Case Study

Middle School Students Pass Algebra I EOC One Year Early

July 20, 2015
Darlington County School District, SC


Accelerate middle school students by offering eighth graders a course that covers the content of Mathematics 8 and Algebra I in the span of one year.


Prepare students to take the Algebra I end-of-course (EOC) exam in 8th grade, one year ahead of their cohort. This allows students to enter high school at a 10th-grade math level.


Use Apex Learning Tutorials in the classroom and as homework to enable rapid content mastery, promote self-directed study, and provide real-time data to inform instruction.


100 percent of 8th graders participating in the accelerated math course took the Algebra I end-of-course exam and passed, with 85 percent earning a score of 85 or better.

Darlington EOC Exam Pass Rate 100%

District Profile

Location: Darlington, SC

Setting: Suburban

Program: Accelerated studies

Environment: Virtual Learning


Using Time Effectively With Tutorials

Jaime Conner teaches an advanced math course for eighth-grade students wishing to accelerate their learning as they transition to high school. The course covers two years of material (Mathematics 8 and Algebra I) within the span of one year and concludes with the Algebra I end-of-course exam. "Fifty minutes of class time is not enough," Conner explains, "for my students to master that amount of material and keep up with the pace of the instruction."

To make the most efficient use of classroom and homework time, Conner integrates the corresponding modules of the Apex Learning Tutorials for Mathematics 8 and Algebra I into her direct instruction and assigns the modules for the homework grade. This approach promotes accelerated content mastery, enables self-directed study, and provides Conner with real-time data to inform her instructional approach each day.


Promoting Self-Directed Learning with Diverse Technology

Because Tutorials are designed for use on a wide range of devices, Conner takes advantage of the school's technology resources to promote self-directed study in the classroom. Conner regularly checks out a mix of laptops, netbooks, and tablets and even allows students to use their personal smartphones to access their Tutorials. People might walk past my classroom to find students buried in their tablet or phone and worry that my students are wasting class time, says Conner, but the reality is that those students are signed in to Apex Learning and working harder than ever to master the material. Conner notes that the rigor of the curriculum coupled with the freedom to self-direct study efforts from any device is a recipe for success for her students.


With Tutorials, my students have no trouble seeing the practical application of what they're learning.

Jaime Conner

8th Grade Math and Algebra Teacher, Darlington Middle School


Engaging Learners through Real-World Connections

Tutorials ground instruction in real-world examples so students can relate to the subject matter. This is particularly relevant in mathematics. "Tutorials not only enable my students to master the material at an accelerated pace, they connect abstract math concepts to the real world," states Conner. "A great example is how Tutorials explain quadratic calculations in terms of football passes. With Tutorials, my students have no trouble seeing the practical application of what they're learning."


Accelerating into High School and Exceeding Expectations

At the end of Conner's accelerated math course, students take the Algebra I end-of-course exam, one year ahead of their cohort, and aim to enter high school at a 10th-grade level in math. During her first year of teaching, her students achieved an impressive 100 percent passing rate on the Algebra I end-of-course exam, with 85 percent earning a score of 85 or better. "My students make me so proud!" exclaims Conner.

"Further, Tutorials help my students develop into better learners," Conner says. "I see a huge change in attitude and motivation as my students develop transferable skills like effective note taking and critical thinking that they can take with them into high school."