Case Study: College & Career Ready at Carver High School

Case Study: College & Career Ready at Carver High School 2018-03-13T04:59:27+00:00

How a change of technology helped one school get more students up to grade-level and doubled the number who scored College & Career Ready on the North Carolina EOC Exam.

Mastery Learning at Carver High School

With a steep hill to climb and only four years in which to climb it, Carver’s faculty and leadership have successfully embraced mastery learning and personalized instruction in order to get students with diverse needs to graduation day college and career ready.

Teachers in each department have formed professional learning teams (PLTs) that give common formative assessments to each class. They also work together to provide extra tutoring and peer-to-peer learning groups.

Carver’s teachers get students bought-in to owning their own achievement through innovative in-house programs like Numbers Matter – created by Assistant Principal Barbara Burke – an instructional plan that informs students of their numbers and empowers them to improve those numbers using pre-tests, standards-aligned frequent assessments, unlimited opportunities to be successful, and recognition of academic achievement.

Critically, Numbers Matter, like many other data-driven instructional plans, relies on teachers interpreting the data from frequent assessments to craft personalized learning strategies. It’s here that the choice of technology can make a huge difference.

Barbara Burke, Numbers Matter

Teachers need technology tools that they feel comfortable using to get the job done quickly. And students need instant feedback if they are to be expected to take ownership and pride in their own learning and achievement

— Barbara Burke, Assistant Principal Carver High School

Instructional Tools can Make the Difference Between Success and Something Less

For several years Carver’s teachers had used Pearson’s SchoolNet system for formative assessments. But was it the right tool for mastery learning? Turn-around time on grading quizzes was measured in days – too long to engage students with instant feedback as is prescribed by instructional plans like Numbers Matter. Teachers were spending a lot of time too, copying and pasting questions into SchoolNet.

Then in the fall of 2016 Janelle Miller – a recently matriculated Teach for America Corps Member – introduced Quick Key’s mobile grading app to Assistant Principal Burke and the other teachers of English II. Quick Key eliminated the headaches of SchoolNet and provided the instant feedback needed to engage students.

According to Assistant Principal Burke, Quick Key made Numbers Matter feasible, and as a result students in Numbers Matter achieved more in the classroom, and on the state test, the North Carolina EOC ELA exam, than they had in years.


Almost 95% of our students come to Carver at Levels 1 and 2, meaning they are not proficient. So we have to bring them up to grade level while also teaching them the high school curriculum. 

— Julia Puckett, Instructional Coach, Carver High School

What the superintendent said about Numbers Matter & Quick Key


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