Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2018

Kandoolu

Promising math and ELA assessment tool limited by content, glitches

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Math

Skills
N/A
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K–8
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Pros: Standards-aligned questions and pre-created quizzes allow teachers to assign specific content to students with ease.

Cons: There are some dead ends, and teachers may find the library of questions for certain standards too limited to meet their needs.

Bottom Line: With some additional development, this could be a go-to tool for teachers looking to differentiate by standard.

When using Kandoolu as an assessment tool, teachers can choose to use it to support a formative model or summative model. Although students will be graded on every quiz they take, teachers can decide to provide additional resources and allow students to retest or take the grade as-is. Teachers can think of Kandoolu as an amped-up progress monitoring tool, allowing them to provide differentiated instruction to students as they engage in skill practice. Use Kandoolu to encourage students to process how they learn and teach important test-taking skills without overwhelming them with paper-and-pencil tests. 

Teachers can -- and should -- provide instruction to students individually or in small groups, showing them how and when to use the markup features to enhance their comprehension of reading passages, word problems, and questions. Students grouped by standard can work collaboratively to help one another achieve mastery, and parents can support students at home with targeted skill practice. The developer states that eventually students will be able to practice on their own, but for now, students will have to rely on teacher-curated content to meet their learning needs. 

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Kandoolu, a website based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), enables teachers to assign questions, quizzes, and resources to individual students, groups, or whole classes. Students access their teacher's page via join codes or an email login -- with the option to print student login cards and parent letters to simplify the process. Teachers curate content by selecting from questions, pre-created quizzes, and resources that meet desired criteria in reading, grammar, or math, narrowing it down by subject area, grade level, and standard. Students complete questions as assigned and can view scores and missed questions upon submission. The ability to assign content to specific students makes it easier for teachers to differentiate, but they'll have to create classes and groups in advance. Students can also choose interests and preferred learning styles to help teachers assign content. Reports available by standard for groups or whole classes make it easy for teachers to see how students are progressing on a particular standard. 

There are some problems with navigation. For instance, students may not be able to access quizzes that teachers have assigned because they don't show up right away, or students will be offered two choices, but clicking either one leads nowhere.

Teachers will be able to provide standards-based quizzes using Kandoolu, but there are limitations and potential pitfalls. Because so many skills cannot be assessed by objective questions alone, teachers will want to use tools like Kandoolu as a supplement to -- rather than a driver of -- instruction. As with any tool that relies on multiple-choice questions, it's hard to know whether a true understanding of concepts is taking place or if students are just guessing. Teachers will need to really dig into the data in order to get a true picture of student progress, and this is time-consuming no matter which tool teachers use. The surface knowledge that tools like Kandoolu assess is realistic in light of the current results-driven educational climate, but it's debatable whether such tools impact long-term learning. As such, teachers will want to take advantage of the option to assign additional relevant resources that will help students delve more deeply into concepts. 

The ability to assign questions by standard to individuals, groups, or whole classes can be a very useful way to promote and predict student mastery of concepts on quarterly or yearly summative assessments. Since teachers can easily assign quizzes without reading the questions, they should take care to not assign them indiscriminately and risk overloading students with developmentally inappropriate or time-consuming assignments.

Overall Rating

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

The ability to interact with the questions will increase student engagement, but students may lose interest in the quizzes and rush through content.

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

When used thoughtfully and in conjunction with solid teaching practices, the Common Core-aligned questions and resources can help students to achieve standards mastery.

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

Video tutorials, FAQs, webinars, and more will help guide users up front, but there are glitches that may frustrate them.


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

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