By all rights, Wendy Chaves' Algebra II class should be a zoo. She's charged with teaching nearly 50 teenagers at a time at the Alliance Tennenbaum Family Technology High School in Los Angeles. Yet Chaves has never felt more effective. "I don't have to worry about classroom management," she reports. "The kids are engaged."
Why? Her 48 students are all on laptops, working through lessons in Compass Learning, Virtual Nerd and Revolution Prep that Chaves has assigned. Their lessons differ based on what each child has mastered, and the programs spit out data that the fifth-year teacher analyzes so that she knows — long before tests would tell her — when to swoop in and help.