Exemplars Empowers Students to
Persevere in Problem Solving


case study information



The Co-op School is a private Preschool, Lower, and Middle School headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, with a total student enrollment of under 200.


The Co-op School’s goal was to find a library of math resources and tasks for problem solving that teachers could utilize for instruction and embed alongside rigorous aligned formative assessments. Leaders realized students required growth opportunities in perseverance when working through mathematical concepts, and teachers desired ample resources to enrich student thinking. After recognizing a need for a platform that develops problem solving and critical thinking through visual learning, a preference for a resource-rich, and rubric-driven learning program arose.


With Exemplars problem-solving tasks, students at The Co-op School approach and solve real-world problems using many different formats. There is a new shared language for problem-solving and progression throughout the grades. Exemplars appeals to diverse learning styles and can be used in conjunction with both teacher- and student-led learning. Through the use of the rubrics, students have the ability and awareness to monitor their own learning.

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The Challenge

Leaders at The Co-op School recognized that teachers who had access to an extensive library of rich aligned mathematical tasks and resources could positively impact student learning outcomes. In addition, The Co-op School desired a resource that would enhance instruction in problem solving. Leaders knew that teachers would benefit from rubric-aligned resources and structures to support student development in math writing and visualization processes.

Choosing Exemplars

The Co-op School had relied on in-house performance tasks, resources, and assignments to improve student problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, but the work was time consuming. As a result, it did not bolster student mathematical thinking as hoped. Understanding that staff didn’t have the time or capacity to continue planning this way, it was imperative they found a reliable resource hub scaffolded within a standards-aligned curriculum that would be accessible for instructors to incorporate in daily lessons. Exemplars content-rich digital Math Library consisting of performance tasks and resources that provided a universal language for teacher instruction provided The Co-op School with the perfect platform to jumpstart deeper learning of complex mathematical topics, incorporate process and establish a cohesive progression throughout the grades. Teachers of every level embraced Exemplars as they observed students continuously rise to new levels of understanding.

The Outcome

Immediately after using Exemplars, teachers saw significant improvement in student perseverance with complex problem-solving tasks and assignments. Teachers quickly learned how to incorporate Exemplars into their already structured lessons and began to find more opportunities to embed Exemplars-based practice into each day. Kindergarten teachers, who were skeptical initially, were soon thrilled with how students progressed in their proficiency. As a result, teachers focus on problem solving, visible thinking strategies, Process Standards emphasis, and even marrying reading comprehension and literacy with math. Students at The Co-op School learned to think differently and represent mathematical thinking in various ways, improving resiliency when faced with complex math problems.

"Exemplars is an invaluable and great resource that teaches into the thinking and representation around mathematics!"

Adrianne Wallace-Bearak
Math Specialist

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School Profile:

School Type: Private
Population Density: Urban*
Size: 100 K-5 Student Enrollment
Math Proficiency: Unavailable
*Source: niche.com