Online Learning White Papers

White Papers

The following papers document specific research that serves as a basis for the design and development of Apex Learning digital curriculum:

Designing Summer Programs in Districts With Diverse Needs: How to Effectively Implement Digital Curriculum to Improve Outcomes for All Students Enrolled in Summer Programs

Realizing the Potential of Blended Learning: Beyond Personalized to Active Learning

Online Scaffolds That Support Adolescents' Comprehension

Interpreting Lexiles in Online Contexts and with Informational Texts

English Foundations Series: The Research Base

English Foundations I: The Research Base

English Foundations II: The Research Base 

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

Supporting Struggling Readers in Content Area Learning

Supporting Struggling Readers in Mathematics Education

Supporting Struggling Readers in Science Education

Supporting Struggling Readers in English Education

Supporting Struggling Readers in Social Studies Education

 

Designing Summer Programs in Districts With Diverse Needs: How to Effectively Implement Digital Curriculum to Improve Outcomes for All Students Enrolled in Summer Programs

   — Michelle Rutherford, Director of Implementation Design, Apex Learning
        Denise Kelly Stinson, Director of Standards Alignment, Apex Learning

School leaders across the country are increasingly changing the structure of summer programs to meet a wider range of student needs. Over time, the focus of summer school has shifted from providing opportunities for struggling students to recover lost credits to include new and innovative ways of expanding educational opportunities for all students.

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Realizing the Potential of Blended Learning: Beyond Personalized to Active Learning

   — Produced by Apex Learning in partnership with Getting Smart

Just as the most effective teachers create personalized and active learning experiences, the most effective digital curriculum takes advantage of technology. This paper is designed to highlight how blended learning can provide personalized and active learning experiences that increase student engagement and achievement.

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Online Scaffolds That Support Adolescents' Comprehension

   — Elfrieda Hiebert, University of California, Berkeley,
        Shailaja Menon and Leigh Ann Martin, TextProject, and
        Katherine Bach, Curriculum Director, Apex Learning

A frequently asked question is whether students comprehend online text as well as printed text. The answer to this question is critical, not just to determine if resources are being used wisely, but also to establish whether students are proficient at comprehending text online—a skill that is increasingly recognized as essential for full participation in the communities and marketplace of the 21st century.

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Interpreting Lexiles in Online Contexts and with Informational Texts

    — Elfrieda Hiebert, University of California, Berkeley

This paper includes a brief overview of the history and content of readability formulas, including critiques that apply to the Lexile Scale (LS) and criticisms specific to it. The final section of the paper considers ways in which the publishers can respond to the ubiquitous demands for correlation of texts and materials to the LS.

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English Foundations Series: The Research Base

   — Devon Brenner, Ph.D., Mississippi State University and
        Kathleen Wilson, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Research shows that proficient students use a variety of reading strategies to construct meaning from text, to figure out new words, to learn from the books and materials they read, and to write texts with organization and purpose. While many students learn these strategies automatically or with little effort, students with below-basic and below-proficient achievement have often not acquired the reading and writing skills and strategies they need and do not know when and how to apply the ones they have.

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English Foundations I: The Research Base 

   — Devon Brenner, Ph.D., Mississippi State University and
        Kathleen Wilson, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln

This white paper addresses teaching strategies appropriate for adolescent students whose achievement in literacy is below basic.

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English Foundations II: The Research Base

   — Devon Brenner, Ph.D., Mississippi State University and
        Kathleen Wilson, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln

This white paper provides a brief overview of the research-based instructional practices in reading and writing that support students whose literacy achievement is below proficient.

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Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum & Pedagogy

    — Allison Moore, M. Ed, University of Washington and
         Tom Baer, M. Ed, University of Washington

From the start, Apex Learning has paid close attention to how students learn and how digital curriculum can support learning. The introduction to this white paper begins with a discussion about how learning sciences define learning and the learning experiences students need exposure to in order to be prepared for college, work, and life. The paper then presents how research on learning theory has been put into practice in the development of Apex Learning digital curriculum.

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Supporting Struggling Readers in Content Area Learning

    — Devon Brenner, Ph.D., Mississippi State University

While both adaptive and strategic scaffolds may be provided in traditional learning contexts, online contexts allow scaffolds to be designed for and built into the learning context and for scaffolds to be flexibly utilized in order to differentiate instruction. This white paper describes adaptive and strategic scaffolds that research has shown to support the academic content area learning of adolescents who struggle with reading.

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Supporting Struggling Readers in Mathematics Education

   — Dana Franz, Ph.D., Mississippi State University

Apex Learning recognizes the interaction between words, symbols, and numbers in mathematics. Its mathematics digital curricula have adopted several scaffolding strategies to aid students in becoming mathematically literate. Two key components of the instruction are vocabulary development and active reading strategies to support students in mastering the unique requirements of reading mathematical text.

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Supporting Struggling Readers in Science Education

   — Don Duggan-Haas, Ph.D., Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, NY

Apex Learning science digital curricula incorporate features that directly address the special literacy challenges posed by traditional science curriculum. Scaffolds built into the Comprehensive Courses and Tutorials reframe the introduction of technical vocabulary and coach students in research-based active reading strategies.

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Supporting Struggling Readers in English Education

   — Devon Brenner, Ph.D., Mississippi State University
        Kathleen Wilson, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Apex Learning English digital curricula provide both adaptive and strategic scaffolding to support students' ability to take an active approach to reading and writing. Adaptive scaffolding is support provided in the curriculum that makes the text and content more accessible to students based on their needs. Strategic scaffolding supports students' literacy development with active reading strategies.

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Supporting Struggling Readers in Social Studies Education

   — Devon Brenner, Ph.D., Mississippi State University

In order to build civic competence, students must be proficient in reading the texts that are prevalent in various disciplines of social studies, and students must know how to apply a variety of literacy strategies for reading and writing social studies texts. Apex Learning social studies digital curricula provide both adaptive and strategic scaffolding to support students' literacy development and social studies learning. Adaptive scaffolding is support provided in the design of the course that makes the text and content more accessible.

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*Former editor of Educational Leadership at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)