Evaluation of ASSISTments
SRI International, in collaboration with North Carolina State University’s Friday Institute and WPI, is conducting a full-year, randomized controlled experiment, randomly assigning 50-60 middle schools to either the ASSISTments condition or a business-as-usual control condition. ASSISTments is an online tutoring system that provides coached practice problem-solving support for students and cognitive diagnostic reports to teachers. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of the use of ASSISTments to support students’ mathematics homework completion, differentiated instruction, and ultimately students’ understanding of mathematics. The study will leverage individual students’ access to computers to implement the ASSISTments homework support program.
The research team will also deliver intensive professional learning to provide support for teachers on how to use the reports from the ASSISTments system as a formative assessment tool that can inform both changes in classroom routines and the use of differentiated instruction based on group- and individual-level student data.
The NC ASSISTments Replication Study began in the 2017-18 school year and aimed to replicate the findings from a prior study conducted in Maine. That study found that the students of 7th-grade mathematics teachers who used ASSISTments for homework scored significantly higher on the Terra Nova mathematics exam than the students of teachers who did not use ASSISTments. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic forced North Carolina’s schools to move to all-remote instruction in March 2020 and the End-of-Grade exams were canceled, which made the replication study impossible to complete. This forced a change in the ASSISTments study and a re-evaluation of what researchers could learn about the use of ASSISTments in schools in North Carolina. Using surveys and interviews, researchers at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation conducted a case study of teachers’ use of ASSISTments in in-person instruction and in remote instruction, both during the NC ASSISTments Replication Study and outside of the study.
Sara Tova Pilzer Weiss
Dr Allison Cantor Black-Maier