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ASSISTments Season of Giving: Developing a Growth Mindset in Your Students

At ASSISTments, our focus has always been on supporting teachers. In this second week of our  Season of Giving series, we focus on the tools available within ASSISTments Teacher useful for fostering a growth mindset in students. 

The actionable data and immediate feedback that ASSISTments Teacher provides are the keys to developing student agency. Students are equipped to reflect on their progress, adjust course, and take real action. Math teachers using ASSISTments Teacher are encouraged to develop routines where their students use math learning data to guide their own learning. By establishing these routines and making positive habits, you are helping shift student thinking from fixed to growth mindset. 

Try these three strategies to support your efforts in creating agents of learning.

Get Students Invested in Learning Data

By starting a discussion around the importance of data, students can be exposed to how data makes assignments more meaningful. 

  • Data provides students with an opportunity to reflect on their work and try again
  • Data moves student focus away from right or wrong, complete or incomplete 
  • Data allows teachers to identify what concepts students are struggling with, and offer additional support

The Assignment Report, which is the free report teachers receive with every assignment detailing class and student performance, can teach students how data is informing a teachers instruction. When a teacher sees a common wrong answer, they may assume that many students are struggling with the same concept, or misconception. But upon examining the data, the teacher, and the students can discover that sometimes that assumption is false. By sharing this data and potential misconceptions, students will be encouraged to explain their thinking, giving them a deeper understanding of what they understand rather than what they don’t. Students reveal their alternative conceptions through discussion which in turn informs the teaching. This promotes a collaborative learning culture creating a learning partnership between the teacher and students.

Familiarize students with all the tools that support their learning process.

After you get students invested in the importance of data and the power it can give them, share the many tools ASSISTments provides at their disposal that can offer additional support and encourage a growth mindset.

Hints: On certain questions, students have the option to use the “hint” button after initially answering incorrectly. This can be just the instructional boost students need during independent practice to adjust course and work towards the correct solution.

Multiple attempts: Providing students with an opportunity to reflect on their work and try again allows students to move their focus away from being wrong. Students understand that the error is feedback on their learning. 

Show answer button: By clicking the show answer button, students have an opportunity to reflect and work backwards from the correct answer, which can provide enough insight to identify their error.

Focus on learning targets and effective student habits

Students can allow the right and wrong of individual problems, test scores, and grades to overwhelm or become the ultimate focus of learning, especially in math. It’s important to constantly remind students to zoom out to the bigger picture, which is the learning target that they’re working towards. This can put data and performance into perspective. For example, at the start of a new concept, we don’t expect the class score on assignments to be high because the class is learning something new. As the lessons progress, the class score should also increase. 

When you teach your students that these ASSISTments features are all tools for advancing their learning, even and especially when working independently, their mindsets shift from fixed (“I’ll wait until tomorrow when my teacher reviews the assignment”) to focused on growth (“I can use this data and tools to figure it out myself”). 

That is a gift worth giving.