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Pros: Hints and second chances guide students through problems. Teachers get instant data to improve instruction.
Cons: Student interface is bland; it's text-heavy and can be a little frustrating.
Bottom Line: With some purposeful planning, this tool can offer a simple and free way to gather critical data, but it won't dazzle students.
Get students started with the two Student Practice Assignment tutorials. From there, teachers can browse the content library and start curating problem sets to target specific skills and concepts for their classes and assess whether students are struggling or need more challenging content. ASSISTments works best as a way to create a formative dialogue around homework. Teachers can use the feedback from an assignment -- perhaps even sharing results with the class -- to dig into particular problems with low levels of mastery. As a unit progresses, teachers can assign short skill builder sets to monitor understanding and identify areas that need reteaching or clarification. Summative assessments check for understanding while still offering students helpful hints and resources that can serve to solidify learning.
Teachers will want to spend some time really looking at the question sets before assigning from them. There's a risk that some might be tempted to assign questions indiscriminately or in high quantities. Favoring short assignments will limit student frustration and keep feedback manageable. You can sort students into groups and assign each group different questions so that each student is always working on what they need most. Take advantage of the open-answer questions and teacher comment feature to support a dialogue between teacher and learner.
ASSISTments is a free tool for assigning and assessing math problems and homework. Teachers can select and assign problem sets from a variety of providers like Eureka Math and JUMP Math, textbook curricula, and released state assessments. There's content from first grade through high school (although we found it best for fourth grade and up). Questions range from skill builders to problem sets to exit tickets, and all work must be assigned through Google Classroom or Canvas. Once students get an assignment, they can complete it at their own pace with the help of hints, multiple chances, and immediate feedback. Teachers get instant results displayed by class, student, or standard.
Teachers must initially put time into searching through the content, which is organized by skills and concepts and identified by problem set IDs. Teachers create problem sets and assign work to an entire class or small group. When students complete the assignments, teachers get a time-stamped report that shows who answered correctly, when hints were used, and how long it took each student to finish. Some questions require students to show their work via a file upload or use a built-in drawing feature. ASSISTments breaks down the data and shows incorrect answer trends.
ASSISTments helps teachers assign math problems and then monitor student progress and concept mastery. The instant feedback encourages teachers to use students' results as a way to drive further instruction and reinforcement. The problems are similar to what students would encounter in textbooks or on tests, but they offer more immediate feedback and potential for engagement. Although the students have little choice about the type of work they complete, the program is flexible and responsive. Teachers will be aware when students struggle with a concept, because the coded response icons provide a snapshot of how students did. While the feedback doesn't account for correct guesses, teachers can require students to submit images of their work to verify understanding.
Both students and teachers have access to reports from the assignments, so students can view their progress as teachers make necessary adjustments. These reports help teachers respond to students' needs and recover lost instructional time by pointing out areas that need reinforcing. Overall, this is a practical tool that supports data-informed instructional practices, but its success depends on the teacher's ongoing work to monitor student progress and adjust instruction.
From the student perspective, ASSISTments is just a digital version of a textbook assignment. It's bland and doesn't offer features like audio, video explanations, or assistive supports that would make it more accessible for all types of learners. The ASSISTments database includes content for first grade and up, but the student experience is not elementary school-friendly. For secondary math teachers, this free tool is worth checking out, especially if you're willing to spend some time in the ASSISTments Teacher Corner, where teachers share tried-and-true best practices.