Many students, especially Black and Brown girls, face false beliefs that they are not good at math. Esperanza Academy, a tuition-free, all-girls, middle school serving predominantly Black and Brown students in Lawrence, MA, has transformed how their students view math by demystifying these beliefs and helping them build confidence through experience and mistakes. Their math program empowers girls to redefine what is expected of them, to counter societal limitations, and to take on challenges that will positively impact the trajectory of their lives in Lawrence, MA and beyond. This case study discusses how implementing ASSISTments into their current math program has helped students develop a growth mindset and helped teachers to easily pinpoint student learning needs.
Implementing an EdTech Tool to Track Progress
When Esperanza adopted the Illustrative Math curriculum for fall 2022, instructional leaders began searching for an education tool that would track students progress and growth in math. Since implementing ASSISTments into their weekly routines, Esperanza noticed an immediate difference in their students’ math scores.
With the guidance from Brian Story, the School Success Manager at ASSISTments, and easy to interpret data visualizations, Esperanza began to target students' learning needs and identify what key skills and knowledge needed reteaching. With ASSISTments, they were able to do this quickly and efficiently. With their approach to math, and additional support from ASSISTments, Esperanza saw a huge increase in MAP math scores during the 2022-2023 school year. Specifically, 7th grade students made 164.1% of their projected growth, with 73.3% of students meeting or exceeding their growth goals. This means that they achieved over a year and a half of learning in just one school year, or are learning at a faster rate than their peers nationally! Overall, 8th grade students experienced 116% of expected growth in the 2022-23 school year in comparison to the 60% increase experienced last year.
Learn more about their story and how they have leveraged ASSISTments to help create a positive math community within their school below.
Building Teacher & Student Confidence
Esperanza adopted the online learning platform ASSISTments in the 2022-23 school year after Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Ariel Aggarwal, began searching for an easy to use education tool that would track students' progress and growth in math. Ariel decided to give ASSISTments Teacher and ASSISTments Advantage a try after discovering it had received the highest rating of effectiveness from ESSA. They began working closely alongside Brian Story to incorporate ASSISTments into their classroom practice routines. After learning how to evaluate the data and using ASSISTments weekly, the math teachers at Esperanza Academy found it easier to pinpoint where students lacked understanding, and identify where students were experiencing the most challenges.
The assignment report data provided through ASSISTments Advantage gave Teachers the confidence they needed to discuss their students' learning progress. “[Teachers became] so comfortable with looking at the data and sharing the insights they’ve gathered about not only their students but their teaching and what works best for their classroom,” according to Esperanza Academy Principal, Delia Durán-Clark. Not only have teachers seen the benefits, but over time their students' ability to identify their own learning progress became evident in the ways they discussed their understanding. Teachers continuously shared key data points with students which helped to normalize discussions around the common learning challenges found within the class. Here’s what Aggarwal had to say about student learning after incorporating ASSISTments:
“Students feel a lot more growth in their understanding and are able to recognize that it’s not that they didn’t understand anything, they just have to work on one or two concepts which is less overwhelming and more encouraging to developing a growth mindset.”
Students also benefited from the student supports built directly into the ASSISTments platform. With access to immediate feedback, hints, and explanations, students could identify what topics were the most challenging even before reviewing the data points in class.
Proven to Work
In August 2023, The ASSISTments Foundation announced the findings of a groundbreaking independent study showing that ASSISTments has a significant positive impact on math achievement and educational equity. The study replicated the outcomes of a previous randomized controlled trial (RCT), solidifying ASSISTments as one of the most rigorously researched and highly effective math learning solutions available.
If you’re interested in easily tracking student learning, encouraging a growth mindset and pinpointing student learning needs, consider adding ASSISTments to your teacher toolbox!