WPI's RTTT IIS
WPI will Bid to be the Provider for Race to the Top Instructional Improvement Systems in multiple states.
WPI's Bid will be unique by being an OPEN and non-proprietary system
I am excited to announce that WPI will be submitting a bid to provide the Instructional Improvement System as part of Race to the Top in several different states (the bids for the states are here: MA, OH and MD ). All three states have out requests asking for a system that will allow districts to select questions from a library, or to write their own, and to get reports. ASSISTments effectively delivers these features. (To learn more visit the links on the left side of this wiki).
I look forward to providing this service at the state level to help improve education for a small fraction of the costs of what I anticipate the profit-seeking vendors will do. Moreover, the other vendors will charge districts to pick up the tab and I plan to make it free after the Race to the Top is over as I currently do with ASSISTments.
The big textbook publishers are impediments to innovation that is so sorely needed in K-12. An open IIS that allows schools to choose what content to buy (some content like ASSISTments will be free) will drive down prices and lower the costs of entry to innovators.
I also plan to make WPI’s bid a bid the OPEN non-proprietary bid. By that I mean that other commercial systems should also be available inside the IIS, so that principals can see a dashboard of student learning that combines data from multiple different vendors. If Pearson wins, principals will have dashboards that will allow them buy and see data from any system as long as it’s sold by Pearson. I don’t think ASSISTments is “the be all and end all” of education content. We want to allow others systems to compete to provide schools the best systems we can get.
Advantages for Teachers
Teachers who are already using ASSISTments can continue to use what they know and love. Furthermore, with the additional funding, I plan to update ASSISTments incorporating new and exciting features. Formative assessment and access to rich content will be even easier.
Advantages for Administrators
If WPI gets the contract for a state's IIS, I plan to make ASSISTments more useful by connecting to school information systems as well as other state systems to make the use of ASSISTments a fluid process. All students and teachers in the state will log into ASSISTments using their state assigned credentials. This will merge data from ASSISTments with other academic data.
What educational professionals are saying about ASSISTments
To Whom it may concern:
I am writing this letter of support for Dr. Neil Heffernan and his work with his instructional improvement system, ASSISTments.org. I have been a middle school math teacher for 14 years and have been using ASSISTments.org since Spring of 2009. Integrating Assistments into my lessons has changed the way I teach and the way my students learn.
The biggest change for me is how I use my time. As any teacher knows, it is difficult to constantly track the learning progress of large groups of students on a daily basis. The Assistments tool has provided me with data that keeps track of each student and their learning goals. This has resulted in a better use of my time in more valuable ways for my students. I have more time to plan, analyze and respond to students’ learning needs. An example of this is my use of Assistments for homework. My class now begins with an analysis of common wrong answers and homework discussion. When class begins, I have already analyzed homework reports, adjusted my lesson for the day and noted the challenges and problems for class review. All of this response to formative assessment is the result of the homework data produced real time by Assistments.
Students in my classes have evolved into analytical thinkers and responsible learners. I teach my students how to interpret and infer from their own Assistments data reports and the class group reports. These students are what I call “informed learners.” They come to class with corrected homework and questions as a result of the answer correctness feedback I build into the Assistments homework sets. It is common practice amongst my students to email me at night with homework questions and/or post a homework question to our private class blog soliciting homework help from fellow students. It is an impressive thing to experience sixth graders discussing math homework as a response to the data feedback they receive from Assistments. Without this tool, my students would not be reflective learners until they reviewed homework in class. Besides learning mathematics concepts, my students are learning to be 21st century thinkers.
I believe the use of this tool can bring about great change in students and teachers across America. The fact that it is grant funded and free to all is another important fact to consider with the limited budgets of American schools.
Barbara Delaney Sixth Grade Mathematics Teacher Bellingham Memorial Middle School
WPI-IIA-Use Stories Read more on what Educational Professionals are saying about ASSISTments