Learning.com- The Long Review

This is one in a series of posts about our year-old pilot with the STEM Web site learning.com. The site allows teachers to assign math, science, and technology lessons or units to individual students, whole class, or specified groups. Units are leveled by grades 3-5 and contain interactive introductions, activities, games, quizzes, and journals.

Formative and Summative Assessments

The feature that our students and teachers most enjoy is the ability for students to gather immediate feedback on their work and teachers can provide live feedback with comments or simply visually see their progress. This provides students with a real sense of motivation that their work--evening game playing--is being viewed as skill progress. Students feel comfortable going back and reviewing videos.

We, as a district, are working on making decisions based on formative assessments and have been experimenting with making quizzes using Google forms and the widget, Flubaroo, to grade the quizzes. This process gave us some minimal data to make decisions on. After we had the students take a quick math quiz using our Google form, we created an assessment using learning.com. The program allows you to choose the standards you want to assess and then provides you with multiple questions to choose form to be on your final assessment. These questions are lengthy and can include diagrams. After we had the students take both assessments that covered the same standards, we discussed which was more challenging and reviewed their scores. The assessments in learning.com are problem-based questions that make students practice their skills in context. Many times in education we never allow students the opportunity to practice skills in the settings in which they occur. Although our students found these questions challenging, we know how important it is for them to be exposed to assessments that test more than basic formula based problems. The assessment questions provided were allowing us to see if they could use the transfer the skill into a new, novel problem environment.

We will continue to use both of our formative assessment tools, but seeing the difference in skill that occurs when students are asked to transfer knowledge into new word and diagram problems is causing us to think about our assessment creation differently.

The video and assessment support that this program provides has been extremely engaging and motivating to our students and has allowed us to see them as independent learners who need feedback to continue growing.

Peg Keiner is an instructional technology coach for Oak Lawn-Hometown District 123.