Case Study

Active Learning Motivates Students at All Learning Levels

November 14, 2016
Bell High School, Los Angeles Unified School District, CA


Bell High School is a comprehensive high school with a gifted magnet program, serving a student population that is mostly Hispanic and has a large percentage of English Language Learners. The main challenges are determining where students are in their learning and how to best support them.


Bell High School implemented its digital learning program to improve the graduation rate, improve course pass rates — particularly in math and English — and prepare students for high-stakes assessments.


Bell High School has been using Comprehensive Courses for five years, and started using Tutorials for the 2015–2016 school year. With Apex Learning teachers have access to real-time data so they can identify areas where students struggle, and provide immediate intervention before students fall behind.


The Bell High School graduation rate has risen from 68% to 83% over the five years it has used Apex Learning. Additionally, increasing the course pass rate has decreased the need for credit recovery, and teachers can now identify areas where students struggle and provide differentiated support to keep them on track.

22% Graduation Increase Over 5 Years

Success by the Numbers

  • Graduation Rate 2015: 83%
  • Dropout Rate Down 10% over 5 years

School Profile

  • Total students: 3,049
  • Free and reduced price meals: 89%
  • Large suburban school district


  • Hispanic: 98%
  • White: 2%


  • Blended learning
  • After school
  • Saturday program
  • Comprehensive Courses
  • Tutorials

Empowering Teachers to Support
Struggling Learners

The teachers at Bell High School have embraced Apex Learning as a critical resource to meet the wide range of student needs. The challenge with the traditional one-size-fits-all model of instruction is that if half the class doesn’t understand the course material, then moving forward doesn’t help them. Personalized learning couples differentiated instruction with flexible supports and scaffolding to give students the opportunity to catch up and stay on track.

Bell High School uses a blended learning model to reinforce teaching and give students the flexibility to work after school, in a Saturday program, or even work on specific topics for extra credit. Students can also work in the school’s lab with content teachers who provide intervention and individual help as needed.

Tutorials benefit students at all learning levels, with integrated supports and scaffolds to guide all students in achieving success. Tutorials support teachers in enhancing classroom instruction, providing remediation and intervention, and preparing students for high-stakes assessments.

Comprehensive Courses have been vital for credit recovery and have successfully helped students improve their grade performance. Real-time progress and performance data enables teachers to identify gaps in learning, provide immediate remediation, and deliver one-on-one help as needed. As a result, students’ end-of-course exam scores have improved and passing rates have increased.

Active Learning Motivates Students

Apex Learning actively engages students by presenting opportunities to ask questions and interact with the course material instead of just sitting and passively watching video lectures. Students observe, inquire, create, connect, and confirm to deepen their understanding. For example, Assistant Principal Virginia Torres-Ring observed that students using Apex Learning do a lot more writing than is required by another digital curriculum provider the school was using.

Students have more control over their learning and they appreciate being able to navigate through the program at their own pace, whether they are struggling students looking to recover credits or accelerated students in the magnet school.

I can see the motivation in both accelerated and struggling students. They become active learners.

Virginia Torres-Ring

Assistant Principal

Bell High School