Teachers Are the Key to Equity

September 16, 2019 McGraw-Hill Higher Education

It’s hard to understate the importance of teachers to student success. Numerous research studies have shown just how critical they are to fostering cognitive and non-cognitive development. Yet despite the key role they play in education, instructors frequently and continually seem to get the short end of the stick – low pay, long hours, little appreciation, few resources, and constant pressure from the administration, parents, students, and legislators to improve results.

So, it’s no huge surprise that many faculty members are leery of digital platforms that proport to do wonders for all students. The common conception is either it’ll fail to help students and be too cumbersome to manage, or it will displace instructors with bureaucracy and reports from their one overarching goal: teaching students.

In fact, that’s nearly the exact situation that Broward College’s math department faced when the school began implementing an adaptive software called ALEKS in 2009. Full-time faculty were skeptical; assuming it would disrupt their ability to teach and compromise their autonomy.   Today, most of the math instructors can’t imagine teaching without it. What caused the dramatic turnaround? The reason is simple: a well-developed intelligent learning system, that places instructors’ at the center, allows faculty to reach more underserved students quickly and help them improve; ultimately improving overall retention rates and providing a more equitable experience in the classroom.  

Thanks to the advances of data scientists, a new future of equity in education will be paved across the curriculum. Rather than threaten the academic freedom of our higher-ed teachers, algorithms and adaptive platforms can maximize the instructor’s efficiency. Educators and administrators who once questioned the advent of intelligent learning systems are becoming the new technology’s greatest advocates, the “change agents” who live with and teach with these new technologies and who see, in the scores—and in the eyes of their students—the promise of equity in education. To learn more, read this whitepaper.

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