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 our middle school and high school math and science courses. This article describes what the new tool does, how it works, and when it will be added to our courses. Check out the press release on this cool new feature!

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.


Can the formative assessments be mapped to my curriculum? Yes! This is part of our standard mapping & alignment service.

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 start-of-unit and/or 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.

Math grades 6-8 Now!
NGSS Science grades 6-8 Now!
All Multilingual High School courses Now!
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.

  • 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


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:

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.