson Co-Founder Alex Grodd. “We are excited to see positive change happening in Tennessee schools. The amount of work to introduce this new way of learning is massive. One-to-one teacher coaching is helping teachers become comfortable and implement these changes.” 

While teacher confidence and competence in implementing blended learning is a critical factor in its success, it is not the only factor, said officials. The report cites access to technology and the quality of technology as crucial for adoption. 

Read the full report here: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/education/ccte/ccte_blended_learning_report_2016-17.pdf



Bethlehem Center To Celebrate Students' Success With End Of Summer Celebration

More than 1,000 students have been exposed to new experiences, learned new trades, been gainfully employed, developed leadership skills, enhanced their academics, and have been kept engaged, out of trouble, and off the streets over the last eight weeks with the help of 42 programs funded by a grant awarded by The Maclellan Foundation to The Bethlehem Center. On  Thursday, ... (click for more)

Lee, Huang, And Wu Take Top Honors In Piano Competition

Sara Lee, collegiate division, and Catherine Huang and Hsi-Yun Wu, pre-collegiate division, won first prizes in the 14th annual Lee University piano competition. The award ceremony concluded the International Piano Festival and Competition held June 24-30 on Lee’s campus. For the collegiate division, Ms. Lee was awarded $3,000 for First Prize, while Chin Lee received Second ... (click for more)

Former Dalton High School Teacher Who Fired Gun At School Pleads Guilty, Sentenced To 2 Years

Jesse Randall Davidson, 53, formerly of 5219 Hwy 11, Rising Fawn, and formerly a teacher at Dalton High School, entered a guilty plea to criminal damage to property in the first degree, carrying a weapon within a school safety zone and disrupting the operation of a public school.  He was sentenced to serve two years in prison followed by eight years on probation on the first ... (click for more)

Firefighters Battle 2-Alarm Fire On Workman Road Tuesday Morning

Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched at 6:03 a.m. on Tuesday, to a commercial fire at 400 Workman Road. When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, flames were shooting through the roof and the request was immediately made for a second alarm response. The flames could be seen for miles as a total of 13 fire companies rushed to the scene. The large, two-story ... (click for more)

Bill Lee Is Great For Tennessee

I had the opportunity to meet Bill and Maria Lee at the grand opening of his Chattanooga Campaign HQ. He delivered, what was by most accounts, a showstopper speech at the Statesman’s dinner in Nashville the night before. He and Maria should have been worn out, but if they were, they really showed very little sign of it. His energy level, for a guy that couldn’t have gotten more ... (click for more)

A Successful East Ridge Bake Sale

Saturday's event at the Camp Jordan Pavilion was nothing more than extraordinary, if not history making.  Alongside the threatening eminent domain letters the citizens of East Ridge received, a Union was formed amongst the East Ridge Police Department.  Coming to City Council the night of April 26, I had only one thing I was focused on: eminent domain.  ... (click for more)