As we begin a new school year, it is essential for math teachers to know where all students are in their learning and where gaps may exist. Having a pulse on student performance during their lessons gives teachers a clear idea of how well each student is mastering knowledge and skills in the lesson, and helps you provide the support all students need to be successful. This is why a solid formative assessment routine is so important.
Having a strong formative assessment routine, or ‘practice’, is key to building a culture of positive student perseverance in math, however this can often be easier said than done.
Building a successful routine that students are invested in requires access to quick data that can be shared with students and used to drive next steps during instruction. ASSISTments provides these data, and we want to share a few key considerations that will help teachers set up a successful formative assessment routine with students.
James Popham, in “Transformative Assessment,” defines formative assessment as, “...a planned process in which teachers or students use assessment-based evidence to adjust what they are currently doing.”
Select Your Starting Point and Build From There
Begin by choosing where during your lesson it would be most powerful to add immediate data for yourself and students. And, ideally, you want to start with one part of your lesson and build out from there as you and your students get comfortable with using the platform. Here are a few examples:
- Use ASSISTments for Warm-Ups to identify differentiated groups for the day’s lesson.
- Use ASSISTments for Exit Tickets or Homework to determine which topics require reteaching or additional supports for students prior to starting new content.
- Assign practice problems in ASSISTments during the lesson to gauge how effectively the lesson established new student learning.
2. Onboard Students to Your Routines Successfully
Once you’ve identified the most impactful way to include ASSISTments in your lesson, your next step is to onboard students in a thoughtful way that supports building positive student culture around the platform.
To do this, we recommend getting students familiar with how ASSISTments works via the Student Practice Assignments and Student Tutorial Videos. Having students complete these steps individually or as a class will help them get acquainted with the platform before they are asked to engage with rigorous math content.
3. Infuse Your Routines with Best Practices
Next, we recommend infusing your routines with some best practices that will help establish those routines so you will know exactly where each student is in their skills mastery.
- Establish a clear routine for how students should show their work, we still recommend using pencil and paper in conjunction with our platform.
- Make sure students have a clear routine for completing open response questions in ASSISTments, including how you would like them to enter their responses (typed, taking a picture).
- Involve clear communication with students on how their performance data in ASSISTments will be used to support their learning when they are finished with each assignment. Here are some examples of key messages to share with students:
- “Use the feedback to help you and try, try again!”
- “ASSISTments is for practice. It’s OK to make mistakes when practicing.”
- “I will use the data from your performance in ASSISTments to…”
4. Use ASSISTments Data to Pinpoint Student Misunderstanding
Critical to any successful routine with ASSISTments is knowing what data to focus on and share with students once an assignment is complete. Here are 3 key data points in ASSISTments assignment reports that teachers can share with students and use to drive shifts in instruction:
Here are some examples of how teachers can communicate these data points with students to drive next instructional steps:
- “I noticed that the class average score was low so we will spend some time in class today reviewing key concepts from the lesson and giving you some additional time to practice.”
- “In particular, scores were lower on these two problems which means you found them particularly challenging. Let’s take some time to work through these problems together before you get another chance to practice.”
- “I noticed that this question featured these Common Wrong Answers, so we will spend time in small groups unpacking why they happened and what you can do in the future to avoid them.”
An Example Routine with ASSISTments
To learn more about establishing routines with ASSISTments, watch experienced ASSISTments teacher Marla Edwards in this video, where she describes how she leverages immediate student feedback and Assignment Report data during class to enhance her lessons. In addition, here she shares more detail on her formative routine with ASSISTments and Eureka Math.
ASSISTments is a proven tool. Rigorous research, via randomized control trial, has proven that students experience 75% more learning in classrooms using ASSISTments compared to those that don’t. In addition, teachers spend less time grading and save an average of 30 minutes a day, which allows them to spend more time targeting instruction to meet student needs.