Mathematics is one of the important subjects of school education. Students get regular homework from the teachers but at home, they cannot get immediate feedback to check their progress. Sometimes even the teachers don't understand how well the students understood the problem. With the Assignments tool, teachers assign homework to the students for free and eventually provide them with immediate feedback. ASSISTments was developed with learning science principles at their core and they focus on increasing students' learning with proven methods. This free EdTech tool assigns and assesses the students regularly in the classroom and by using Google Classroom or Canvas.
Development of ASSISTments tool
ASSISTments tool is operated by Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the ASSITments Foundation. This tool was developed in 2003 by Cristina Heffernan and Neil Heffernan. Working as a teacher, they realized the need for more effective student feedback and data-driven insight to give the classroom instructions. This platform is completely free for the teachers and the students. As a result of the ASSISTments tool, the teachers could make homework and the classroom more effective. In 2019, The ASSISTments Foundation scaled up and expanded ASSISTments. The owners received funding worth 50 million USD to support open and free educational resources that are compatible with the expanding curriculum.
Aims of ASSISTments tool
ASSITments tool was designed with certain aims that included:
- Free and high-quality learning resources to the teachers and the students.
- Flexible EdTech is based on teacher-paced tools to enhance everyday instructions with the data.
- Formative assessment gives immediate feedback to the students, thus acting as a key to learning.
- Constant innovation by studying cutting-edge ideas to make better products like artificial intelligence.
- Equitable outcomes in teaching and learning by demonstrating the impact on student achievement in diverse contexts with rigorous research.
Advantages of ASSITments tool
There are many advantages of using the ASSITments tool in the classroom:
- Creates atmosphere around feedback
- Guides students with immediate feedback
- Improve the learning
- Enhancement to the curriculum of the teacher and daily workflow
- Offers a library of open educational resources, textbooks, and custom problem sets
- Integration of learning management systems like Google classroom and Canvas
- Skill-building among the students by translating the formative assessment based on the reports
- Provides time and actionable data to the teachers to move on with the topic in a meaningful way
Various steps to increase math learning
There are several steps to involve the students and enhance their learning:
Step 1: Create assignments
The teachers assign problems from the curriculum and textbooks used in the class like illustrative Math, Engage NY and Pearson assisted with tools like Google classroom and canvas.
Step 2: Completion of assignments through immediate feedback
This tool assists the students to complete their homework by providing some hints and explanations. This is not about being right or wrong but the feedback to support their learning.
Step 3: Assess class performance
The teachers get real-time assignment reports to assess the performance of the students. This report carries the details of the students and class performance, and common wrong answers. This helps to plan future lessons because the teachers know where the students need support before they even enter the classroom.
Step 4: Analyze the answers together After the analysis of the report, it becomes feasible for the teachers to focus on the required instructions. The teachers use data to maximize the learning time. They can create an atmosphere around the feedback. With the new study material and the instructions, homework and the classroom become aligned. Thus teachers can focus more on tougher problems, target weaker areas and thus advance to the next lesson.
The students can integrate the learning management system on ASSISTments by signing in on Google Classroom or Canvas.
SRI International Study
SRI International conducted an experiment to test the efficacy of the ASSISTments tool. The results showed 75% more learning in the classroom in a year with the help of the tool. During the experiment, schools were randomized to either use the ASSISTments tool or continue with their regular methods. As a result of this study, ASSISTments received a tier 1 rating by Evidence for ESSA. The findings of the study were:
- Teachers using the ASSISTments tool changed their classroom practices
- On a standardized test, the students reliably scored higher.
- Students with lower achievement the year prior to receiving assessments experienced greater benefit, thus narrowing the achievement gap.
Math curriculum providers
Various math curriculum providers at ASSISTments are:
- Kendall Hunt Illustrative Mathematics
- Open Up Resources
- EngageNY/Eureka Math
- Utah Middle State Math Project
- Explore More Content
Honors and awards
ASSISTments tool has received many awards and appreciation:
- The Edtech Awards - Cool Tool Winner 2020
- 2018 Top Pick for Learning
- Student Privacy Pledge 2020 Signatory
- Tier 1 rating by Evidence for ESSA
- Google Cloud Partner
ASSISTments tool has solved around 3 crore problems of the students last year. Using this tool will be free and flexible for the teachers. It was used by nearly 5 lakh students and 20,000 teachers in around 20+ countries around the world. Many studies have revealed that it has successfully improved maths learning among the students after regular use.