AUSTIN (KXAN) - There is a new level of learning inside the classrooms at LlanoJunior High School. Students in Donna Swope’s science classbarely had enough time to warm their seats, when she handed hereighth graders a sheet of instructions, showed them the meter stickand plastic balls on their desks and divided them into groups. Acouple of minutes later the students were conversing about how tomeasure speed.
"Go!" said one of the students as he started the stopwatch inhis hand. Already kneeled down, Colton Dry, 14, rolled a ball onthe floor beside two strips of tape measured one meter apart. "Thatwas 0.72 seconds," the timer said. The group penciled it in ontheir sheet of paper while Mrs. Swope walked around observing.
Once the students were finished, the teacher stepped up to theboard and went over the hands-on activity the students justperformed.
"You let them explore, figure it out and then you can go backand correct any misconceptions," said teacher Donna Swope.
Swope said that is the key factor in each lesson that comes fromthe CSOPEcurriculum. Currently, 385 Texas school districts are using theprogram set up to promote critical thinking and problem solving.Llano ISD is going on their second year using the curriculum. Lastyear, eighth graders experienced a significant jump in TAKS scores.They went from 77 percent passing to 93 percent.
"In order to make significant changes in how students perform,we knew that we had to change what we were teaching which was thecurriculum, and how we were teaching which was the instruction,"said Assistant Superintendent Tim Glover.
Even students are noticing a change. "Before I'd sort of getit," said eighth-grader Dry. "I'd have to ask a lot more, but nowI'm helping more people than asking."
He said he feels more confident about landing a job in thefuture in the science field. The curriculum is being used in gradesK through 12. The cost of the web-based curriculum depends on thenumber of students. CSCOPE said itis approximately $10 per student, plus some additional start-upfees.
A district has to purchase the program for every campus, unlessthere is a particular school that the Texas Education Agency haslabeled "academically unacceptable" based on TAKS performance.Several schools using CSCOPE in theCentral Texas area include:
- Hutto ISD
- Hays Consolidated ISD
- Jarrell ISD
- Johnson City ISD
- Blanco ISD
- LaGrange ISD
- Smithville ISD
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