How I Use It
Front Row Adaptive Math has the potential to be a handy tool to assess and reinforce math standards if used with the right students. Requiring students to spend regular time on Front Row would not only give them practice, but also generate some valuable data at the same time. For many students younger than third grade, independently reading and comprehending the questions may prove insurmountable. However, with the touch of a button, the question is read aloud, eliminating some of the challenge (of course, entering answers takes some getting used to as well). The ability to create multiple individual student profiles on the same device is a plus for classrooms without a 1:1 or BYOD program. I imagine using Front Row with my kindergarten students as a guided, whole group activity to begin familiarizing them with assessments they'll take in third grade. This approach also offers the opportunity to model problem solving strategies for students.
Despite the need for some minor improvements, Front Row has some strong points to be sure. Chief among them is that there are multiple questions for every math standard, grades K-8, all linked to progress tracking and virtual report cards. Also, worksheets are available for download based on students' individual needs. Another benefit is that questions are visually reminiscent of the Smarter Balance test, which can help familiarize students with the test format. A disadvantage is the user interface, which can be clunky and may not be intuitive to all students (beware the 'x' in the upper corner, or you may need to start your pre-test over from the beginning!). The teacher side of things is thorough, including customizable tables comparing students and/or standards, but could also use some cleaning up to improve the user experience. Scrolling though lists of standards in order to compare student performance would be greatly improved with a search or preset function, and help this app move a little closer to the front of the class.