From Remediation to Acceleration: Moving Learning Forward

Seesaw Students working to accelerate their learning

After a summer away from the classroom, beginning of year assessments can provide valuable insights into where students are starting their year, setting a baseline for growth and equipping teachers to provide targeted instruction.

They can also act as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Where students who come in knowing more, learn more; and students who come in knowing less, learn less.

Seesaw There's a common misconception... that to learn something new, you have to master everything that came before it.It has to do with how insights from these assessments are used to inform instruction.


There’s a common misconception when it comes to learning new things – that to learn something new, you have to master everything that came before it.

When it comes to addressing learning gaps, many schools put this into practice with remediation.

On the most basic level, remediation means “to teach again.” Students are labeled by what they don’t know (or what they haven’t demonstrated mastery of on traditional assessments) and remedial instruction targets those gaps.

But there’s another way to ensure every student masters grade-level content: Acceleration.

Acceleration is not a euphemism for remediation. Rather, acceleration shifts the focus away from skills that students are missing. Instead, acceleration focuses on supporting students for success with current grade-level content.

Acceleration targets skills with just in time supports and opportunities for immediate and relevant practice – all while in class with their peers.


Research shows that acceleration better supports mastery of grade-level content than remediation. Better yet, it can also increase student motivation and self-confidence. Here’s why.

Seesaw acceleration better supports mastery of grade-level content than remediation.Remediation often drills isolated skills through repetitive practice. Students get worksheets instead of real-world problems, direct instruction instead of discovery, watered-down content instead of appropriate challenge. In the absence of instructional strategies proven to foster deep engagement, students often comply with the task and nothing more.

Once on the remediation tract, students are often labeled as slow or behind – if not explicitly then often in their own minds. It can become a self-concept that decreases confidence in themselves as learners and motivation to persevere through challenges.

Further, students are often pulled out of core instruction for remediation. While reviewing content from previous years, students miss opportunities to engage in new content – which adds on even more learning they need to “make up” later.

Being part of an accelerated learning group can have the opposite effect.

Learning happens in context and in class with their peers. Engagement and relevance take priority. Students avoid stigmatizing labels and experience authentic success, positively reinforcing their belief in themselves and motivation to keep trying.

Acceleration moves students forward, pulling them up to grade-level learning.


For many teachers, acceleration is a new approach. How might it work in the classroom?

Acceleration builds upon the engaging, relevant, high-quality instruction already happening in the classroom.

Here’s the gist: Make sure that all students are given the opportunity to participate in core classroom instruction. Then, integrate the just-in-time differentiation students need to access grade-level content.

…which is way easier said than done.

Seesaw is here to help simplify things. We’ll show you how.

Here are a few key supports to accelerate skills and how Seesaw can help make them happen:


Before a lesson, identify and teach key background knowledge and vocabulary students need to know to be successful. At the start of the lesson, ask questions or prompt students to activate this prior knowledge.

How Seesaw can help: Seesaw’s high-quality content includes multimodal inputs like engaging videos with characters and animation; enticing podcasts; illustrative photos and graphics; and more! Building and activating background knowledge is built right in, so it’s front of mind as students practice the skill at hand.


Another way to make grade-level content accessible is to offer multiple entry points. Multiple entry points allow students of different backgrounds, experiences, and abilities to work thoughtfully with the content.

How Seesaw can help: Thinking of different ways to access a skill can be incredibly time consuming. That’s why Seesaw does it for you. Seesaw offers multiple ways to practice and apply skills in engaging and authentic ways.

  • Try it: STEAM lessons get students curious about the world around them with Dr. Science and Dr. Discovery. 

Seesaw expanding access to extension activities gives every student the chance to take ownership of their progress.OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXTENSION

Sometimes, students know more than they previously showed. Or they make progress at lightning speed! Expanding access to extension activities gives every student the chance to take ownership of their progress.

How Seesaw can help: Making grade-appropriate, deeply engaging learning experiences accessible to every student is what Seesaw is all about. Each includes a “Connect” activity to extend learning beyond the lesson. They encourage online and offline collaboration with peers or family members. And they reinforce why the content is relevant to students’ lives, communities, and world.

  • Try it: Code the World gives all students the chance to see themselves as computer scientists.


Accelerating learning still means tracking student progress towards grade-level standards and high expectations. Gathering formative insights into student learning is key.

Traditional assessments like essays, presentations, and multiple choice quizzes can be a barrier to many students. Giving students multiple ways to demonstrate learning can paint a more accurate picture of what students can do.

Students can be recognized and celebrated for what they really know and focus learning on the next skill.

How Seesaw can help: With Seesaw, multimodal outputs are built in. Within practice activities and the designated “Show What You Know” module, students get multiple ways to show what they can do, so teachers get the ongoing insights they need to keep learning moving forward.

For many classrooms, students are starting the year with a greater range of abilities than ever before. Moving from remediation to acceleration keeps motivation high and learning moving forward.

Share This Post
Check Out Our Latest Posts
Type keyword to search