I'm really excited to announce that Mathspace has just launched a brand new Crosswalk Skills Book for the state of Virginia. And even better, we're making it available at no cost for all teachers and divisions for the 2023-2024 school year. When I've shared this with people, I've had two main questions:
- What is a "Crosswalk Skills Book"?
- Why are you offering it for free?
I'll share my thoughts on both of these questions. First, though, it helps to understand two other things:
- what the "Crosswalk Year" is
- why school divisions throughout Virginia are implementing a Crosswalk Year in 2023-2024.
Crosswalk Year: What and Why?
The Virginia Department of Education just released brand new Mathematics Standards of Learning. They will be implemented fully in 2024-2025, and the state has yet to formally announce any resources to support the standards this year. Despite this, many divisions will move ahead with a Crosswalk Year, where they teach both the 2016 and the 2023 SOLs.
The biggest concern that I've heard is that students will miss something in the transition, resulting in a gap in their understanding that impacts their education further down the line.
This has the potential to be extra impactful for divisions that have non-conventional pathways available. For example, divisions that offer an accelerated middle school program to allow more students to take Algebra 1 earlier will have to be extra careful that these students receive the support they need to be successful in Algebra 1.
That's why many divisions are choosing to try and teach both sets of standards this school year. Not all of them, but many divisions I've spoken to are going down this path.
What is the Crosswalk Skills Book?
In short, the Crosswalk Skills Book is a set of math problems aligned to BOTH the 2016 AND the 2023 standards. These problems can be used for formative assessment, checks for understanding, practice, or just about anything.
Where applicable, every problem is linked to a standard from the 2016 and 2023 SOLs. Teachers looking for content on a specific standard can browse by 2023 SOL or search by either standard code.
For example, searching for Standard A.1a from the 2016 standards returns results for both the related standards from the 2023 SOLs, A.EO.1a and A.EO.1b
This way, teachers can quickly and efficiently find questions that address one or both sets of standards.
As a bonus, every practice problem is also powered by Mathspace's unique StepSmart technology. With StepSmart, students get feedback on every step of every problem. They can also ask for tailored help the moment they get stuck.
The Crosswalk Skills Book will cover all the standards from 6th grade through Algebra 2, and we plan to add 3rd - 5th grade later in the year.
Why are we offering the Crosswalk Skills Book for free?
At Mathspace, our mission is:
We believe that every student can excel at mathematics with the right help at the right time. We want to be the right help at the right time for every student.
This mission has driven me, as well as the team at Mathspace, for over 10 years. We want to help students so they can succeed in math. And more than just succeeding, I want students to see the beauty and joy in mathematics, just like I do.
Consistently we've found that the most impactful way to do this is to provide tools that empower the teachers, administrators, schools, and school divisions to support their students.
From my conversations since the revised standards were released, people aren't feeling empowered right now. There's a lot of anxiety and nervousness about setting students up for success.
In that spirit, we decided to offer the Crosswalk Skills Book for free. Educators and students have enough on their plate right now. They don't need one extra headache of searching for a resource to support the revised standards. And if they do find one, the disappointment of not having the budget to implement it.
Of course, I'm also hopeful that a positive experience with the Crosswalk Skills Book will encourage educators to take a closer look at the full suite of tools that Mathspace has to offer, including the brand-new core resource we're developing for the 2023 SOLs, which will be ready in late 2023 or early 2024.
I started Mathspace to make a difference in mathematics education, and that's what drives me every day. Above all, we want to support the incredible women and men who share that vision and make a difference every day.
How to get access
Just click the button below and fill in the form, and someone from our team will be in touch to get you, your school, or your division set up!