The Formative Assessment with Computational Technologies (FACT) research project is harnessing the analytic power of computer supported collaborative learning and intelligent tutoring systems to aid middle school math teachers in getting their students to engage in collaborative, productive struggle while enacting Classroom Challenges, which are widely used, effective formative assessment lessons that address the 8 practices of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM).
The FACT project was established in 2012 with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The project is a collaboration between Arizona State University and MAP, the Mathematics Assessment Project. MAP is led by the Shell Center at the University of Nottingham and the University of California at Berkeley.
MAP developed the Classroom Challenges, which are 100 paper-based lessons that are widely used (millions of downloads) and measurably effective. A Classroom Challenge lesson takes about 60 to 90 minutes, spread over two days or more. A lesson consists of a coordinated sequence of small group, whole class and individual activities. Most of the activities involve working on complex, open-ended problems. The instructional objective is not to master a particular topic or skill but instead to engage in collaborative, productive struggle with mathematical ideas as students engage in the 8 practices of the CCSSM.
The goal of the FACT project is to find out how best to use existing, powerful analytic algorithms to aid teachers as they conduct class. The project has developed the FACT system and converted 8 Classroom Challenges (so far) into electronic form. Students run the FACT system on any tablet or laptop that has a common browser (e.g., Chrome or Safari). In order to circulate among the students while they work, teachers carry a tablet running FACT. Thus, the classroom needs a wireless connection to the internet. FACT is free, and can be used now. FACT is still being improved, so the project would appreciate hearing about your experiences if you choose to use it.
Professor, School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Arizona State University