Managing Instructional Time to Achieve Measurable Impacts

Managing Instructional Time to Achieve Measurable Impacts

With so many demands on classroom time, preparing students for standardized testing is not the most rewarding way for teachers—or students—to spend limited instructional hours. But as the ACT and SAT move from individual efforts by college-bound students to state-mandated assessments for entire schools and districts, teachers and administrators are looking for ways to give students the understanding and test-taking skills needed to succeed

Making the Most of Instructional Time

Teachers are in the classroom to share knowledge and spark a love of learning, and not to act as “test-prep” messengers. Knowing that, we created ChalkTalk to allow teachers to harness the power of technology for individualized learning. This keeps the human element in the center of learning. We also designed the program to maximize the impact of the time invested, by adapting it at the classroom, small group, and individual levels. 

For just about 20 hours of ELA or math instruction time (or 40-50 hours for both), ChalkTalk helps identify the gaps in student understanding and bridges these gaps with targeted instruction, practice, and review. Additionally, we’ve worked to keep the instructional content at the core—only about five percent of ChalkTalk is traditional “test prep” that focuses on test-taking strategies and background on format, scoring and timing. So all the time devoted to ChalkTalk bolsters overall classroom content, rather than takes away from it.

Working with the clock, not against it.
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on

Improvements Across the Board

This manageable investment of classroom time has translated to impressive results in academic proficiency and growth at schools of all sizes across the country: from the inner city to rural districts, from public to private, and from charter schools to high-niche schools like schools for the deaf or art academies.

In just 10-15 weeks, schools that used ChalkTalk had students experience 2-6x more growth on the SAT/ACT compared to their peers who received 52 weeks of traditional classroom instruction.

Here are a few examples:

  • Score improvements recorded using official SAT placement and exit tests:
    • Lake Nona High School is part of Orange County Public Schools, the 11th largest school district in America. The school enrolls more than 3000 students in grades 9-12, more than half of whom are low-income, and 70% minority. Students who used ChalkTalk for this “ELA-only implementation” improved their SAT ELA subscores by an average of 182 points5.2x more than the national ELA average score improvement in only 23% of the time.
    • East Boston High School, the largest public school in the city, has an enrollment of 1,495 students, 59% of whom are economically disadvantaged and 86% of whom are non-white. Students who used ChalkTalk improved their SAT scores by an average of 189 points2.9x more than national average score improvement in only 29% of the time. The school also saw an improvement on the Massachusetts state test, the MCAS, where it leaped from the 3rd percentile to the 22nd percentile statewide.
    • Summit Academy Charter School serves 329 students in Brooklyn and has a 93% college enrollment rate. Students who used ChalkTalk saw an average 217-point improvement on the SAT, 3.3x greater the national average in only 29% of the time.  
  • Score improvements recorded using official ACT placement and exit tests:
    • Phoenix College Preparatory Academy, a public charter school located on the campus of Phoenix College in Arizona, offers high school students a chance to earn college credit as early as ninth grade. Students who used ChalkTalk improved their ACT scores by an average of 7 points6.4x more than national average score improvement in only 29% of the time.
    • White Hall High School, a public high school in White Hall, Arkansas, has an enrollment of 910 students in grades 9-12. Students who used ChalkTalk for a “STEM-only implementation” improved their ACT STEM scores by an average of 4.2 points3.8x more than the national average score improvement in only 31% of the time.
    • Hamilton County High School, located in a rural section of north-central Florida near the city of Jasper, serves 673 students, 62% of whom are classified as economically disadvantaged. Students who used ChalkTalk for an “ELA-only implementation” improved their ACT ELA scores by an average of 4 points3.6x more than the national average score improvement in only 17% of the time.

Planning Now for Next Year’s Success

With the spring semester underway, planning for the 2020/2021 school year is already in motion in many schools and districts. If you’re interested in seeing how ChalkTalk can boost your students’ scores in a way that adapts to each student and reinforces learning, contact us today to learn more about ChalkTalk.

Author: Mohannad Arbaji, ChalkTalk Founder & CEO

Favorite Time-Saving Tip: Use your commute time wisely. In the U.S., the average, one-way commute time is 26.1 minutes. This means that we commute over 500 full nonstop days during our working career. That time is massive. I still remember spending the my rides back from our first client site, East Boston High School, enthusiastically typing notes on my phone for the full 20-minute ride each way and then sending those notes to respective ChalkTalk departments. On my daily work commute now, I’m either discovering new music on Spotify Discover Weekly (possibly my favorite tech product) or listening to audio books.

Also published at
Like this content? Sign up for ChalkTalk’s newsletter here ❤️