The Targeted Cognitive Intervention Journey

  • Carroll Connection
Carroll Connection, 2019-2020

This article was originally featured in the 2019-2020 edition of Carroll Connection. In this edition we asked our community members to share their journey before, during, and after Carroll School and we shared journey timelines for key school initiatives.

Through its Targeted Cognitive Intervention (TCI) program, Carroll is building students’ cognitive capacities and harnessing data to dramatically improve student outcomes. TCI is a valuable ingredient in a comprehensive program dedicated to closing academic gaps in children with language-based learning difficulties. Here are some of the important mile markers along this journey of innovation and outcomes.

TCI Timeline

2009: John Gabrieli publishes Dyslexia: A new synergy between education and cognitive neuroscience, inspiring Carroll to ask, “Can we do more?”

"I remember the watershed moment in 2009, the Academic Leadership was examining the progress of a student who made great gains in core academic areas.  His processing speed, however, was woefully inadequate. We dared asked the question, ‘Could we have done more to help this student?’ This led us to the pursuit of cognitive interventions to improve the learning capacity in our students." ~Steve Wilkins, Head of School

2010: Dr. Eric Falke joins Carroll and begins studying how to better understand students’ cognitive profiles.

Summer 2012: Carroll launches the Cognitive Intervention & Research Department and begins development of the Targeted Cognitive Intervention (TCI) program.

Fall 2013: Carroll partners with John Gabrieli, professor of brain and cognitive sciences and investigator of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT.

Fall 2015: Carroll redesigns the school schedule to include a FLEX Block, integrating TCI into the core curriculum for every student in grades 4-9.

Winter 2016: Development begins on what will become the TCI software platform.

"Developing a technology platform allowed us to automate the operational aspects of TCI. This freed up our TCI specialists to focus on meta-cognitive teaching and coaching, and let our development team focus on how to make TCI more effective." ~Jen Brock, Head of Product

Fall 2016: The TCI platform goes live, allowing Carroll for the first time to assess a student’s cognitive profile, assign an intervention, deliver cognitive curriculum, monitor student progress and build a database of student performance all from a single platform.

"In the early days of Cognitive, we were trying to figure out what works and for who. With the TCI platform and the visibility provided by the data, we now can answer those questions for each student." ~Ben Shepard ‘02, Cognitive Specialist

Fall 2017: Carroll delivers TCI outside of Carroll with 2 pilots: Greenwood School in Vermont and Andover (MA) Public Schools. Data collected from both pilots show gains in students’ cognitive skills in the targeted domains.

"Before we had TCI, working memory and processing speed were certainly talking points about all of our students. But now we’re looking at them as things that can be changed, and that can become pillars of strength for students rather than fundamental challenges." ~Ted Backes, Greenwood School Director of Admissions

Fall 2018: Carroll hosts its first Data-Informed Instruction Professional Development Day using TCI Data Reports to train faculty on how to read and use data in the classroom.

"I am constantly aware that each data point on a graph is an actual child. Understanding means and standard deviations is great, but knowing that those means are made up of hundreds of smart kids who happen to learn differently, just like my daughter, motivates me each day." ~Kelly Henry, Data Analyst & Alumna parent 

Fall 2018: Carroll’s Board of Trustees decides that a consortium of schools is the best way to evolve our practice and share TCI with a large number of students outside Carroll.

2019 and Beyond: Carroll’s first scientific research study on the impact of TCI is slated to be submitted for review.



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