Common Sense Review
Updated April 2016

TenMarks

Responsive and adaptive math practice for every grade level
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • TenMarks' Teach tool offers nicely designed direct-instruction presentations.
  • Most assignments are composed of standardized-test-style multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank questions.
  • Lessons are easy to find, and teachers can rate their quality or get a quick glance at standards alignment.
  • Amplifiers offer quick remediation for struggling learners.
  • Video lessons give students a chance to learn at their own pace.
Pros
Lots of control and personalization for teachers and students in this adaptive Common Core-aligned math practice program.
Cons
While it may bolster students' engagement in class, the program itself could be more engaging; more collaborative components for kids would be a nice touch.
Bottom Line
Adaptive K–12 math practice that hones in on students' areas for growth with lots of potential to empower.
Galen McQuillen
Common Sense Reviewer
Researcher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

With a clean design, the site is very easy for both students and teachers to navigate and use. Its adaptive nature will help keep kids going, and direct instruction presentations are fairly engaging, as slide shows go.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

This personalized teaching tool addresses students' constantly changing learning needs. The program offers solid direct instruction that's responsive and adaptive and does a fine job of breaking skills down into understandable chunks.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 5

Both teachers and students will find the program's feedback easy to follow and understand. Students, teachers, and parents can readily access reports and data to get detailed information about progress.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

TenMarks suggests that teachers use the tool after first covering the concepts and material in class or after using the Teach tools for instruction -- this way, the TenMarks system can help teachers identify individual students who may need interventions. Once students' areas for growth are identified, teachers can reassign content to target a range of specific skills. The TenMarks system will also automatically adapt to each student's needs as they work.

TenMarks can be used to assign work to students as a group based on grade-level curriculum or to individual students based on specific areas for improvement; it can even be used to auto-assign work based on the results of an included pre-assessment. Teachers can easily track the progress of individual students as well as whole classes, using data to help make decisions about what skills need more coverage in class. The site can be used in a computer lab setting or assigned for at-home practice. TenMarks isn't currently supported on iOS devices, but compatibility may be available in the future.

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What's It Like?

TenMarks allows teachers to create complete classroom curricula or practice- and review-based supplements to help teach and reinforce math concepts from first grade through algebra 2. The program is designed to be an individualized, customizable, and adaptable learning program for a variety of classroom uses. Teachers can assign Common Core-aligned content for a whole class or create differentiated tracks for small groups and individual students. Students work at their own pace to complete the questions, and the program determines each student's level of mastery, reassigning tracks as necessary based on performance. The program's Teach section includes premade lessons complete with presentations, warm-ups, and guided practice. TenMarks Teach also provides access to previous grade level content, concept trajectories, common misconceptions, as well as enrichment opportunities.

When students struggle, support is embedded in the curriculum with instructional videos, adaptive hints, and "amplifiers" (interactive diagnostic games for remediation) to guide them toward mastery. Before students submit official answers, they get a score and a chance to check their work using the support tools. All data is reported to the teacher dashboard and can be used to track individual and whole-class progress. As students complete sets of tracks, they can earn printable certificates and the ability to play some games; teachers and parents can also set up custom, personalized rewards. Students can see their own progress on a home screen, and parents can also get reports. The TenMarks premium version allows teachers more customization, including the ability to assign students tracks from multiple grade levels, as well as expanded use of the assessment tools and "one-click differentiation."

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Is It Good For Learning?

Overall, teachers will love the flexibility TenMarks provides, both for them and their students. The track system allows for differentiation as students work at their own pace, and the videos are especially helpful for those working independently. The lessons are clear, and questions are presented in a variety of styles, such as multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and choose-all-that-apply. Many problems also include detailed diagrams and charts to help illustrate concepts for students. TenMarks allows for a high level of personalization and can provide students practice, remediation, or extension, as directed by a teacher.

With frequent, sustained use, TenMarks has the potential to help students develop better conceptual skills in some areas. However, this potential may not be as evident with only occasional or sporadic use. TenMarks toes the line of promoting standardized-test-friendly thinking and problem-solving, rather than more general abstract reasoning and practical skill building. Further, the instruction is fully direct, with few inquiry learning features, which may not suit more adventurous teachers or unmotivated students. 

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