Academic Excellence Framework
Increased Student Success Through Continuous School Improvement
Planning for Success
K12, a leader in online and blended learning, recognized the need to remove barriers to a great education and committed to improve schools and drive student success. In an effort to facilitate improvement, K12 developed the Academic Excellence Framework (AEF).
“The Academic Excellence Framework allows our educators to share their most creative thinking and innovations across our network of schools, and allows us to scale successful approaches quickly and effectively.”
—Kevin P. Chavous, K12 President of Academics, Policy and Schools
THE FRAMEWORK IN ACTION
At Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA), the AEF is in full swing. The changes AZVA implemented have already had a big impact on student results and culture at the school. They fully implemented the AEF standards in the 2016–2017 school year and within the first year students have already shown tremendous growth and made great strides in increasing proficiency on state assessments.
13 PERCENTAGE POINTS
The percentage of students achieving proficiency grew nearly 13 percentage points from 2015–2016 to 2016–2017, bringing the overall total to 38.2 percent in 2017.
11 PERCENTAGE POINTS
The gap between AZVA student achievement and the state average was cut in half in one year, to 10.7 percentage points behind the state average. The percentage of AZVA students achieving proficiency jumped nearly 11 percentage points to 28.6 percent in 2016–2017.
SEVEN GUIDING STANDARDS
K12’s research identified seven primary principles involved in improving student outcomes. The AEF centers on these principles and guides schools in developing comprehensive academic plans that are evaluated and enhanced on a continuing basis.
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT JOURNEY
To help every student achieve his or her potential and increase proficiency, K12 uses innovative, creative approaches to education that challenge the status quo and produce positive results.
INCREASED STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
21% increase in student attendance and participation in direct instruction hours
An essential part of the AEF is increasing the amount of time that teachers provide direct instruction to students and ensuring those who need extra support in certain content areas are receiving it. Already the focus on direct instruction has had an impact on student engagement, with a 21 percent increase in student attendance and participation in direct instruction hours from the 2016–2017 school year to last year. Students have engaged in 2 million more hours of direct teacher instruction year over year across all K12 partner schools.
ZEROING IN ON STUDENTS IN NEED: THE RETEACH MODEL
One innovation stemming from the AZVA reviews was the Reteach Model, which leverages individual data to help teachers identify students who have not mastered concepts and enable them to intervene immediately with additional instruction in an effort to help improve outcomes and close achievement gaps.
“There is a vast difference between passing a course and mastering the material of that course
…We have to have high expectations if we’re going to see high passing rates.”
—AZVA High School Teacher
A CHANGE IN SCHOOL CULTURE
Instilling a strong academic culture in schools is critical—when students are expected to perform at a high level, be accountable for their own work, and fully engage in learning, they are more likely to succeed. A strong academic culture involves school leadership, faculty, students, and families working together in pursuit of student success.
Within the AEF, AZVA high school leaders developed a comprehensive strategy to develop a school motto and turn it into a force for cultural change within the school. The motto is delivered by teachers and administrators every day, incorporated into course materials and presentations, and repeated during online Class Connect sessions. To improve accountability and engagement among students, teachers worked closely with students to submit coursework and adhere to an accelerated grading schedule to allow for more timely review of student performance data.
Students noticed the change immediately—not only in the new due-date policies, but also as the “My Time” values were communicated to them across AZVA’s online platforms. One of AZVA’s recent valedictorians noted how each of the values enumerated in the motto tied into her class’s experience with AZVA.