Students Below Grade Level at Mescalero Apache School Meet or Exceed Expectations in One Year

Teacher looking at classroom with students raising their hands

Mescalero Apache School District is a small, rural district that serves every student of the Mescalero Apache tribe in south-central New Mexico.

With just under 300 students in grades K-5 and 100% of all students qualifying for free lunch, Mescalero leaders needed a supplemental tool to help them increase students’ scores in both reading and math without breaking the bank.

Student engagement sparks growth

In 2020, Mescalero’s search for a reading and math solution led them to eSpark. Their teachers had already been trying eSpark in their classrooms and noticed that students seemed genuinely engaged in their learning whenever they logged on.

“Many of the teachers commented positively about eSpark,” said Carol Hernandez, Principal and Reading Interventionist at Mescalero Apache School. “They feel the kids enjoy the interactive games and are engaged when they are on the software.”

As students grew more focused on their individualized learning paths within eSpark, they began mastering new skills – and Mescalero’s teachers wanted more data to know what else was possible.

Nahi át’e’i shi nahi zaa’i bee danł dził.
We gain knowledge to empower us.

– Mescalero Apache School’s Mission Statement

Understanding the data

Once Mescalero began their eSpark Premium membership for the 2020-21 school year, progress really began to take flight. Teachers began using eSpark as a supplemental tool for their students roughly twice per week, as they followed a unique four-day school week schedule.

Over the course of that year, students completed over 22,000 math and reading activities, mastering a grand total of 807 standards-aligned eSpark Quests. In particular, 4th grade classrooms who had been using eSpark the most frequently (about 3 times per week) demonstrated significant mastery that year, scoring an 80% or above on 434 eSpark Quests. 

standards aligned quests mastered in 2020 - 2021 by grade graph

Students across all grade levels at Mescalero Apache School mastered new standards and skills during the 20-21 school year, with 4th grade classrooms using eSpark the most frequently and leading the charge.

Across all grades, the average student at Mescalero improved their pre-to-post quiz scores by 30% in reading and 31% in math, while teachers were able to see all of this data populate in real-time from their eSpark dashboards.

Being able to monitor student progress data within eSpark gave Mescalero’s teachers an upper hand. eSpark progress reports can be sorted by class trends down to a specific domain in order to identify learning gaps, and teachers can leverage this data to inform the rest of their instruction. So when it came time to prepare for the 2021-22 school year, leaders at Mescalero knew unlocking even more data would be integral to their success.

eSpark’s unique Data Analysis and Consultation service allowed them to receive custom insights from an eSpark Expert and better understand where their students still needed support. “I am looking for significant growth in math and reading as the students are [now] accustomed to the program,” Hernandez shared. “I’m hoping eSpark will help with gains in the benchmark assessments.”

Continuing to close the gap

In 2021-22, students at Mescalero built on their success from the previous year and grew at an even faster rate. In total, they mastered 2,043 standards-aligned Quests – a 153% increase in the number of Quests mastered the previous year. And among students who started the year working below their grade level, an impressive 27% were able to close that learning gap and either meet grade level expectations or actually exceed them.

“I do believe eSpark has helped the students on their benchmark assessments. I think because they enjoy the interactive segments, it keeps their interest and assists in their learning.”

– Carol Hernandez, Principal and Reading Interventionist at Mescalero Apache School

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