New Century’s Instructional content was designed and further developed by a collaboration of professors from Harvard, Columbia Teachers College, Stanford, Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, and Rutgers, among others. The instructional content is not drill and practice, but comprehensive curricula designed to teach new skills to students in a consistent pedagogical manner from kindergarten through the GED and most state exit tests. Reading, writing, and language arts include a complete scope and sequence through grade 10. The Math curriculum includes a complete scope and sequence through Algebra 1.
Though developed separately, lessons follow pedagogy similar to Madeline Hunter in design. Students are introduced to new concepts using real world examples. Aural instruction is provided to support the visual content, as a teacher would, to help aural learners grasp concepts. Guided instruction includes examples where students are asked to demonstrate their developing comprehension by applying concepts. Like a digital tutor, the lessons take the student step by step through the solution of a math problem or the development of phonics skills, confirming correct responses and providing clues when the initial response is incorrect. Students who continue to struggle are branched into additional developmental instruction, while students who master the lesson content are accelerated through the lesson. As a student’s proficiency increases, he is increasingly asked to solve problems with less support and instruction until he reaches criterion items, which he completes independently.
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If a student fails to pass a lesson, he does not merely repeat it until he passes (or he memorizes the answers), the New Century software adjusts his lesson path to provide remedial and scaffolding instruction until he reaches proficiency.
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Independently conducted, randomized, controlled studies demonstrate that the more teachers and students use New Century as a part of their curriculum, the greater their gains on the state proficiency tests and separately administered norm referenced tests.
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Lessons use history, science, and geography as a rich cross curricular context to teach reading, writing, language arts, and math. New Century software does not use cartoon characters and gratuitous entertainment that has been shown by research to be “distractions” from learning. In addition, older learners who are struggling with skill deficits find such juvenile content to be disenfranchising.
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