Monitoring Student Progress
What is BuzzMath?
BuzzMath focuses on practicing middle school mathematics skills. It contains high-quality problems with immediate detailed feedback, allowing students to progress at their own pace. Randomly generated values allow students to retry problems to obtain mastery. Teachers are assisted by detailed results that help them guide and monitor student progress.
BuzzMath is student centered, though it also has the flexibility to be used by the teacher for introduction or to review topics as a class. Students have access to the Menu and can open any activity of interest, or complete specific activities assigned by their teacher. Activities are organized by the NCTM strands in the NCTM Middle School book and the Common Core State Standards in the Common Core Grade Specific books. Completing a set number of activities within a topic unlocks special missions related to math history that challenge students to help mathematicians recover lost knowledge. Students also have access to a BuzzLab that connects the theme of the missions to the storyline and motivates the accrual of gold stars.
In BuzzMath, students work in an untimed setting. Multiple representations are used for the type of questions and for the systems students use to record their solutions (thus only some questions are in a multiple choice format). Students monitor their progress on their home page with a system of gold stars, while teachers are able to view details of accuracy, time spent, and completion.
BuzzMath content is presented through a series of activities and missions. The Middle School book offers mathematical practice that is aligned to the NCTM standards. The 3 Common Core books present practice that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
An activity consists, on average, of 10 pages of practice questions covering a particular concept to help students improve their skills. Activities have a variety of styles from direct practice to interactive components. Completing activities with 100% accuracy is a necessary step towards unlocking missions.
What are Missions?
A mission is a more challenging problem solving activity that links students to math history and to the BuzzMath storyline. Students must find solutions on each page in order to move to the next page. Each mission features a famous mathematician in a fictional storyline that is integrated with mathematical history. Upon completion of a mission, students collect an object (such as Euclid’s lost Book I of the Elements) that will help restore lost mathematical knowledge and ultimately the beauty and architecture of BuzzCity.
When students enter an answer in BuzzMath, they receive immediate detailed feedback. Upon entering a correct answer, students see a green check mark and get a congratulatory message from the mathematician on the page. When all questions on the page have been answered correctly they will also see the “This page has been completed successfully” comment with a green check over the page number at the top of their screen. Students still have access to the detailed solution by clicking on the green “Show me the solution” bar below their response.
When a student misses a question, it is marked with a red X . A detailed explanation of how to work the problem correctly appears in the pink zone below the incorrect answer. *Detailed explanations is a premium feature.
When students click the “Check my answer button” on multiple choice inputs, they see all incorrect selections marked by a red X. Selections that should also be included in the solution are labeled with a grey arrowhead icon, while correct selections remain in view but are not marked.
Questions involving True/False statements, matching, ordering, and completion of tables also use the red X icon to indicate incorrect responses.
For tables, matching, ordering, and multiple choice answers, students can click on their incorrect solution and a pop-up of the correct choices will appear alongside their original response to allow for comparison. This feature is in addition to the detailed solution that appears in the pink correction zone.
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When students are unsure of how to attempt a problem, or not quite sure of the format of a response, they can click the “Show me an example” button. This allows them to view a similar problem to the one presented. Students can study the steps and apply the strategy or algorithm to the one presented. The example can be closed with the “Hide current example” button. Viewing an example does not affect students’ accuracy scores.
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“Retry this page” produces the same question, but with different values. Because values are randomly generated it is unlikely students will receive the exact same values in the new question.
After studying the detailed feedback of a missed question, students can click this "Retry" button to work a similar problem and earn a green check for completing the question correctly. Teachers can view the number of attempts made. See Detailed Results to learn more.
Even after a student has completed a page and earned a green check, the student can use “Retry this page” to obtain extra practice questions and continue to receive detailed feedback.
When a student earns green checks on every page of an activity, they get a gold star. The gold stars are accumulated by topics and visible to the student on their home page under “My Progress”.
Audio is provided for those students who wish to have questions read to them. The blue “play” button to the left of a question initiates the audio. “Pause” and “stop” buttons appear once the play button is engaged. The text the student hears is highlighted in yellow, one paragraph at a time. *This is a premium feature
When you sign up for a BuzzMath account, we ask for your classes and the number of students enrolled. You then receive a pdf of the activation codes listed by class. Activating these codes links the students to you so that you can track their results and send them assignments.
Students activate their given code by going to www.BuzzMath.com/join and entering their code and requested data. This is a one time action; activated codes are not used again. All future sign-in occurs on www.BuzzMath.com with the user’s name and personally selected password.
You’ve signed up for BuzzMath and your students have activated their accounts. Now what? Should you send the students to the lab to work on a teacher assigned lesson or just let them explore the website on their own? When it comes to introducing new tools, sometimes it can be hard to decide the best approach. Here are some suggestions for getting your students started in BuzzMath.
Start together as a class.
Choose an activity that reviews a concept familiar to your students.
As a class, (on an interactive whiteboard or projected screen) work through the activity, discussing how you can tell you got a correct response.
Purposely enter an incorrect response so students can see what happens.
Model how to read the detailed solution to figure out your error before clicking the
Retry this page button. When the class seems uncertain of how to attempt a problem, explore the Show me an example feature as well.
Working through one activity together will give students an idea of how the features can be used to check their understanding and help them improve their mathematics.
Content can be found using the Menu or the Search feature. To access activities using the Menu, first select the book that you would like to work in and then click "open this book" from your homepage. Select one of the main topics on the left side of the page. Choose one of the activities from within the topic of interest. Once you have clicked on the activity you will be able to view the pages of that activity. If you like to view the entire activity select "open".
To use the Search feature, type in a topic in the white “Search content” box that appears at the top of your BuzzMath Name bar (no matter what page you are currently viewing). Press return and you will receive all activities with names that include your search words. If there are no matches, try altering the form of the word used; for example, type “multiplication” in place of “multiplying”. The less specific a search, the more activities will be revealed. For example searching for “fractions” may produce better results than the more specific “adding fractions with unlike denominators.”
While signed in with your teacher account, if you are inside a particular activity and want to send it as an assignment to students, simply select "Send as an assignment" from the drop down menu of the "Teacher’s options" button.
To send to a class, merely check which of your classes you would like to receive the assignment.
To send to an individual, choose the Send to individual student tab. Here you can check students by name according to the class they are in. You may choose one or multiple students.
Sending an assignment from the Menu:
Open the Middle School Book or one of the Common Core Books and access the Menu in Topics View. Select a main topic and then click on an activity of interest within that main topic. Right above the Open button is an Options button. Click on the Options button and select "Send an assignment".
What happens once an assignment is sent?
Students will also see all the assigned lessons on their home page under the heading "My Teacher’s Assignments".
The next time your students log in (at school or at home), they will receive a message like the one below that notifies them of a new assignment.
In either case students need only to click on the activity name to get started. If students are working on multiple assignments in one sitting, they will be automatically directed toward the next assigned lesson at the end of each completed activity.
Under the "Manage my Classes" tab, the “Send a Message to my classes” option allows you to send messages to individual students, to an entire class, or to a colleague. Messages can be used to clarify assignments or encourage students, as well as collaborate with other teachers that are linked to your account. Click on the designated recipient and type your message. Then simply press send. The message will appear in the recipient’s "Messages Received" panel of their BuzzMath account.
On each page of a BuzzMath activity you will notice characters and settings. These characters and settings are part of the storyline of BuzzMath whereby Mr. Haze has stolen everyone’s math knowledge. As a result Buzz City is in despair as there is no mathematics to provide the foundation for building structures. Dr. Alfred Bowtie is the only person who has retained his math knowledge since he was in his time transport machine when the event occurred. Students assist Dr. Bowtie in recovering important mathematics by transporting themselves back in time where they follow a fictitious storyline that is accompanied by historical events in mathematics. In each mission, students meet a famous mathematician and solve challenging problems and puzzles to recover an important part of mathematics and thus begin restoring Buzz City to its former glory.
Students must unlock missions by completing a set number of activities with 100% accuracy. Completing a mission concludes with collecting an object that helps restore a portion of BuzzCity. Unlike regular activites, students cannot advance to other pages in the mission without solving the current page.
To view the various missions, visit BuzzLab from your homepage. Clicking on the tall design board in the lab allows you to view a description of each mission. Clicking the green arrow will advance you through the different missions. Any collected objects will appear in color next to the arrow and the mission will be labeled as “Accomplished.”
Once a mission is unlocked, students can also access it from the Menu. For each strand, the related missions are located at the bottom of list of activities in the Menu.
Monitoring Student Progress
With BuzzMath’s detailed results, teachers can see student performance for each page of an activity or compare all the pages of an activity at once; thus providing valuable information that allows teachers to capitalize on students’ strengths and address their areas of difficulty.
There are three main avenues for accessing detailed results:
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This special feature allows you to view student results alongside the pages of the activity. This way you can effectively note the types of problems where students struggled, and identify those concepts or problem types that your students best relate to. This can affect your daily instruction and help you to determine if differentiation is needed.
Results stay hidden while using your account for a class lesson, but are quickly revealed by selecting the Teacher’s options button, followed by View detailed results.
Right away you will see a list of all your students with 1 of 4 icons next to their name.
The green check indicates that the student has correctly completed the page within a set number of tries (this accuracy level is set by the teacher.)
The yellow triangle indicates a warning to the teacher. The student has answered the question correctly, but their multiple attempts has lowered their accuracy below that set by the teacher.
The red X indicates the student attempted the page, but never successfully completed it.
The gray dash tells you the student has not yet attempted the page.
A quick summary reveals, by icons, the total number of students within a class who fall into each category.
Clicking on an individual’s name gives you the student’s accuracy for each response on the page.
As you advance through each page of the activity, you will see the results for that particular page. To view all the pages at once, select the blue See all pages button. This view shows the individual results for each student, while allowing you to note problems of interest when you see how the class performed as a whole. Based on these results, you may want to bring up Page 3 and discuss it further with your students the following day.
The report also gives each student’s score, their accuracy, and the amount of time it took. All three aspects can be compared to the class average at the bottom of the page.
The data in this view can be printed or exported to a spreadsheet by selecting the "Teacher’s options" button and then “Export to spreadsheet”.
Accuracy is calculated by dividing the total number of correct responses by the total number of attempts. In the “See all pages” view, you are seeing the student’s accuracy for the entire activity. This, combined with time spent, can help you identify students who struggled with the questions even though they may have eventually gotten them all correct.
In the individual page view, the accuracy reported is for the selected student on that page only. An accuracy of 33% on a page with only one answer to input indicates that the student responded correctly 1 in 3 times. The student may have completed the question in any ratio equivalent to this, such as 2 correct responses in 6 times.
When multiple questions appear on a page, the accuracy is reported for each portion of the page, even though multiple blanks may occur within that portion.
You are the one who knows what your students have been studying and when a concept is likely being seen for the first time, or whether it is a review topic. So we let you manage the accuracy settings which begins at 50% by default.
While in the See all pages view, the Teacher’s Options button allows access to change accuracy settings. If you set the accuracy to 100%, any student who does not answer all the questions on a page correctly the first time will be flagged with the yellow exclamation icon.
In contrast, an accuracy setting of 0% will not show any warning signs, other than the red X or gray dash indicating the student never correctly answered. For students who need multiple attempts, or for resource teachers who want to see when it took a student more than 2 attempts, the accuracy can be set between 0 and 50%.
Accessing Detailed results from Track My Assignments or from the Class Tracking Reports of your teacher management page allows you to quickly view results without having to open each activity. Just use the Options button next to the activity name in each report. After seeing the results you can then determine whether you need to access the questions or view individual student accuracies for a specific page.
View detailed results.
In the Menu, hold your cursor over any activity title and then select
Assigning activities to students allows you to see if expectations you set are met, and to monitor the progress of individuals, and if applicable, the class as a whole.
Start by accessing Track assignments through the Class Reports button on your home page.
Use the drop down menus at the top of the page to select an entire class or view progress of an individual student in that class.
Before accessing data results, set your expectations for the assignment by clicking on the green bar in the upper right and selecting the performance you want to monitor. The assignment tags related to an activity will turn green if expectations are met, remain red if not, and stay grey if not yet attempted.
To see data for assignments sent on particular dates, click on the assignment tags located on the horizontal bar. Assignments are grouped by date assigned. Each activity name will appear in a table with data for the class or the individual chosen.
In the class view you will see how many students received the assignment and the number of those who have attempted it. This will be relevant in reading the average class score, average accuracy and average time spent. All averages are computed as a mean score. The accuracy columns allow you as a teacher to be able to see whether students are attaining scores through single or multiple attempts of the problems in an activity.
Switching to an individual student, you will now see the student’s results in comparison to the class average. However, the accuracy will report the number of questions answered correctly by the individual out of the number of times the student tried the questions. Likewise the time will be the student’s actual time spent in the activity.
You can explore more by clicking on the options button in the table and passing your cursor over the column headings. Use the information to guide conversations with your students about the concepts assigned, and thus plan your upcoming instruction based on their needs. Remember too that you can project specific pages students found interesting (or difficult) on an interactive board or large screen, and use these pages during your lessons.
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The view session lengths button in "Class Reports" produces both a graph of overall class usage by date and a table listing usage by student name.
Hover the cursor over any section of the graph to see the hours used in class and the hours used at home. The graph displays the total hours in white, in-class hours in green, and at-home hours in blue.
In the table you will see by student, the total session duration and the number of times the student has signed in (number of sessions). You will also see the time spent on BuzzMath during class and at home. (The calendar for school hours is easily set in Modify your school calendar under Class Reports.) The data can be reordered by clicking on the title of each column.
From this view you can also access individual student reports from the option that appears when the cursor is hovered over a student’s name or data. Simply click on the student’s name.
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The Class Content Report is accessed through Class Reports. This report shows all activity by students linked with a specific class. It is different from Track Assignments in that it indicates all activities that students have accessed, including those that were not assigned by their teacher. This way you can see what students might be exploring on their own, but keep those specific activities that you want to follow in your Track Assignments Folder.
In the Class Content Report, the time frame can be set to Last day, Last 7 days, Last 14 days, Grading Periods, or School Year. The report features activity names and shows the number of students who accessed it, the average score, and the average time spent. The display can be organized by clicking on any of the column titles.
Icons next to each activity's name indicate the related topic, whether it was sent as an assignment, and if it is marked as a favorite. By clicking on the option button next to a activity, you have the option to open the activity, send as an assignment, view detailed results, or add to your favorites.
From the options button in this report, the teacher can print the page or export the data to a spreadsheet.
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The report shows the number of gold stars each student has earned in total and in each main topic. The number of gold stars reflects the number of activities a student has successfully completed with a score of 100% accuracy. The teacher sees the accumulation of gold stars for each of the main topics with total time engaged in BuzzMath and the average accuracy. (The student also views their own progress for accumulating stars on the student homepage.)
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Individual Student Report
This report shows all activities a student has accessed in the Past 14 Days, Grading Period, or School Year. The report is segmented into week-by-week data for easier viewing. A gold star indicates that the student has completed all questions in the activity. If 100% is not yet achieved, the student’s latest score is in bold, with previous attempts indicated in light grey. This activity can be saved as a PDF and printed.
Clicking on any activity name will open the selected activity.
Spreadsheet of Detailed Results
Each student’s score, accuracy, and time spent on an activity can be exported to a spreadsheet from the Teacher’s options button when See all Pages of the Detailed Results is selected. The spreadsheet can then be saved or printed.
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