Surat Thani International School in Thailand is the only international school in Surat Thani. While the school is English-speaking and follows the Common Core curriculum, they place native Thai culture and language as an important factor in their students’ learning as they prepare them to become global citizens.
In its seventh year, the school currently teach 260 students across 14 classes; these students primarily originate from the local area, resulting in ESL students making up over 99% of the student cohort.
Peter Meltzer, the Founder and Principal of the school, explains, “we try to provide a very immersive environment for our kids, as there is very little English outside of our school.”
When thinking about what online solutions to offer their students, having something that is able to tailor home learning specifically to each student was very important, “I was exploring the NWEA MAP testing site, looking for any kinds of additional data that we can use, and I found Exact Path. I learned that Exact Path takes MAP testing data and creates an individualized learning path for students so that they can continue studying to improve their MAP testing score. That was music to my ears.”
Surat Thani International School’s Key Reasons to Implement Exact Path
- Opportunity to reinforce English language learning at home
- Make more use of NWEA MAP scores
- Individualization and the ability to further differentiate in the class
- Flexibility to study in school and at home
In 2018, Surat Thani International School decided to implement Exact Path and set about getting teachers, parents and students on board. As Peter explains, “I would say that in the early days of using Exact Path, the teachers were not quite used to it; it wasn’t a natural ‘go-to’ for them. We did focus a lot on letting the parents know about it and we made a schedule in the classroom, as well as reinforcements with parents to have them use it at home.”
By putting these steps in place and through continued training and development, the school began using Exact Path as an opportunity to reinforce English outside of school. Not only that, it allowed teachers to expand on individualized learning in the classroom, “we know each kid at the school, we understand their strengths, their weaknesses, but Exact Path will do a ‘hands-on addressing’ of those strengths and weaknesses on a progressive basis.”
The school used Exact Path more frequently in the classroom as time went on by setting additional assignments and using the platform to support differentiated learning. After an academic year of using Exact Path, the school was seeing tangible results, “we saw MAP score improvement directly proportional to the amount of the students who were using Exact Path.
“We’ve seen increased confidence from students in the classroom because they’ve been able to familiarize themselves frequently with the language and with the academic skills that are presented. As they have more confidence in the classroom, this led to even more cooperative behaviour and focused attention and because of that, it leads to better learning.”
Using Exact Path During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The lockdown in Thailand happened quickly; Peter and the team had to devise a virtual learning plan in less than two days. Luckily, they already had some systems in place, “Exact Path provided a platform that was already up and running and so it gave us more time to plan to work remotely.”
The school had a system in place by the end of that same week, but like so many other schools around the world, this new way of teaching and learning created its own specific challenges. Peter mentioned that “one of the challenges that every school has faced is the involvement of parents. This has been a real challenge for them, especially our parents as they don’t speak any English, but Exact Path gave parents a reprieve as students can sit down and work on their own.
“Another main problem of teaching remotely is how to measure the outcomes; how do you know they have moved forward with their academics? With Exact Path, we can see they’re moving through their learning paths, which are tied to standards, so we can see they are moving forward easily.”
Peter also gave us an insight into what their future plans are with Exact Path.
Surat Thani International School’s Future Plans with Exact Path
Integrate Exact Path further into the classroom
- This will include aligning more with their curriculum so that Exact Path is not only a support tool, but part of day-to-day teaching.
- Using Exact Path to further enhance what the school already do with data.
- Making sure that Exact Path is part of any future situation that requires learning from home.
- Ensuring that students are recognized for progress and success in Exact Path, either through classroom recognition or in assembly.
As the school begins to look at reopening, Edmentum International will work with Surat Thani International School to add Exact Path to their contingency plans, which will aim to help them continue their personalized learning approach easily, and Edmentum International will be there to support them throughout this.
You can watch Peter deliver a webinar on implementing Exact Path at Surat Thani International School here.