A Progressive Approach to

Data-Driven Instruction

Specific

Organized

Flexible

  • Capture more assessment opportunities
  • Easily align assessments with K-12 Common Core Standards
  • Based on teachers' professional judgment
  • Browse all types of assessments in one place
  • Unlimited filtering capabilities
  • Group related assessment data over time
  • Increase students' involvement in monitoring their own progress
  • Designed and developed by a New York City public school teacher
"They should know this, because I already taught it,"
... said no effective teacher, ever.

Our Definition of Assessment

an evaluation of a student's skill or understanding as it pertains to a specific learning expectation

Grades vs. Assessments

Assessing and grading are both valuable, but we often tend to spend a lot more time grading than assessing. Perhaps this is because grading is mandatory and time-sensitive. It could also be due to the fact that assessment is structurally complicated and, as a task, is never really complete. For some teachers, it could be an issue of not actually understanding the difference between the two.

Grading is usually a form of summative assessment. A grade is determined at a time when a student has - theoretically - already learned something. It is a conclusion, intended to summarize the process of learning as a single result. Grades are final and permanent, averaged together and building toward a single rating that represents all of the learning that has taken place over an extended period of time.

When grades earned are less than ideal, we look for probable causes, such as "lack of effort", and we instruct students to "study harder" or "pay more attention in class". Very often, however, a lack of formative assessment is a much greater contributing factor. Think about how many times you've given a student a test, even though you already knew he was not prepared to take that test. Even worse, consider how many times you actually didn't know he was unprepared to take the test. If you don't assess throughout the learning process, you're wasting everyone's time.

The Challenge of Formative Assessment

Assessment data is highly valuable and constantly available. However, most assessment data is lost before being captured and is rarely organized in a perpetually useful way. Many opportunities to collect assessment data are wasted because the teacher simply deems the process uneconomical. Of course, this is often a valid judgment when prioritizing uses of our time, a very limited resource.

Still, we aim higher. The most ambitious teachers among us are always looking for clever ways to organize assessments usefully, perhaps utilizing tools such as charts, graphs, clipboards, strategic groupings, or electronic spreadsheets. There is certainly value to be found in any such technique, but it can quickly become frustrating when considering the fact that teachers not only have to take on the role of "data analyst" but also "data collector" and "data organizer". This type of work should be done by a teacher's assistant, and in the 21st century, we think that teacher's assistant should be a web-based application.

Assessment Grading
Specific Holistic
Dynamic Permanent
Trends over time Cumulative averages
Process of learning End of learning
Understanding Performance
Difficult to organize Easy to organize

Welcome to How's My Learning?!

How's My Learning?! is a brand new web-based application that simplifies the process of collecting and organizing assessment data, so you can spend more time analyzing trends and accelerating the learning process by understanding the specific needs of your students.

Capturing Assessments

An "assessment" in the database is as simple as a score and some (optional) comments, but what makes an assessment useful is its connections. When you input an assessment, you select an Assessment Type, Subject, Branch, and a specific Topic and/or Common Core Standard, as well as several other optional associations. Each association becomes another level of filtering that will be useful while retrieving assessments later.

The Assessment Input screen is basic enough to record one assessment for a single student, yet flexible enough to record several different assessments for multiple students simultaneously. Students can easily be filtered by their grade levels, courses, sections, and custom groups. In addition, the Branches, Topics, and Common Core Standards work together intelligently to help you quickly find the Topic or Standard you need.

Browsing Assessments

You choose how you want your assessments to be organized, and How's My Learning?! does it for you. For example, you might want to analyze an individual student's understanding of various topics, or you may prefer to look at how several students are performing on a single topic. Then, you can take advantage of the extensive filtering capabilities to fine tune your results and draw meaningful conclusions.

How's My Learning?! is able to group related assessments over time, so there's never a need to manually compile assessment data from multiple locations. They're all in one place, and they're automatically organized in ways that are useful to you.

Student Involvement

Progress is accelerated when students are aware of their own strenghts and weaknesses. Every student has an account with the ability to log in to the site from anywhere. Students can only see their own assessments, and they have the same browsing and filtering capabilities that teachers do.

Students also have the ability to input self-assessments for topics and standards that you assign to them. Self-assessments are then included right alongside teacher assessments when browsing.

Future Developments

How's My Learning?! is finally a functional product, but it is by no means complete. Planned improvements include parent/guardian access, import/export capabilities, saveable custom reports, more varied ways of viewing assessments over time, uploading and attaching relevant documents, an internal messaging system, e-mail alerts, and much more. Math is the first subject supported, but full support for English, Science, and Social Studies will also be added soon.

Screenshots

Input One Assessment

Input Multiple Assessments

Browse Assessments (Student > Branch > Standard)

Browse Assessments (Topic > Student)

Browse Assessments (Using Filters)

Browse Assessments (Collapsing Levels)

Assign Self Assessments

Self-Assess (Student View)

Create/Manage Custom Groups

Filter with Custom Groups

Get How's My Learning?! for your school!

The beta version of How's My Learning?! is active and available for use in schools on a yearly subscription basis. The beta phase is a great time to start using How's My Learning?! and take advantage of our Early Bird Incentives program.

Early Bird Incentives

Get in early and qualify for these benefits!

  • 50 percent off the anticipated full release price throughout the beta phase.
  • Lock in a 20 percent discount FOREVER, after the beta phase ends.
  • Unlimited free e-mail support for all staff members.
  • Your feedback will directly influence the development of new features.

The longer you wait, the more assessment data goes un-captured!

Beta Release (Early Bird)

  Standard
Version
Deluxe
Version
Single
Subject
$1.25
per student
not yet
available
Multi
Subject
not yet
available
not yet
available
One-Time Initial Setup Fee: $75

Full Release (Early Bird)

  Standard
Version
Deluxe
Version
Single
Subject
$2.00
per student
$2.56
per student
Multi
Subject
$2.56
per student
$2.88
per student
One-Time Initial Setup Fee: N/A

Full Release (No Discount)

  Standard
Version
Deluxe
Version
Single
Subject
$2.50
per student
$3.20
per student
Multi
Subject
$3.20
per student
$3.60
per student
One-Time Initial Setup Fee: $150

Prices are subject to change from year to year.

E-mail info@howsmylearning.com to find out more!

Frequently Asked Questions

Entering Assessments

What is an assessment?
An assessment is a specific evaluation of a student's skill or understanding that can be used in conjunction with other related assessments to draw meaningful conclusions about learning progress.
Where do assessments come from?
Whenever and however a student expresses his/her level of skill or understanding of a topic, there is an opportunity to record that information. A teacher may observe a student's performance directly or by evaluating responses to some performance task. A student may also create a self-assessment.
What assessment types are used in HML?
Observation, Test, Quiz, Classwork, Lab, Essay, Project, Exit Slip, Homework, and Self-Assessment
Should I be utilizing all of the assessment types?
Probably not. A teacher should likely focus on the assessment types that are deemed most useful to the teacher, the department, and the school.
How do I enter an assessment(s)?
First, provide all appropriate details about the assessment(s) you are about to enter. Many of the fields attempt to use appropriate defaults or narrow down available options to save you time. Next, decide which students you plan to assess, filtering by course, section, and/or custom groups. Finally, enter a score and optional comments for each student. Save regularly!
Can I enter multiple assessments at once?
Yes! Just click "Add Another Assessment" and provide the appropriate details. Each student you plan to assess will then have multiple input fields that match the assessment details you've provided.
How do I correct a mistake after I've already saved an assessment?
If you haven't yet left the Input Assessments page, and you haven't changed the assessment details, you can modify the score and comments immediately. Otherwise, you can edit or delete an assessment while browsing assessments later. Of course, only the teacher who created an assessment has permission to edit it.
What is the minimum amount of information required to enter an assessment?
Assessment Date, Assessment Type, Subject, Branch, Topic or Common Core Standard, and Score

Topics and Common Core Standards

Do I have to enter both a Topic and a Common Core Standard for every assessment?
It is not mandatory to include both a Topic and a Standard. Some users may even elect to use one or the other exclusively. However, getting into the habit of including both will give you more options when organizing and analyzing assessments later.
I haven't memorized the Common Core Standards. How can I find the one I'm looking for quickly?
As soon as you choose a Topic, the options available in the Common Core Standards field will be narrowed down to only those associated with the Topic you've chosen. For reference, the complete details of each Standard are available with one click. You can also set a grade range to avoid showing any Standards that would be inappropriate for the grade(s) you teach.
I'm not sure which HML Topic I'm looking for. How can I find appropriate Topics quickly?
If you start by choosing a Common Core Standard, the options available in the Topics field will be narrowed down to only those associated with the Standard you've chosen.
Why are the Topics so general? How are they related to Common Core Standards?
HML Topics are designed to not only group related Common Core Standards but also group related assessments from year to year, which grade-specific Standards can't do. The majority of HML Topics span several years, and because of this, students' progress in specific areas can be monitored over long periods of time. Current-year performance can be anticipated ahead of time, but without the damaging effects of traditional "tracking" methods, so that effective instructional strategies can be designed intelligently.

Scoring

Why do different assessment types use the same scoring system?
A central goal of HML is to be able to compare related assessments of different types in the same place. For example, a teacher might want to track a student's ability to solve equations in front of the class on Monday, on an in-class assignment on Thursday, and then on a quiz the following week. Therefore, a consistent scoring system must be used. It is the responsibility of a school administrator(s) to select one of the available HML scoring systems.
What scoring systems are available?
Your school's scoring system can be based on 2 points, 3 points, 4 points, 5 points, 6 points, or 10 points. Including a score of zero is optional. Every possible score has a customizable description.
What happens if we change our scoring system after we've already entered assessments?
Each assessment includes not only the score but also which scoring system was used at the time, so that no data is lost. Color-coded assessments are shaded according to an appropriate gradient, so that assessments from different scoring systems can still be interpreted meaningfully. We suggest that you don't change your scoring system very often.
I grade my tests and quizzes out of 100. How should I enter this data in HML?
If you've given a quiz that represents exactly one Topic and/or Common Core Standard, it would make sense to choose an appropriate mapping scheme for that quiz. For example, you might assign any grade over 90% a score of 4/4, a grade of 80% through 89% a 3/4, and so on. On the other hand, if you've given a test that encompasses a variety of Topics and Standards, one method might be to choose the most important assessments that you'd like to take from that test (Ideally, this would be done while designing the test), identify groups of questions that fit these assessments, and interpret a student's performance on each group of questions, using your professional judgment, into the most accurate single score for entry into the database. It is probably not wise to enter every single question as its own assessment.
Where does a teacher's professional judgment come into play?
Everywhere! As opposed to other methods of assessing that treat performance as concrete and absolute, HML is based on the idea that teachers know best. We're not typically interested in "right answer vs. wrong answer", and a single multiple-choice response cannot accurately represent a student's proficiency level. Every assessment that is entered into the HML database is based on the teacher's analysis of a student's work. Because of this, we're able to maximize the likelihood of each single piece of data having real meaning.
I already use grades to monitor my students' progress. How is this any different?
Is that really what you do? Teachers typically use grades to see if their students have learned a sufficient percentage of everything that they were supposed to have learned by the end of a pre-determined window of time. Instead, HML is based on formative assessment - monitoring progress in specific skills and understandings throughout the learning process, so that deficiencies can be addressed before it's too late and advanced students can be challenged appropriately.

Grouping Students

I want to monitor a specific group of students on a regular basis. Is there an easy way to do this?
Yes! Create a custom group, using Create New Group in the Students menu. Give this group a meaningful name, and drag the students you want into that group. You will then be able to use this group to filter students in all other HML tasks.
Can custom groups be shared with other teachers?
Yes. Teachers you share with will be able to use your shared groups, but they will not be able to edit them. You also have the option to transfer ownership of a group you've created, so that a different teacher will be given rights to edit that group.
Can school administrators see my custom groups?
Only if you share with them.

Browsing Assessments

How do I browse assessments?
The first step is to choose a Subject and decide how you would like the assessments to be organized. HML is extremely flexible in this regard. For example, you may wish to browse by student, looking at a variety of Topics for each student. You may also wish to browse by Common Core Standard, in order to compare all students from one class. The best way to understand organization of assessments is to play around with the options until you find what works best for you. After assessments are displayed, you have endless filtering options to help you narrow down the results and find the information that you want. There are several ways to adjust the way assessments are displayed, such as temporarily hiding and showing groups of assessments and adjusting how they are presented visually.
What filtering options do I have while browsing assessments?
You can filter assessments according to a Date Range, Branch, Topic or Standard, Assessment Type, Depth of Knowledge, Marking Period, and/or Evaulating Teacher. You can also filter the students you see, according to Grade, Course/Section, Student Group, and/or Last Initial.
I only want to browse assessments for a single student. What's the fastest way to do this?
There is a shortcut that lets you browse a single student's assessments without having to filter down to that student. Just click "Assessments" on the My Students page next to that student's name.

Student Involvement

How can HML help increase student involvement in the learning process?
If you ask a student about his/her performance in a subject, you're likely to get a response based on grades, effort, or how much he/she enjoys the class. HML helps paint a clear picture for students about their strengths and weaknesses in specific areas of learning. It encourages students to think deeper, in terms of their skills and understanding of concepts. Students can log in to HML from anywhere to browse assessments and monitor their own progress. They can also enter self-assessments, which are visible right alongside teachers' assessments when browsing.
How are self-assessments entered?
In order for a student to enter a self-assessment, a teacher must create a self-assessment assignment. Essentially, the teacher will set up the details of an assessment, and the student is responsible for giving him/herself a score and comments. The teacher can use the notes field to give any important directions to the student, such as referring to a recently assigned task. Alternately, a teacher can manually enter a student's self-assessment.
Am I able to see which students have completed the self-assessments I've assigned?
Yes.
Can a student enter multiple self-assessments for one assignment?
Yes, until you delete the assignment or remove that student from the assignment.

Control

What needs to be set up by an administrator before HML can be used by teachers and students?
A school administrator (or a teacher chosen to play that role) must create accounts for all teachers and students, define the marking periods for the upcoming or current school year, create courses, assign teachers to courses, enroll students in courses, and set up the scoring system to be used. The administrator(s) may also elect to disable any Grades, Branches, Topics, or Common Core Standards that won't be used.
How are teachers given rights to view or assess a student?
When a teacher is assigned to teach a section of a course for one or more marking periods, he/she is given access to every student enrolled in that section of the course for those marking periods. When a student is enrolled in a section of a course for one or more marking periods, any teacher assigned to teach that section for any of those marking periods is given access to that student. Also, a teacher can be explicitly given access to a student by selecting that teacher on the Edit Student page.
Can I view assessments entered by other teachers?
Yes, but only for students that you have access to. This includes all subjects.
Is HML a single application shared by multiple schools?
No. Each school gets its own copy of the application, located at http://(yourschool).howsmylearning.com. No information is shared between different schools.

Development

What inspired the development of HML?!
Frustration and ambition. The list of expectations of an American teacher continues to grow, while overall trust in teachers' professional competence declines. It can be a job in and of itself to interpret the ever-changing demands passed down the chain of command. A modern teacher must identify which demands are valuable, practical, and suitable to the specific nature of the given learning environment, yet also try to make sense of those that are vague, might just be empty buzz words, or perhaps even contradict each other. The specific experience of being asked to spend countless hours tracking large amounts of different types of student data in numerous disposable spreadsheets was the proverbial "last straw" that inspired the plan to create a comprehensive progress tracking application, using a modern database instead of spreadsheets. HML is a higly ambitious attempt at developing a tool that combines data-driven instruction, formative assessment, differentiation, collaboration, professional expertise, student self-awareness, and open communication. It was designed and developed by a New York City public school teacher and math department leader with a background in computer science. HML is, and will always be, a continually improving project.
What subjects are supported?
Math is the first subject supported, but full support for English, Science, and Social Studies will be added soon.
What new features can I expect to see in future versions of HML?
Planned improvements include parent/guardian access, import/export capabilities, saveable custom reports, more varied ways of viewing assessments over time, uploading and attaching relevant documents, an internal messaging system, e-mail alerts, and much more.
Can I suggest changes or features that I'd like to see in future versions?
Please do! Your feedback is incredibly important, especially in the beta phase of HML. Write to us at info@howsmylearning.com.
Don't see what you're looking for?
E-mail your question(s) to support@howsmylearning.com, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
This site is under construction at the moment. However, the beta version of How's My Learning?! is active and available for use in schools. E-mail info@howsmylearning.com to find out more!