As a former teacher, I am all too familiar with the phrase, “If only we had more time!” I am a huge proponent of data-driven instruction, but am also well aware that it can be quite time consuming to analyze student assessment results, and to plan interventions for individual students. While I assessed my students frequently to gauge their performance on the standards I was teaching, I unfortunately didn’t always have time to use those assessment results effectively. I knew which students were struggling, and I knew what topics they were struggling with. Simply knowing this information, however, wasn’t always enough to help them improve. The next challenge then became finding supplemental resources and time in the day to sit down with those students one-on-one to reteach a topic.
A few months ago, I discovered a mobile/web-based assessment tool called Nutmeg Education, and immediately found myself wishing I had been able to use it with my students. With Nutmeg, educators have the ability to build Common Core aligned assessments from an extensive bank of math questions categorized by grade level and standard (ELA questions coming soon). Teachers can also create their own questions in a variety of formats. What really sets Nutmeg apart from many other mobile and web-based assessment tools, however, is that it provides solutions to help improve student performance.
When students complete an assessment and view their results, they are directed to top-rated instructional resources to help them improve on the specific topics they struggled with on the assessment. If my student Sarah missed the question on the geometry quiz about finding the area of a triangle, for example, she might be directed to a Khan Academy tutorial or a game on that exact topic. She could then watch that tutorial or play the practice game on her own time, even from a device at home. With Nutmeg’s new Self-Guided Practice Center, Sarah also has the option to hit the “practice” button for the standard she is struggling with, so that she can try as many practice questions as she’d like, until she masters the standard. The Nutmeg team says, “Raising student achievement has always been a crucial component of Nutmeg’s mission. Now students can take the initiative in improving their performance and see the immediate results of their efforts.”
If you are interested in learning how to start creating and assigning assessments to students, please check out our previous post on Nutmeg. Since then, there have been several enhancements and updates we think you’ll love!
1. The newest version of the free Nutmeg app is available for download.
Students can go to the Apple App store or the Google Play Store to download the free Nutmeg for Education app. This means that they can sign into their Nutmeg account on iPhones, iPads, Android phones or Android tablets, which makes Nutmeg a great tool for classrooms with a 1:1 or BYOD setup. If your students do not have access to Apple or Android devices, they can also log onto NutmegEducation.com on any device with a web browser, whether it is from a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or a desktop computer in your school’s computer lab!
2. With the new Self-Guided Practice Center, students can take charge of their learning.
With this added feature, students are able to:
- View a summary of their performance on the learning standards that their teacher has tested across all assessments.
- Hit the ‘practice’ button to attempt as many practice questions as they’d like for a particular standard.
- View top-rated instructional resources like a video or game to help them improve on each standard.
- See Overall Stats, such as how many questions they’ve answered correctly and how much time they’ve spent practicing questions and using the recommended instructional resources. The goal is for students to see a clear connection between the time they spend working on a skill and actual improvement.
3. New and improved reports are available in the Reports & Analytics section (accessed through the Teacher Account).
- Student Report: With the Student Report, you now have the ability to see how an individual student is performing on every Common Core standard, and how their performance compares with the class as a whole. This allows you to know which standards individual students need help with, and to plan interventions accordingly.
- Standard Report: Need to know which standards you need to review or reteach with your whole class before that upcoming state test? Check out the Standard Report, which will allow you to see how your class as a whole is performing. You are also able to compare your class’ performance on a standard before and after they completed the assigned interventions, allowing you to track your students growth and gauge the effectiveness of the interventions.
- Standards Coverage Report: Not sure if you’ve covered everything? Run the Standards Coverage report to determine gaps in standards coverage and to view your class’ average score on those standards that you have already assessed.
4. You are now able to add free response questions to assessments.
- You are no longer limited to true/false, multiple choice, and fill in the blank questions on assessments. Add a short-response question or ask students to explain their steps to solving a math problem! You can then grade student answers from your Assigned Assessment listing.
You shouldn’t be the one doing all the work in your classroom. Give Nutmeg a try and let students take responsibility for their learning. Empower them to take the initiative to improve their performance, and you’ll probably be surprised by how much they want to prove that they are practicing and improving!