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Board Rooms

A California elementary school with high percentages of low income and minority students has seen dramatic test score gains as a result of an instructional program that combines intensive white board use with choral student responses, according to the Contra Costa Times.

Delta View Elementary's Academic Performance Index scores have jumped 148 points over the past year, reaching 830 this year (on a scale of 200 to 1000, where 800 marks proficiency). It boasts the highest academic-growth rate in its district.

Teachers and administrators attribute the gains to the introduction of basic-skills instructional programs called "BoardMath" and "BoardEnglish." In these programs, teachers present information in a consistent, schematic fashion on a whiteboard, and students are taught to chant problem-solving strategies in unison. (There's a helpful video on the approach here.)

"There's a lot of consistency in language and instruction programs between classrooms," says Dick Nicoll, interim superintendent of the Mt. Diablo school district. "The kids like it because they know they're learning. The teachers like it because it's effective. And the parents like it because the kids are doing better."

Teachers in other schools in the district are now being trained in the technique.

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