Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2018

Formative Loop

Math program makes daily practice a snap

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Math

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
1–8
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: Teachers can easily assign, deliver, and grade daily math practice that's targeted to each student.

Cons: Exercises are pencil/paper drills, so they're not highly engaging or accessible by computer.

Bottom Line: This is a simple, streamlined way to deliver and track daily math practice and boost kids' fluency.

Teachers can use Formative Loop to provide kids with five-minute math drills each day. Print the exercises prior to class, have kids complete the exercises at the beginning of class, and grade them before the next day. View the reports to find out if any kids are struggling, and provide remedial instruction as needed.

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Teachers start by choosing their school district, school, and grade level. Then they add a class and input student names. The program chooses a starting set of exercises as a PDF that's ready to print. Exercises are intended as daily five-minute practice drills. Teachers collect the students' exercises and grade them using the website's easy-to-use grading program. Reports provide detailed information about student progress; schoolwide reports are also available. Daily exercises are generated for each day of the week and are based on individual student progress.

Formative Loop is an easy-to-use, streamlined way to provide kids with daily math practice. Kids benefit because they get individualized exercises based on progress. Teachers benefit because they get customized daily exercises that are ready to print, and they can view detailed reports that show when kids are struggling. The practice problems focus solely on math skills and practice, so there's little conceptual thinking, and the questions won't excite most students. It would be great to see an option for kids to complete the exercises on a computer, since the only option is paper and pencil.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The exercises are not overly exciting since they're designed as quick, daily practice drills.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Exercises are individualized, and the grading system is an easy way to monitor student progress.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The site is very straightforward, and the tutorial videos do a great job of explaining the site features and how to use them.


Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Michael R. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Baldwin Elementary School
Austin, TX
Pen and paper, but HIGHLY effective. Like personalized progress monitoring for each student.
It isn't flashy, but it is quick and highly effective practice. It takes a lot of paper, but it is worth it in my opinion. It would be challenging to implement in a school that severely limits printing or where teachers don't have easy access to printers. My actual math LESSONS are very hands on, but I like having this quick practice so that students can practice skills to a mastery level. This is the best method I have found for allowing students to practice skills like expanded notation, which some students pick up immediately and other students require repeated attempts with. There are some things that I would like to change (like rearranging certain skills to the order that I would prefer, instead of students receiving them in an order that is set by the program) but the people who run the company are very responsive to criticism and suggestions. The only reason I rated it a 3 for "Supports" is that it doesn't have any supports for different kinds of learners, which for this program might mean the option to print with fewer problems per page or a larger font for dysgraphic students. Simple tweaks like that would make a nice addition in the future, but it's still a great program without them. All in all, it works very well in my classroom and I highly recommend it!
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