Delta Math

The Delta Math RtI program was developed to help educators identify students not ready to learn current math standards.

In 2007, the Ottawa Area ISD began developing screening and reporting tools to support the implementation of math RtI for its local districts. Soon after, schools in other regions chose to use Delta Math online readiness screeners, data reports, and other program resources to meet their needs.

In 2010, the Michigan’s Integrated Mathematics Initiative (part of Alt+Shift) identified Delta Math as a promising practice and has been supporting the development of implementation resources.

Alt+Shift offers implementation training to prepare school-based leadership teams to support the implementation of Delta Math. The training provides teams an opportunity to explore Delta Math resources and ask clarifying questions.

Training topics are organized to address three key questions:

  • What should all students know and be able to do? (Delta Math Readiness and Tier 3 Standards)
  • How will we know if students know and can do it? (How to screen and identify students for readiness)
  • What will we do when they don’t know or can’t do it? (Structure of a Tier 2 and 3 intervention cycle with progress monitoring)

Delta Math leadership teams should include:

  • A building administrator.
  • A designated team leader.
  • Up to four others who may include math coaches, multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS)/RtI leaders, and general and special education teachers.

We offer regional training based on requests and availability.

Evidence Base

The Ottawa Area ISD, with the support of Alt+Shift, used three primary sources to guide Delta Math development:

  1. The IES Practice Guide, Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics:  Response to Intervention (RtI) for Elementary and Middle Schools, 2009
  2. The IES Practice Guide: Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making, 2009
  3. The Michigan Department of Education Vision of RtI:  A Multi-Tiered System of Supports, 2011

The Delta Math Implementation Guide provides a list of each essential component for using Delta Math to build a multi-tiered system of support. The guide also provides a description of each component, time frame, and alignment to the research recommendations.

How to Receive This Training

You can choose to partner with Alt+Shift or attend a scheduled Statewide Event. Read more about each option below. If you’d like to be notified when the next statewide event becomes available, you can request to be notified.

Partner with Alt+Shift

Training is provided to ISD staff as part of an ISD partnership. Training is typically provided to the entire district, building, or program staff. This depends on the specific ISD's implementation plan. Training is one piece of the partnership. Strategic planning, implementation support, and capacity building are also addressed through the partnership.

Attend a Statewide Event

Statewide events are opportunities to receive training, but with limited opportunities for follow up support. Participants can expect to gain ideas and strategies that would be usable immediately in their practice, and to gain a better understanding of the nature of the training as part of an exploration process for sites considering a partnership with Alt+Shift.

There are no upcoming events for this training.

Get Notified About Future Events

If you would like to be notified when registration is open the next time a statewide event is scheduled, please provide us with your email address.

Implementation Stories

Alt+Shift asked partners around the state to share their implementation experiences and the impact on adults and students where they work.

Mary Christensen-Cooper

Math Consultant

Our journey using Delta Math resources began in 2010. It was our first time having clear, organized data to review for math. We knew we needed more time with math data reviews, based on state math scores. Delta Math online readiness screeners and data reports helped to identify areas of need at each grade level. Teachers were a bit reluctant at first, since it focused on the previous year’s standards. They wanted to know how their instruction on their standards were doing. Delta Math helped us take a more vertical approach in improving math instruction and helped us start conversations between grade levels. Additionally, it helped identify the most essential standards for each grade level. Our initial implementation did not include a plan to offer tier 2 math support in the classroom.

Initially, the readiness screeners were used to identify students for math lab and tier 3 Instruction. Students with the lowest scores, who did not have an individualized education program (IEP) for math, were chosen based on this data. The math lab instructor offered remediation and progress monitored students based on readiness standards. Classroom teachers did have access to tier 2 intervention cycle materials, lessons and practice, which were located in crates by grade level. The readiness screeners were given three times each year and data was gathered to measure student growth. Additionally, students “screened-up” on the next grade-level readiness standards at the end of the year as another measure of tier 1 Instruction. 

During the second year, we added a part-time tier 2 math teacher who met with small groups of students based on the readiness data. Targeted instruction was provided to each student until they met the learning goal three times.

During our sixth year, the staff began deepening understanding of the true purpose...the readiness screener is a tool to determine who needs what to be successful in grade-level math. Classroom teachers used the Intervention Group report to determine who needs remediation. Twice a year, we provide planning time for classroom teachers to prepare the Delta Math progress monitoring resources and intervention lessons.  Students are setting goals and tracking their own progress. We now have more of a buy-in from our classroom teachers.

The strongest component that allows for remediation is our “tier time.” This is a one-hour block for each grade level where no new instruction occurs. Students attend math lab, reading lab, speech, resource room, gifted and talented, etc. during this time.  “Tier time” ensures that time is allocated each day for intervention and/or extension, based on individual student needs. The classroom teacher has evolved into an interventionist during tier time, and many teachers work together to group students, meeting math needs.

We would like to see a more consistent use of Delta Math resources to support our special education department. The use of tier 3 screeners would identify the highest priority essential standards that students may need to remediate. The intervention cycle structure and lessons would offer more guidance to support students with an IEP in math. As struggling students become proficient with each readiness standard, I believe they will be more successful meeting the standards of their current grade level.

Continue the conversation with Mary Christensen-Cooper

Michelle King

Math Specialist

Our journey using Delta Math resources began in 2010. It was our first time having clear, organized data to review for math. We knew we needed more time with math data reviews, based on state math scores. Delta Math online readiness screeners and data reports helped to identify areas of need at each grade level. Teachers were a bit reluctant at first, since it focused on the previous year’s standards. They wanted to know how their instruction on their standards were doing. Delta Math helped us take a more vertical approach in improving math instruction and helped us start conversations between grade levels. Additionally, it helped identify the most essential standards for each grade level. Our initial implementation did not include a plan to offer tier 2 math support in the classroom.

Initially, the readiness screeners were used to identify students for math lab and tier 3 Instruction. Students with the lowest scores, who did not have an individualized education program (IEP) for math, were chosen based on this data. The math lab instructor offered remediation and progress monitored students based on readiness standards. Classroom teachers did have access to tier 2 intervention cycle materials, lessons and practice, which were located in crates by grade level. The readiness screeners were given three times each year and data was gathered to measure student growth. Additionally, students “screened-up” on the next grade-level readiness standards at the end of the year as another measure of tier 1 Instruction. 

During the second year, we added a part-time tier 2 math teacher who met with small groups of students based on the readiness data. Targeted instruction was provided to each student until they met the learning goal three times.

During our sixth year, the staff began deepening understanding of the true purpose...the readiness screener is a tool to determine who needs what to be successful in grade-level math. Classroom teachers used the Intervention Group report to determine who needs remediation. Twice a year, we provide planning time for classroom teachers to prepare the Delta Math progress monitoring resources and intervention lessons.  Students are setting goals and tracking their own progress. We now have more of a buy-in from our classroom teachers.

The strongest component that allows for remediation is our “tier time.” This is a one-hour block for each grade level where no new instruction occurs. Students attend math lab, reading lab, speech, resource room, gifted and talented, etc. during this time.  “Tier time” ensures that time is allocated each day for intervention and/or extension, based on individual student needs. The classroom teacher has evolved into an interventionist during tier time, and many teachers work together to group students, meeting math needs.

We would like to see a more consistent use of Delta Math resources to support our special education department. The use of tier 3 screeners would identify the highest priority essential standards that students may need to remediate. The intervention cycle structure and lessons would offer more guidance to support students with an IEP in math. As struggling students become proficient with each readiness standard, I believe they will be more successful meeting the standards of their current grade level.

Continue the conversation with Michelle King

Shannon Flippin

Elementary Principal

As the building principal, I was concerned with our math intervention model. We had one teacher trying to deliver interventions in three buildings who was spread very thin. She was working with very hard-to-accommodate and different systems in each building, and there was no guarantee that the interventions she was providing were research based. Unfortunately, we could not provide any evidence that the program was effective. We knew we needed a new model.

After some investigation, we decided to create an intervention model that included intervention aides at our building. The aides were here five days a week, working with small groups of students 30 minutes per day. We were concerned about pulling students out of their core instruction in math or any other subject, so we added a second math time each day based on the Daily 5 literacy model called “Daily 3 Math.” During this second math time, the aide could pull out students in need of tier 2 interventions without any effect upon core instruction. At the same time, the teacher could work with specific groups of students in class on challenging number sense activities or to provide tier 2 interventions in the classroom for those who do not receive additional support with the math aide.

We had an idea, but we were looking for a research-based model to guide our instruction. We decided to give Delta Math a try after learning about it at the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District professional development day. We began in February of 2016 to get our feet wet and inform our model for the following school year. At the beginning of 2016-2017, with a little bit of experience, we started. While our kindergarten worked on number sense activities in the beginning, our first grade screened on the first grade readiness standards that are based on high priority kindergarten end-of-year benchmarks. Flexible intervention groups were identified from the Intervention Group Report and then remediated on each 1st grade readiness standard. In December, the first graders were screened up using the 2nd grade readiness standards, and we restructured our intervention groups accordingly. We provided additional support for all of the readiness standards and repeated the process throughout the third marking period. We then screened our 1st grade students at the end of the third marking period to inform Verellen Elementary--our 2nd ,3rd, and 4th grade building-- which 2nd graders might need tier 2 intervention at the beginning of the school year.

In 2017-2018, after sending students who had been through our multi-tiered system of supports for a year and a half to Verellen, something interesting happened. When the students arrived and were assessed with STAR Math (an online adaptive assessment program), there was a significant drop in the number of students needing math intervention. Verellen went from 22 students needing intervention the previous year to only 6. In fact, in one of the four 2nd grade classes, no students were below benchmark. In response to this data, Verellen was able to reallocate their intervention aide time and reflect on their own model of intervention. It leaves us in a great spot where we can encourage parental add-ons to an already successful model. During fall 2018 we are able to build upon our current system of supports using Delta Math resources. We will also introduce Bedtime Math and Math-In-The-Mail to our families in order to take advantage of at-home opportunities. We can’t wait to see the results in the future!

Continue the conversation with Shannon Flippin

Joe Elsheikhi

Math Consultant

Delta Math has transformed my teaching and inspired my students. I began using Delta Math as a middle school math teacher in 2012. It provided direction and clarity on how to reach all of my students’ mathematical needs.

Delta Math was used to provide a pathway for all students to strengthen development in specific mathematics content standards. We used the Delta Math readiness screener to show the students how we as teachers identified those areas of focus. By including students in looking at the reports and the data dialogue, they felt valued as learners. When students achieved growth in those standards, they loved to celebrate because they understood what they accomplished. No longer would students hide in the background of not knowing a math concept but instead they were uplifted by the involvement in their own progress monitoring and by receiving specific feedback. Many students would come up to me after mastering a “quick check,” which is a progress monitoring tool and say, “I used to not like math but now math is my favorite subject.”

As our school’s understanding of the readiness standards evolved, our implementation of Delta Math also evolved. We began using Delta Math during WIN time, a half-hour time at the start of our day, allowing us scheduling flexibility to group students depending on the standards and needs identified by the screener. Every teacher was assigned to a grade level and math readiness standard. They became experts in that standard and built an atmosphere and school environment where everybody did Delta Math. What was amazing was the rich conversation between all subjects centered on math. As a team, we would constantly reflect on misconceptions students were having and how to help them.

Data in my grade level showed massive student improvement through the use of Delta Math! On the spring 2016 to spring 2017 NWEA, we had 89 percent of our 7th-grade students meet their growth goal. On the M-Step, our 7th graders had a student growth performance (SGP) at 73, well above the state average of 50. This data wouldn’t have been attainable if we didn’t have a program like Delta Math. We really needed a system that was going to specifically meet our students’ needs and allow us as educators to instruct in a way that laid a strong mathematical foundation for our students.

We also used Delta Math data to look at the district’s curriculum and identify ways to strengthen it. Based on results from the Delta Math screeners, particularly results from the mid-year screener, we could identify student gaps in understanding and make changes before the state assessment.

Most important throughout our Delta Math implementation is that Delta Math, in our student's eyes, wasn’t just another test but instead a chance to inform everybody about what learning was happening. 

Continue the conversation with Joe Elsheikhi

Sara Munson

Title I Teacher

After successfully using Delta Math with a small group of students in 2016, we began the 2017-2018 school year using Delta Math school wide. At first, some teachers didn’t understand that providing tier 2 support meant focusing on looking at the previous year’s standards instead of supporting their current classroom instruction. However, after many discussions, and seeing positive student results, almost everyone is accepting of “identifying and filling gaps” as we near the end of our first full year of implementation.

As the Title I teacher, I’ve introduced, trained, and guided our classroom teachers on how to implement Delta Math most effectively. I also schedule the assessments during our intervention times so the Title I team is in the room during the screener to support teachers and ensure students stay on track.

Once the screeners are complete and data is analyzed, we sometimes “re-screen” students who we feel may not have scored at their abilities. There are also times during the first week of the tier 2 lessons when we exit students from the tier 2 intervention because their Quick Check data shows they clearly understand the concept. These procedures are very helpful in identifying students who need the tier 2 interventions and those who don’t.

For the second year in a row, each grade level has common intervention time three to four times a week called Power Hour. This is a 30-minute time block where all students in a grade are grouped to receive support at their individual levels for each particular math concept. We use the results of the Delta Math screeners to group students on each strand. Lessons are then geared to the abilities of the students in each group.

The 2017-2018 school year also brought Foundations of Math (FoM) training to our entire teaching staff. Implementing the Delta Math intervention lessons during Power Hour works side by side with the Foundations of Math approach to tier 1 instruction to support and strengthen our students’ learning. We are able to use the FoM approach in our intervention lessons knowing that the vocabulary and teaching is similar to what students are learning in the classrooms. This leads to less confusion for the students.

We are lucky to have an FoM coach in our building. It has been very helpful as we learn and grow with the implementation of Delta Math and FoM. Our math scores are rising, and students have a strong foundational understanding of math concepts and are learning to enjoy math more!

Continue the conversation with Sara Munson

Sheila Bell

K-6 Math Coach

It had been apparent for some time that we needed math intervention in our elementary schools. We were pleased to discover Delta Math which supports best practices such as the Concrete-Representational-Abstract (CRA) approach and is based on key standards for each grade level. We began a pilot in one of our 1st-6th elementary buildings during the 2016-2017 school year, followed by full implementation in our remaining three buildings during the 2017-2018 year.

One of my first tasks was to pull the teacher assistants together to discuss how intervention was going. We’ve since met on a regular basis and through these meetings been able to strive for consistency for how Delta Math is being implemented in each building. I also use these meetings as an opportunity to provide training for the teacher assistants on best practices in instruction. Two areas of focus have been the C-R-A approach and Number Talks.

My second task in overseeing Delta Math has been to provide more training for classroom teachers. I’ve met with grade-level groups and discussed the standards that Delta Math focuses on. From there, we looked at how each standard is being addressed in our math program. Although we are just in our first year, we are very pleased with our students’ growth. From the fall to winter readiness screen, our students made growth on every standard, some by 30-40 percentage points.

Next year, we plan to use the 2018 Spring Screener and the Fall Screener to help target those students who need intervention as soon as possible. To help support the interventionists, I hope to have a teacher at each building who will be the point person. I will continue to meet regularly with the interventionists to provide training on best practices. Both Michael Klavon and Joe McKenzie from Delta Math have been a tremendous support during this first year of implementation.  I look forward to working with both as we begin year 2 with Delta Math.

Continue the conversation with Sheila Bell

Lisa Gravedoni

Title I Interventionist

Alt+Shift: How did you start to use and implement Delta Math?

Lisa: After 20 years of teaching in a classroom, I have come full circle and returned to where I started my career—in the Title I classroom. What I have come to appreciate through working with students using Delta Math is that math is a beautiful language, and I am blessed to be able to teach it! We are utilizing the Delta Math program by using the intervention lessons with the students receiving Title I services. We also use the screener data to drive supplemental instruction during our “Power Hour” enrichment time. Each grade level, K-3, has a half hour during the day that is devoted to building number sense to try to close the gaps that are showing up. 

I have found the well designed, sequential lessons so easy to follow and implement with my students. It also helped that I went through the Foundation of Math training to understand the importance of language and the use of the CRA (Concrete-Representational-Abstract) model when developing students’ understanding of the concepts.

AS: What impact has Delta Math had on you and those you work with?

Lisa: It has helped us create more of a math community with a direction. It's given us common language and common focus which is a benefit for students and staff. It has benefitted students by offering them a very deep and solid base for their continuing math education. We are using the data to identify gaps in student learning, and we plan to work on deficits during power hour time. 

It has been amazing to see some of the strategies that students are utilizing and being successful with. I come from the “memorize the facts and algorithm” generation of math with the teaching being “here’s how you do it.” That’s what I knew, so that’s how I taught. I feel like I have short-changed so many students the opportunity to really get to know the value of numbers and math in general. Now I see the importance of building that foundation for students and empowering them to no longer be held hostage by the numbers on the page. It has made a huge impact on me and my students!

Alt+Shift: Describe one implementation challenge you have experienced.

Lisa: The biggest challenge I’ve faced is getting buy in from all teachers. Trying to explain how developing skills using the CRA (Concrete-Representational-Abstract) model truly does support the best and most efficient learning. I’ve seen it first hand, and I want all teachers to embrace this pedagogy so that all students can have the opportunity to feel empowered and confident in their knowledge of numbers.

Trying to prove this method works to some teachers has been a struggle. I try to show student work samples as an example and hope that the students show a new found confidence in class after we have worked on the skills, but change is hard for some. It has to be a mindset shift before it will show up in their practice. I just keep working hard with the students and hope what we are all doing will benefit the child.

AS: Describe an implementation success you’ve had.

Lisa: One child I worked with was extremely frustrated with basic division and really getting down on herself because she couldn't understand it. She knew you could draw circles to figure it out but didn't know why or how. We spent one day using manipulatives. and she was able to perform at 100 percent proficiency. The next day we went in to drawing, and again she had 100 percent. She was elated! We then started having the conversation and making connections between multiplication and division. She continued to excel, her language and answers matured, and she was no longer upset with herself or the content. It was amazing to be a part of that journey with her.

AS: What are your next steps with implementing Delta Math?

Lisa: Trying to find more ways to utilize the data from the screener to strengthen the instruction and the students' understanding. We want to take a hard look at where the deficits are recurring and come up with a plan to address those areas sooner and in more detail. I work with a great group of teachers who have a lot of knowledge to share. We have been given more time to collaborate and these are the things we are trying to tackle as a team. We are always looking to better ourselves which in turn will better our students, and that is what it is all about!

Continue the conversation with Lisa Gravedoni

What Others are Saying

We asked partnership sites to share their experience related to the training. 

Multiple Interviewees