in North Carolina

What Is ASSISTments?

ASSISTments is a free, research-based, online platform that teachers use to assign and review homework. It does not replace a teacher’s curriculum – instead, researchers integrate each teacher’s desired content into the system, regardless of LMS or textbook. ASSISTments is used nationally by over 1,000 teachers and 50,000 students. ASSISTments provides:

  • Students with immediate feedback and the ability to try again before class the next day.
  • Teachers with daily diagnostic reports that show them which students struggled and which problems had the most wrong answers. They can use this information the following day to re-teach and to individualize student assignments.
  • Optional skill builders to provide additional practice for students’ mathematics skills, aligned to students’ specific needs and the Common Core Standards.
  • The ability to assign homework through a learning management system like Canvas or Google Classroom.
  • In past research ASSISTments has been shown to be effective when used for homework.

What Is the North Carolina Study?

The results in Maine are sound, and yet many parents, teachers, and students wonder if Maine schools might be different from those in North Carolina. Will ASSISTments have the same effect in a different state? Consequently, we are conducting a replication study in a nationally representative sample of 80 NC schools. The goal of this rigorous study is to understand the impact of using ASSISTments for 7th-grade math homework on student achievement and teacher practice. To conduct this study, the research team obtained funds from the US Department of Education and these funds will bring over one million dollars into the state of North Carolina – for example, to pay for teacher professional development. As a condition of obtaining the funding, the researcher team needs to rigorously measure the impact of ASSISTments, and the best way to do this is to randomize participating schools into two groups:

Immediate Use Group

    • Teachers will be trained in person to use ASSISTments in 2019-20 & Summer 2020
    • Teachers will assign HW with ASSISTments ~3 nights/week 2020-21
    • Teachers will have free access to ASSISTments after Summer 2021

Delayed Use Group

    • Teachers will assign HW without ASSISTments ~3 nights/week 2020-21
    • Teachers will be trained to use ASSISTments during Summer 2021
    • Teachers will have free access to ASSISTments after Summer 2021

Why Participate in the Study?

ASSISTments is a free platform that will always be free. Prior research in Maine has demonstrated its effectiveness and feedback from users confirm that the tool is helpful to both teachers and students. Researchers will make the integration of ASSISTments as easy and seamless as possible by uploading all of the teachers’ desired content into the system and providing ongoing support. Benefits of participants include:

Teacher benefits

    • High quality professional development
    • Automatic grading and daily diagnostic reports that save time and improve instructional focus
    • Collaborative learning community

Student benefits

    • Immediate feedback as they work
    • Automated support through hints and examples
    • Differentiated instruction options

Here is what North Carolina teachers currently in the study had to say about ASSISTments

Ivory Cutri

Pine Lake Preparatory Mooresville, NC

“ For me, the amount of time saved by using the platform has been a big change. We only have 45-minute periods so our classes are pretty short. Figuring out how to effectively and efficiently use in-class homework review time has always been a struggle. The students and I had a general understanding that homework had value, but I couldn’t take 20 minutes out of class to go over entire homework assignments. We just didn’t have time for it. I would spot check student work, a very time-consuming process in and of itself, and would be left with only a surface-level, anecdotal understanding of student progress. With ASSISTments, in the morning before class started, I could look at the item report for the last homework assignment and quickly determine which students needed help and which questions needed classwide review.”

Katie McCracy

Central Middle School Dobson, NC

[ASSISTments] has had a positive impact on student progress because it has provided me with the data I need to appropriately intervene with students who need the most help. I really got into PLACEments tests and Skillbuilders, using these to formatively assess taught skills as well as to review and remediate in preparation for the EOG test.”

Josh McMillen

Central Middle School Dobson, NC

ASSISTments increased my willingness to engage with high-quality textbook material, Big Ideas Learning, in planning for student activities. Big Ideas includes many awesome interactive activities, but I hadn’t used them in class because students didn’t have access to their own textbooks. ASSISTments allowed me to bring these practice problems to students and more holistically implement the parts of this curriculum that work best for my students. Incorporating this technology use also helped expand my horizons on using other tech tools in class including Google Surveys and Google Classroom.”

Here is what teachers who participated in the Maine study had to say about ASSISTments

Shelley Cyr

7th-Grade Math Teacher, Hermon Middle School, Hermon, ME

Vicki Davis

7th- and 8th-Grade Teacher, Blue Hill Consolidated School, Blue Hills, ME

“Students benefit by knowing when they are doing a problem wrong allowing them to fix their approach before moving on to the next problem and continuing to do the work wrong. My students love ASSISTments.”

Chantelle Holmes

7th-Grade Math Teacher, William Cohen Middle School, Bangor, ME

"With ASSISTments, hands were going up the whole time because they immediately knew if it was wrong and would ask for help if they couldn't figure it out. MUCH better than waiting until the next day to find out you had it wrong. It helps spot those 'faulty thinking' and incorrect methods before they have done it on the entire page."

Cathy Ladd

7th-Grade Math Teacher, Vassalboro Community School, Vassalboro, ME

"I like the fact that students get immediate feedback, but more importantly I get analyzed feedback about the students. I can address needs as they arise. Looking at the results before class leads my class review."

Mary Pelletier

7th-Grade Math Teacher, Valley Rivers Middle School, Fort Kent, ME

"The students and I are loving ASSISTments. Many students are math-phobic and need to be reassured that they are on the right track. ASSISTments lets them know immediately if they are correct. This is the feature that most students enjoy. Also, if you look at the math practices in the Common Core, the essay critique is a great way to work on this skill. We discuss answers and the point value of each. Then, students are able to understand how the scoring process works. They are able to explain why they gave a certain score. They are writing using mathematics language!"

Kathy Cole

7th-Grade Math Teacher, Vassalboro Community School, Vassalboro, ME

"In regards to the support from the monthly webinars, I wanted to say how very useful I am finding the webinars. I love that you record them and we are able to go back and re-check what you said, or pause the webinar and follow along doing the same actions in our class as you are demonstrating."

Megan Allen

7th-Grade Math Teacher, Vassalboro Community School, Vassalboro, ME

"I started exploring the 'essay' section of ASSISTments today and was really excited. They fit exactly what we need our kids to be working on with constructed response questions and explaining their work."

For the current NC study, the project is funded by the Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) of U.S. Department of Education under Grant Number R305A170137.