What the Arrowsmith Program Provides
- the Arrowsmith suite of cognitive programs comprising over 12,000 discrete levels of computerized, auditory and pencil and paper exercises that are refined and updated annually
- the Arrowsmith Program Web Assessment that identifies your students’ cognitive strengths and weaknesses
- an Initial Learning Profile for each student
- an individualized program of cognitive exercises for each student
- the Arrowsmith web-based Record of Program which allows teachers to enter the monthly quantitative and qualitative data for each student’s program
- an analysis of the monthly data that compares student progress to Arrowsmith benchmark goals for each exercise
- a year-end assessment that measures student progress in each of the cognitive areas addressed
- a year-end Learning Profile based on improvements in the specific cognitive areas being addressed for each student
- a modified program of cognitive exercises for each year a student is enroled
- a Program Coordinator assigned to each school to offer guidance in teacher and student selection, to answer the teacher’s questions, to analyze student data and monitor student progress
- a three-week teacher training course at Arrowsmith School in Toronto including our comprehensive Reference Manual and ongoing web-based professional development seminars throughout the year
What is the Arrowsmith Program and What are the Outcomes?
The Arrowsmith Program is a suite of cognitive programs designed to address a range of specific learning difficulties. See Methodology for information on the theory underlying the Arrowsmith Program. The programs target 19 areas of cognitive functioning involved in learning.
Each cognitive program has a series of intensive and graduated tasks, with more than 12,000 levels across all programs, designed to address a specific area of cognitive functioning. A description of these cognitive areas is located in the Chart of Learning Dysfunctions and Outcome.
The goal of the Arrowsmith Program is to identify and strengthen a series of weak cognitive areas that affect learning, and each student works on cognitive programs that are individually designed for their areas of learning difficulty.
Upon completion of the program, students are able to capitalize on their increased learning capacities; after a three to four year program they are reintegrated into a full academic curriculum without further special education assistance or program modifications. If a student is unable to complete the three to four year program, they achieve benefit each year they are in the program.
Where and How is it Delivered?
The Arrowsmith Program is delivered in a school setting by trained teachers.
The cognitive programs are delivered in three formats:
Computer exercises designed to strengthen the ability to reason, use logic, and comprehend, as well as exercises for strengthening numeracy skills, reading, and visual memory for symbol patterns and face and landmark recognition
Auditory exercises designed to improve short and long term auditory memory, phonemic memory, oral and written output and vocabulary development and to increase the ability to hold and process information (working memory)
Pen and paper exercises designed to improve the cognitive capacities required for motor skills related to the mechanical aspect of writing, skills required for written communication, organization and planning, executive function, and skills required for non-verbal communication
Performance criteria are built into each of the cognitive programs based on accuracy, consistency, speed, and automaticity of performance. A student needs to meet these criteria to master each level before advancing to a more difficult level. The program is modified throughout the year based on the student’s progress.
Students Who Can Benefit from the Arrowsmith Program
The Arrowsmith Program is designed for students who are of average or above average intelligence and who have one or more of the learning dysfunctions that are described in the Chart of Learning Dysfunctions and Learning Outcomes.
Students with severe intellectual, emotional or behavioral disorders, severe brain injury or autism spectrum disorder will not benefit from the program as the program is designed to address specific learning disabilities. These conditions prevent students from engaging in the Arrowsmith cognitive programs.
The program is appropriate for students who have learning difficulties ranging from mild to severe, including those who are experiencing difficulty with just one or with several subject areas and those who have been identified with a learning disability as well as those who have not been formally identified. The Arrowsmith Program® Cognitive Profile Questionnaire is a useful tool to help parents and students determine whether the learning issues experienced are those addressed through the Arrowsmith Program.
Students of all ages have benefitted and our youngest students are six years old. Most students are of elementary or secondary school age.
We have post-secondary young adult programs and have worked with students who were mature adults. Students in the young adult programs have frequently completed their formal education and enroll in this program when they discover that they lack the cognitive abilities to function effectively in the workplace or in college or university.
Schools that offer the Arrowsmith Program decide on the appropriateness of each student. This decision is based on discussions with parents and teachers or in the case of older students, with the students themselves. The Arrowsmith Program Coordinator is available for consultation with the Arrowsmith teacher or principal on the appropriateness of the Arrowsmith Program for any particular student.
Enrolment and Web Assessment
Once a decision has been made to enroll a student in the Arrowsmith Program, the school completes the Arrowsmith enrollment process and Arrowsmith assigns a student number and provides a link to the Arrowsmith Web Assessment which allows the Arrowsmith teacher at the school to complete the assessment.
The Web Assessment is conducted at the school by the Arrowsmith teacher and identifies the student’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. An initial assessment is conducted when the student first enrolls and there is a further assessment at the end of each school year.
The Web Assessment guides the teacher, who has been trained in this program during the teacher training course, to enter the student’s responses using tests developed by Arrowsmith and also includes a rating scale containing questions that can be completed by a parent, a teacher or the student.
The Web Assessment takes approximately one day to complete for each student. The Arrowsmith assessment needs to be administered in a quiet room with only the teacher and student present. In the first year that a school offers the Arrowsmith Program, a teacher will require approximately two weeks to complete the Web Assessment for ten students. Unless the assessment has been done prior to the start of the school year, once the teacher has completed the teacher training course, the Arrowsmith students remain in their academic classrooms during this time.
The results of the Web Assessment are transmitted to Arrowsmith using a secure link where they are interpreted and used to produce an Individual Learning Profile describing the student’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Arrowsmith Program uses this Learning Profile to create an individualized program of cognitive exercises to meet the learning needs of each student.
The initial Individual Learning Profile also establishes the approximate number of years that the student will require in the Arrowsmith Program, with most students requiring three to four years in the program. If a student is unable to complete the three to four year program, they achieve benefit each year they are in the program.
The year-end assessment enables Arrowsmith to create a revised Learning Profile based on improvements in the specific cognitive areas being addressed and to modify the student’s program of cognitive exercises for the following year.
The Arrowsmith Classroom
An Arrowsmith Program classroom is similar to any other classroom. The age range is wider and the cognitive programs look different from the standard academic curriculum, but the students have the same needs and interests and require the same dedicated and trained teachers as every other student.
All grade levels are accommodated in the Arrowsmith classroom with students rotating in and out to age-appropriate academic classes. Arrowsmith periods are not necessarily consecutive.
Students will usually spend four periods per day, five days a week, for three to four years on cognitive programs designed specifically for their areas of learning difficulty.
Students may spend as many as eight periods per day or as few as one or two periods when they are nearing completion of the program and mainstreaming well in the age-appropriate academic class and there are only one or two areas requiring further programming.
The number of periods will depend on the individual student’s need and school regulations. Arrowsmith Program requires an initial commitment of four periods per day, five days per week for each student.
Our experience has shown that this amount of time is required to produce the cognitive change that enables students who were previously unable to participate in their class to successfully return to a full academic curriculum.
An Arrowsmith classroom is a joyful and rewarding place. Students who have experienced failure or who have significantly struggled to achieve success enjoy a newfound sense of accomplishment working with their peers as they move through the levels of their program. The students’ strengthened learning capacities allow them to effectively and competently handle the academic curriculum that previously was very difficult for them.
Web-Based Record of Program
The quantity and quality of each student’s work on each exercise is entered at the end of each month by the Arrowsmith teacher on a web-based Record of Program and is reviewed by the Program Coordinator to ensure that each student is progressing at an appropriate level measured against Arrowsmith benchmark goals for each exercise.
Arrowsmith assigns a Program Coordinator to each school to act as the liaison between Arrowsmith Program and the Arrowsmith classroom teacher and principal at the school. The Program Coordinator is responsible for monitoring the progress of each student using the Record of Program.
The Arrowsmith Program Coordinator is available to answer questions and provide on-going education, professional development and feedback in the delivery of the Arrowsmith Program. The Program Coordinator is available to provide assistance and advice in the selection of teachers and the admission of students who are appropriate for the Arrowsmith Program.
Teacher Training Course and Ongoing Professional Development
The Arrowsmith teacher training course is an intensive three week summer course at Arrowsmith School in Toronto that provides participants with a solid grounding in the theory and methodology of the Arrowsmith Program.
The course is based on the Arrowsmith Program Reference Manual that contains detailed instructions on each cognitive exercise. The manual is updated annually and a copy is provided to each school.
The course includes lectures, video demonstrations and small group hands-on practice. There is a pre-course reading and essay assignment, a substantial homework commitment and a concluding examination.
The participants in the course are teachers in schools that offer the Arrowsmith Program and have been selected by the school. The Program Coordinator is available to help in teacher selection. The teachers should have multi-tasking, organizational, analytical and problem solving skills. They should have a good memory for detail, the ability to motivate and facilitate student learning and be comfortable working with computers.
All teachers participate in professional development seminars throughout the year that are delivered by video conference and over the web as part of ongoing training and to maintain their certification.
Responsibilities of the Arrowsmith Program Teacher
Each Arrowsmith Program teacher must successfully complete the training course and is responsible for:
- implementing the program in accordance with the procedures established by Arrowsmith in the training course and Reference Manual
- conducting the Web Assessment for each student including initial and year end assessments
- tracking and entering student progress on a monthly basis in the web-based Record of Program
- participating in ongoing professional development provided by Arrowsmith
- participating in the selection of appropriate students in accordance with the policies of their school and in consultation as necessary with the Program Coordinator
- ensuring that all materials that the students require are prepared, organized and maintained in accordance with Arrowsmith procedures
- reporting to parents in accordance with the policies of their school and Arrowsmith procedures in consultation, as required, with the Program Coordinator
- keeping parents informed and aware of their child’s progress and homework responsibilities and monthly goals
Classroom Set-Up, Supplies and Equipment
Schools offering the Arrowsmith Program provide a self-contained classroom for the exclusive use of the Arrowsmith students. The teacher to student ratio is one Arrowsmith teacher for each group of approximately 10 students. Overall class size is not limited to 10 students and larger groups may be accommodated in the same classroom provided the same teacher-to-student ratio is maintained.
Each school provides the following:
- two computers for every three students equipped with the Windows 2000 or later operating system including a CD drive and USB port
- one computer equipped with the Windows XP or later operating system with internet access for the Web Assessment and Record of Program including printer, CD drive and USB port for the Arrowsmith teacher
- a unique school email address for sending links for the Web Assessment and communicating with the Arrowsmith Program Coordinator
- one MP3 player for every two students and a set of headphones for each student on an auditory program
- exercise materials printed from Arrowsmith masters that cost approximately $300 to $400 per student annually
- miscellaneous supplies (such as timers, red pens, eye patches) that cost approximately $100 per student annually
Agreement with Arrowsmith Program
Each school enters into an agreement with Arrowsmith Program Inc. in Canada and Arrowsmith Program U.S. Inc. in the United States for a one year term that renews automatically but may be canceled by the school at the end of any school year without penalty.
The Arrowsmith Program fee is charged on a per student basis payable in two installments during the school year (with a deposit prior to the start of the school year in the first year only). The fee includes everything that is described in the section under “What the Arrowsmith Program Provides,” other than the fee for the teacher training course. There is no initial fee and there are no other fees or charges.
Canadian schools pay the federal Goods and Services Tax (or Harmonized Sales Tax) on all fees. U.S. and International schools pay the federal Goods and Services Tax (or Harmonized Sales Tax) on the Teacher Training Fees as this service is provided in Canada. Canadian parents may be entitled to receive the Federal Medical Expense Tax Credit under the Income Tax Act of Canada that is described on our website.
Planning to Offer the Arrowsmith Program
The decision to offer the Arrowsmith Program should be made as early in the school year as possible to allow time to plan and prepare for the start of the program in the next school year including:
Students – identifying and enrolling a minimum of 10 students who are appropriate for the Arrowsmith Program
Teachers – recruiting a teacher with the skills to manage a class of learning disabled students and who will be available to participate in the summer three-week teacher training course
Classroom set-up, supplies and equipment – providing a classroom for the sole use of the Arrowsmith Program with the necessary supplies and equipment
Initial Assessment – in the first year that a school offers the Arrowsmith Program one teacher will require two weeks to assess a group of 10 students individually
We will be pleased to list prospective schools on our website and to assist them in their planning.
An overview of some of the practical aspects of implementing the Arrowsmith Program in both public and private schools that will be of particular interest to educators and administrators who are interested in offering the Arrowsmith Program.