Extended Learning Time (ELT)
As the traditional school year has come to an end in most school districts, summer remediation and enrichment efforts have just begun. Schools are looking for ways to increase student learning time and exposure to curriculum, especially for students who struggle the most. There are a variety of ways to work with students who require extended learning time (ELT) to be successful and schools all over the State and the Nation are piloting programs that are beginning to show promising results.
It is important to remember:
- Student data is the right starting point. Finding trends of strength and weakness by content area and grade level allows schools to chart a path to successful remediation.
- Once content and concepts of strength and weakness have been identified, students, parents, teachers and administrators need to determine the root cause. Is there a curriculum issue, an ineffective instructional practice or is it that additional time is needed to help students to master complex concepts?
- If extended learning time is a strategy selected to help all students to succeed, the next important decision is instructional strategy. There is no research to support "slower and louder" as an effective teaching technique. Great care needs to be taken when implementing a remediation program and differentiated instruction has to be utilized by a master teacher.
Beyond the white paper provided, there has been ground breaking research that outlines a distinct difference between growth and catch up growth. Growth is what occurs for most students over the course of a normal school year, allowing grade level targets to be achieved. Catch up growth is when students begin the year a grade level or two behind their peers, requiring additional time and focus to help the student to achieve beyond the standard one's years growth to gain ground and catch up to the cohort group. Students in catch up growth mode appear to show the most gains under the ELT model.
The start of summer vacation is a great time to get your mind thinking about ELT and the potential benefits for students.