Symphony Math uses a dynamic branching engine that allows students to learn at their own levels. As students work in the program, they complete tasks that are judged as a 'best fit' for their ability. In this way, the program is constantly adjusting to the needs of each learner, and ensures that students work on material until they achieve full mastery.

Task Groups

Symphony Math is organized into groups of 8 tasks, called Task Groups. Each task in Symphony Math involves the completion of a mathematics task using models, symbols, or a combination of both. Task Groups attempt to give students the best possible tasks for each student. Each time a student completes a Task Group, the Symphony Math branching engine re-evaluates the student and provides a better match for their needs.

Adaptive Branching

Symphony Math provides a dynamic branching engine that customizes learning for every student. The type of Task Groups students work on is based on their previous performance in the program. The three types of Task Groups are:

PlacementA group of 8 challenging tasks that assess student mastery of all concepts within a Stage. Students who score better than 90% on these tasks move directly to the next Stage.
SkillA group of 8 tasks that focus on one skill within a Stage. Stages contain 4-8 Skill Groups.
FocusA group of 8 tasks that provide extended practice within a skill. Focus Groups gradually increase in difficulty, moving from models-only (concrete) to numbers-only (abstract) to application (auditory recall and word problems).

As students work in Symphony Math, they move in and out of the above Task Group types. Some students (older, or above grade level) will spend most of their time in Placement Task Groups, while some students will require more work in Skill and Focus Task Groups in order to demonstrate mastery in each skill.

Example 1: The 'Fast-Mover'

The report shown above shows a Student Daily Progress report for a student's first few sessions of use. The icons on the right side show student performance in each Task Group, with the most recent progress on top of the screen. The Green icons are tasks solved correctly the first time. Yellow icons indicate one error or hint during task completions, and red icons indicate 2 errors or hints. This student completes Placement Task Groups in Stages 1 through 7 making very few errors. The branching engine determines they have mastery of these concepts, and so the student is quickly promoted to higher-level material.

In 38 minutes, this student completes approximately one-third of the program’s curriculum. Finally, at Stage 8, they show some signs of struggle, and so they move from Placement Groups to Skill Groups. Skill Task Groups will present individual concepts related to the overall goal, and ensure that the student has mastery of this material before moving on.

Example 2: 'Slow and Steady'

This student takes a much different path through Symphony Math. Where Student 1 completed 7 Stages in the first 30 minutes or so, this student may need an hour or more to complete Stage 1. The student shows some initial signs of struggle, and moves into Skill Task Groups very early. The signs of struggle are confirmed in Stage 1.4, Counting Backward. Here, the student struggles again, and moves into Focus Task Groups. Even in the Focus Groups, we can see the student repeating the same Focus Group several times before moving on (1.4.2). (Of course, the tasks are not identical - but they are at the same level of difficulty.)

Students take different paths to achievement. Student 2 may need much more time in Symphony Math in order to complete the curriculum. This is appropriate for the student’s ability, and they should be encouraged to use Symphony Math more often, and rewarded when they graduate Stages in which they struggle.

Using Branching History to Help Struggling Students

The dynamic branching of Symphony Math® allows students to learn at their own levels. As the program illuminates an area of need, progress slows until the student achieves the necessary understanding. Students will move in and out of different branching modes as they work through the program. If they are challenged, and remain in a Focus Group for multiple attempts, they will be flagged in the 'HELP' data view on your Symphony Dashboard.

When a student needs help, a specific set of Extra Practice worksheets will be recommended. Your Symphony Dashboard presents a direct link to this resource. Knowing that the student is struggling with this concept in the program, it is best to use Extra Practice worksheets as an opportunity for intervention. Have a conversation with students about the material in the Extra Practice sheets, or have them work with other students who may also be struggling with the same skill. Small group or 1:1 instruction can help illuminate misconceptions and lead to greater understanding.