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EdTech Research

ASSISTments holds a unique position in the edtech field due to our passion for learning science, and the bridge we build between researchers and educators.  ASSISTments supports teachers in implementing instructional practices rooted in learning science and researchers in implementing randomized controlled trials to better understand how students learn and what teacher interventions improve student learning.

Research insights fuel impactful classroom applications, and classroom learning and teacher insights fuel innovative advances in education research.

Our Impact and Efficacy

ASSISTments is one of only a few edtech tools that has rigorous evidence of meaningfully improving math achievement. ASSISTments received a Tier 1 rating by Evidence for ESSA and is featured in the What Works Clearinghouse as one of only a handful of interventions proven effective in mathematics.

Efficacy Trial Conducted by SRI International

An independent study funded by the US Department of Education and conducted by SRI International found that students who used ASSISTments almost doubled the normal amount of math learning observed in a year. Forty-four participating schools were divided into two groups - one that used ASSISTments for homework, classwork, and skill practice, and another that continued to use existing methods.


The study resulted in three findings: 

  1. Students who consistently completed assignments in ASSISTments scored approximately 75% higher than students whose teachers were not using the program on a standardized end-of-year assessment (effect size g = 0.22)
  2. Students with lower prior mathematics scores experienced a greater benefit from the intervention (effect size g = 0.29)
  3. ASSISTments, when paired with 3-5 days of professional development over a school year, reliably changed teacher practice to more effectively target class time to student difficulties and errors
Ongoing Efficacy Research

We welcome large-scale independent studies that put ASSISTments to the test, and are deeply committed to continuously assessing our impact on student math achievement, particularly for those students furthest from opportunity.

Outside evaluators from WestEd and AIR have been funded by the US Department of Education to replicate the findings of the SRI-led Efficacy Trial in diverse learning environments.

Trials are currently underway in North Carolina, and in urban and rural settings nationwide. With diverse geographic and socioeconomic regions represented in these studies, results will be nationally representative and generalizable to students across the United States.

Making high-quality learning possible in the classroom and at a distance

Last year teachers created over 248,000 online assignments via ASSISTments. We are proud to be a high quality option for teachers that allows them to assign from their curriculum online, and enhances the experience with data and immediate feedback.

Research That Fuels ASSISTments Product Development

At ASSISTments we have a passion for learning science. We actively partner with researchers to implement randomized controlled trials to better understand how students learn and what teacher interventions improve student learning. This learning fuels our product development, as well as innovative advancements in education. The backbone of this work is our Teachers for Research & Feedback community, educators and ASSISTments users who are data nerds like us, and make our research possible.

These are some of the features currently in development by the team at the ASSISTments Project @ WPI.

TeacherASSIST

TeacherASSIST allows teachers to create feedback for their students for any problem within ASSISTments. The feedback can be provided in the form of hints or explanations, and in text or video format. TeacherASSIST will crowdsource these hints and explanations for all the commonly-used questions, and allow any one of our users to add to an assignment.

We will test all teacher-sourced content to better understand which are most effective for different types of students. TeacherASSIST is a feature that brings the instructional guidance of a teacher home to students.

Can student learning improve using teacher crowdsourcing in online learning platforms such as ASSISTments?

TeacherASSIST is an ASSISTments feature that leverages teacher crowdsourcing to amplify and support teaching and learning across all ASSISTments users. Read more about our work and research using crowdsourcing.

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QuickComments

QuickComments is an AI-powered feature that suggests personalized comments to teachers when they are giving feedback to their students. Teachers often lack time to give detailed feedback on every open-response question in their students’ assignments. QuickComments relies on machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) techniques to suggest responses, sourced from actual teachers’ comments on student responses.

The Future of Mathematics Education: Using Artificial Intelligence to Provide Efficient Feedback

Adapted from NCTM 100 Days of Professional Learning talk on how QuickComments allows teachers to give feedback powered by AI.

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Automatic Reassessment and Relearning System (ARRS)

ARRS is a feature for spaced practice and mastery learning that helps teachers reinforce learning by assessing if students have mastered a concept over time. ARRS automatically reassesses students periodically on specific skill areas and assigns relearning exercises to those students who have not retained mastery. We continue to study different patterns of reassessment and relearning to determine how to optimize learning.

Students Retain Math Skill Mastery Through Reassessment and Relearning

We ran a randomized controlled trial on two ASSISTments features: Skill Builders and Automatic Reassessment and Relearning System (ARRS). Skill Builders allows teachers to assign individual skills practice sets and ARRS automatically reassesses students on these skills. Our study showed greater performance on those skills that were reassessed and relearned.

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Partnerships with External Researchers

ASSISTments serves learning science researchers broadly through its infrastructure for low-cost, small-scale randomized control trials that assess pedagogical interventions as students complete problems in ASSISTments.

Spotlight on learning sciences

Educators and Researchers Use ASSISTments to Test Best Practices

ASSISTments holds a unique position in the edtech space due to our passion for learning science and the bridge we build between educators and researchers to drive advances in education research. This post delves into two of the key components of that bridge.

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The Future of Mathematics Education: Using Artificial Intelligence to Provide Efficient Feedback

Adapted from NCTM 100 Days of Professional Learning talk on how QuickComments allows teachers to give feedback powered by AI.

Continue Reading
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