The Language of Content

Articles from the Speak Agent team that provide classroom resources, implementation strategies, research-based perspectives, and updates regarding our Content+LanguageSM platform.

Speak Agent Launches Formative Assessment Tool


November 15, 2022 | Ben Grimley |


Level Up is a new formative assessment tool attached to each Speak Agent lesson in select middle school and soon high school courses. This article describes what the new tool does, how it works, and when it will be added to our courses.

Goals and Benefits

Level Up helps teachers to evaluate whether students are acquiring content knowledge as they gain academic language unit by unit. Students self-check their content knowledge at the end of each Speak Agent lesson. This helps both students and teachers uncover knowledge gaps or misconceptions so as to continuously inform instruction throughout the year.

FAQ

Can the formative assessments be mapped to my curriculum? Yes!

What will students learn from this new tool? As students practice retrieving the information they’ve been taught during the unit, they will reconsolidate and strengthen long-term memory. This enables more enduring retention of learning.

What data does it collect? Level Up collects student answers for end-of-unit multiple choice questions, including both first and second attempts.

Where do teachers find the data? The data are integrated into all student lesson reports, class reports, and student digital portfolios.

Which courses will have this new feature and when? See the table below.

COURSE TIMELINE
Math grades 6-8 Now!
All Multilingual High School courses November 28, 2022
NGSS Science grades 6-8 February 1, 2023
Other courses To be announced

 

How It Works

level-up_promo_image_118x118Students launch Level Up from a Speak Agent lesson. They may narrate questions and answer choices at any of 5 speeds, magnify text to any of 7 sizes, or translate text into any of 135 languages.

HubSpot Video

  • Each Level Up uses contextual hints to guide students toward a right answer if they get it wrong on the first try.
  • Students may access Word Gallery (a visual learner's dictionary) directly from Level Up, as a support. Each question is carefully written so that reading the Word Gallery will not give the answer away.
  • There are typically between 5 and 10 questions per formative assessment that align with your curriculum.
  • Students may retake the formative assessment as many times as they wish, but teachers will always see the results of each attempt and which answers were correct on the first try.

Seeing the Results

multiple-tries

Teachers can see the Level Up scores in both the student and class lesson reports, as you can for other scored activities. Students may take the formative assessment multiple times, but you will always see the original 1st try in the reports. 

This activity is saved to the student's portfolio, so you can see the specific answers each student gave:

Level-Up-portfolio-1st-try
Later this school year, we will add a new report that shows which wrong answers are most prevalent in each class section. This will pinpoint common misconceptions and facilitate whole class reteaching, if needed.

Why Did You Name it "Level Up?"

This tool is called Level Up because at the end of a videogame level, players move up to a higher level of challenge. So it is with Speak Agent! Once learners master the content of a lesson, they can move up to the next lesson! The idea of "leveling up" puts the emphasis on mastery.

Ben Grimley

Written by Ben Grimley

Ben is CEO and Co-Founder of Speak Agent, Inc. An ESL teacher who became a leading educational app creator, Ben led the launch of PBS KIDS Mobile, where his apps resulted in significant gains in language acquisition for millions of young learners. He co-created Speak Agent to address the achievement gap for historically marginalized learners, pioneering a unique Content+Language integration approach based on current Learning Sciences research. Ben has served as Principal Investigator for impact studies sponsored by IES, NSF, and NIH.