During the COVID-19 crisis, the efforts of the United States Army have been very prominent, especially Army researchers working on a vaccine and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ incredible work building field hospital facilities around the country. However, also important has been the Army’s provision of free online education tools to homebound students through its March2Success program.
March2Success provides a free online study program to help students prepare for standardized tests, improve schoolwork, and review academic materials. It also provides tools for educators and parents to track student progress.
Importantly, there is no enlistment obligation for students who use March2Success. It is an education service that the Army provides to the nation.
“As students begin the recommended non-traditional education due to COVID-19, they may need refreshers, especially in math and English,” said Dr. Larane Guthrie-Clarkson, who is a top Army education official.
“Since their teachers will not be readily available in a classroom setting,” says Guthrie-Clarkson, March2Success “can provide immediate tutorial options that students can use to augment the face-to-face teacher/student learning environment.” March2Success is “available 24/7 for students, so they can utilize the study time that best suits their needs.”
Specifically, March2Success includes self-paced study programs in Math, English and Science, with the focus of materials on grades 8-12, and is based on the philosophy of individualized learning, goal achievement, a diagnostic-assessment-remediation model, and academic comprehensiveness.
The High School Math and Verbal Skills course as well as the College Readiness Online Course each start with a pre-assessment test to determine a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The results are then used to generate a personalized study plan.
The individualized plan includes lessons that target exactly what the student needs to study and includes interactive lessons, quizzes and additional practice tests. There is then a post-assessment, with detailed answer explanations for each question.
Guthrie-Clarkson says that the personalized study plan is “designed to enhance [students’] knowledge in areas that may be difficult for them to understand.”
The program’s math hub, for example, includes roughly 1,200 practice questions in subjects ranging from algebra to geometry to trigonometry and pre-calculus, which are designed to familiarize students with key skills and content contained in STEM math standards.
In addition, March2Success’ math-learning modules include interactive exercises that provide remediation for math subjects through the use of animation, drag and drop exercises, and clickable steps to engage students in the learning experience.
The Army is also partnering with top app developers to produce free apps that will enhance students’ education through game-based learning.
For instance, the March2Success STARS: Elements free app is designed to help teachers and students through the use of visual learning tools that allow students to explore the periodic table, elements and atomic structure through interactive models, games and challenges.
Students who have used March2Success have been surprised by how effective it is.
According to one student: “When I started this program, like anyone else I thought that this was just a waste of my time. When I actually started this, I ended up learning more and now know how to study better. I get better grades on my tests too.”
The bottom line, according to Guthrie-Clarkson, is that March2Success is a proven online-learning tool that produces positive results: “Whether the student uses [March2Success] in the classroom or at home, the results can be the same . . . a better understanding of the subject area, which can enhance scores on standardized tests.”
It is estimated that schools will not re-open until next fall. Thus, long after the Army-built field hospitals are taken down, the Army’s online-education program will continue to assist students as they spend the next months learning at home.
On May 4th, Pacific Research Institute will be hosting a webinar on COVID-19 and distance learning. Dr. Tonja Ochonma, education services specialist with the Army, will present on the March2Success program.
Lance Izumi is senior director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute. He is the author of the 2019 book Choosing Diversity: How Charter Schools Promote Diverse Learning Models and Meet the Diverse Needs of Parents and Children.