LA PUENTE, CA – Bassett Unified fourth-graders are receiving individualized instruction and immersion in computer programs focused on math, thanks to an intervention program that helps students gain the skills needed to meet or exceed California Standards on state tests.

Bassett Unified teachers on special assignment (TOSAs) Carla Mahaffey and Stella Park designed the intervention program to address lower-than-expected scores in state math testing. The immersion takes place at Van Wig and Sunkist elementary schools and Edgewood Academy.

“We wanted to develop a math lab that allows us to teach in small groups and address student skill levels ranging from struggling to gifted,” Mahaffey said. “We use district-funded math programs such as IXL and Frontrow, incorporating with them data charts that students use to monitor their own progress.”

Van Wig students spend an hour of dedicated math instruction every Wednesday and Thursday in small, color-coded teams. The groups rotate between computer assignments, which are structured similarly to the state’s Smarter Balanced Assessment in math, and teacher guidance.

“The math lab is effective because there are different stations and you can work on different skills,” Van Wig fourth-grader Ian Gurrola said.

While one team receives targeted grade-level instruction, another is immersed in adaptive instruction, solving math problems catered to each student’s skill level.

“I like it because there are always teachers to help you,” Van Wig fourth-grader Yocelyn Tavarez said.

The math labs cover multiple topics at once, including algebraic thinking and fractions. The digital programs track students’ progress as they work toward completing more advanced math problems. Students fill in a box on a data chart when each level is completed.

Teachers evaluate the data at the end of the session and award points to each team based on its progress. Students in the winning team at Van Wig are awarded “Wildcat Bucks” that they can spend at the school’s College Cat Student Store.

“Van Wig students are highly engaged and give a consistent effort across all the fourth-grade classes,” Van Wig Principal Andrew Candelaria said. “Students can access the same computer programs at home, and many are putting in extra hours because they are motivated to improve their math skills.”

Mahaffey and Park would like to expand the math lab to other grades and train teachers on how to conduct their own labs.

“Bassett is committed to developing curriculum that challenges students while encouraging them to improve their critical thinking and collaborative skills,” Bassett Unified Interim Superintendent Debra French said. “Our math TOSAs have created an engaging and effective program that can be used as a model for future Bassett curriculum.”


022018_BASSETT_MATHINTERVENTION1: Van Wig students work in small, groups on multiple math topics, including algebraic thinking and fractions, as part of a math intervention program. The groups rotate between computer assignments and teacher guidance aimed toward boosting their math skills and knowledge.

022018_BASSETT_MATHINTERVENTION2: A Van Wig student takes a math computer assessment, structured similarly to the state’s Smarter Balanced Assessment in math. Bassett Unified students receive dedicated math instruction catered to each student’s skill level through a math intervention program.