Shared scientific instruments make science more efficient by allowing for collaboration among researchers. In the field of learning science, all good studies need a variety of things including 1) measurement experts to study student learning with validated instruments, 2) researchers to design new ideas, 3) methodologists who can design and analyze randomized controlled experiments and 4) teachers to consult on these design teams to help come up with good ideas worth testing.
ASSISTments serves as a unique shared scientific instrument in the social science world, continuing the forward push to do more randomized controlled experiments. Social science can reap the benefits of our cultural shift to the digital world and the many ways people interact with online platforms. At the time of this article’s publication, over 50,000 students were using it in class and for homework that teachers assign. The assigned content is from our library with a wide range of topics including math, science, and foreign language though the largest content library is middle and high school math. Content is also created and shared by teachers. Due to funding from NSF, the Department of Education, and others, we can make the whole system free to students, teachers, and researchers.