While many edtech tools and solutions might show promising results in small studies or certain conditions, very few prove effective at scale. That is not the case with ASSISTments. Developed at WPI by former teachers Professor Neil Heffernan and his wife Cristina Heffernan, the free classroom assessment software has been shown to bring about remarkable academic gains. With that proof of efficacy has come over $25 million in grant funding and top marks from the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse. In two months in 2019 alone, ASSISTments was awarded $8 million from the DoE’s Innovation and Research Program, along with a further $2 million from a private foundation.
The intervention has a simple proposition: learners need to receive feedback faster and more meaningfully. While completing classroom or homework assignments via the ASSISTments web app (which integrates with Google Classroom), students can access hints if they get stuck and receive detailed feedback immediately after they complete the assignment. Teachers, in turn, are informed about where their individual students and collective classes are struggling on the material, and can respond appropriately.