ASSISTments for High School

A timely and important topic. By developing ASSISTments for high school math courses, Algebra I and Geometry, we have an opportunity to contribute much-needed research in the areas of online homework for high school instruction and interventions to improve mathematics outcomes.

Our research will advance the scientific knowledge base because, despite a tradition of studies assessing both homework and technology-enhanced learning, no rigorous studies of online support for homework in high school education have yet been conducted. Our results will be meaningful to teachers and educators, because formative assessment is a commonly recommended practice.

Why scale ASSISTments to high school?

Today, advances in technology have created even richer learning environments. Specifically, ASSISTments has been proven to be highly effective in increasing gains in gains in middle school mathematics. Because of ASSISTment's impact on middle school mathematics, we hope to develop a system for high school curricula.

Our focus in this study is on how homework can serve as a compelling point of intervention with technology. Homework is already a well-established practice in high school and is thoroughly supported by textbook materials. Yet, without explicit interventions, homework is commonly underutilized for improving teaching and learning. The research knowledge base for the effectiveness of homework in improving student learning is well established, particularly for mathematics.

The structure of ASSISTments for High School

  1. Immediate feedback: Many studies have found meaningful learning gains for students that are exposed to different types of computer-driven feedback. ASSISTments for high school will apply these findings and give students immediate feedback while they complete their homework.
  2. Mastery learning: In mastery learning, students are not advanced to a subsequent learning objective until they have demonstrated proficiency in the current one. Our platform requires students to master the current objective before moving on to the next.
  3. Spaced learning: Crammed learning has been shown to diminish long-term retention of learning. ASSISTments for high school addresses this concern by spacing out lessons, and avoiding too-long assignments.
  4. Cognitive diagnostic assessment (CDA): As long as teachers know the mistakes that students are making, teachers can take concrete actions to diagnose and respond to those mistakes. When students know that an error they are making is one that many students have made, awareness can help them not only cognitively but also motivationally.
  5. Tutoring systems for homework: Online homework has been found to increase student motivation to finish homework assignments.
  6. Formative assessment: As already discussed, the idea of formative assessment is to help teachers and students make adjustments. If a student is “not getting it,” then both the teacher and the student should make adjustments. How teachers decide to “check” homework may affect how much students learn from the homework process and how much effort they put into completing their assignments. ASSISTments allows teachers to more easily give students feedback.