Student Success Zone – An Education Strategy to Help Students Excel

The Student Success Zone is an education strategy that helps students succeed by getting into the right courses and at the right levels to consistently progress.  It is targeted to help students who are “stuck” in their learning progress break free.

The Success Zone is that state-of-being we are in when we are achieving success. When deployed on a learning platform such as the Acellus Learning System, it becomes an education strategy capable of helping every student excel – helping them make consistent forward progress. We call it their “Success Zone.”

The Success Zone at Work

1) Inspiring students with a desire to learn

It is my opinion that it is possible to get all students that have a desire to learn into their Success Zone. One of the challenges is inspiring them to want to learn. In our experience, we have found that a good way to motivate students is with the fact that knowledge is power. In Acellus courses we endeavor to deliver the message, “If you learn this material, it will empower you to accomplish the things you’re going to do in your life.”

2) Placing students at the right level

One of the underlying factors in making students successful is getting them working on the “right level” in their courses, at the level they can succeed.  This can be accomplished by creating different levels of difficulty for each course.  In Acellus, we’ve created three different modes or levels for each course:

Normal Level:  Students at this level see lectures and problems that are of a normal difficulty. However, some students are really gifted and are just not challenged in this Level.

Accelerated Level:  Here the lectures are more engaging and the problems are more numerous and more rigorous. This level is geared to help students prepare for college or for advanced degrees.

Reduced Level: Students who struggle with the material can see lectures that are more basic and focused on areas students really need to master.  The problems are specifically written with these students in mind.  For some students, this level will help them into their Success Zone.

3) Positioning students in the right courses

Sometimes lowering the rigor of a course is not enough. If students lack the foundation for the material being taught, the only way to empower them is to go back and cover the missing concepts even if it means to repeat a prior course.

So much in learning is based on a foundation of something that they learned yesterday, last week, last month, last year, and if they’re not ready for the material they’re being taught right now, it’s probably not relevant to them. They are not succeeding in learning.  Students who are not progressing are outside of their Success Zone.

The measure we use in Acellus to assess student mastery of a course is a 70% or better grade on course assessments, assignments, exams, and attendance. If students are not getting at least 70% in these areas, they are not fully grasping the material and are in danger of failing.

We have learned that it is often more productive to learning and better for morale if struggling students go back to a more basic course rather than fail all year in a grade-level course they are not prepared for. Our experience with this approach is that many times the students who were “behind” not only caught up, but were often even able to complete their grade-level course during the same year. Within the Success Zone education strategy, students can be repositioned back to more basic courses where they can consistently progress in mastering the material.

Using the Success Zone education strategy I believe will make it possible for more students to become successful learners.