They say it “takes a village” to raise a child, and at NWEA, we believe that means a “village” of approaches: students do better when teachers apply a variety of tools to help them learn. For Joe Perez at El Camino Real Academy in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that means taking his students’ MAP Growth data and using it with Wowzers, one of our Instructional Connections partners that provides an online K-8 math solution. By using the two together, he not only inspired his students to achieve their math goals—he created such enthusiasm and engagement that he inspired wider use of MAP Growth-informed learning paths throughout his entire district.
Perez’s blog post explains how he uses Wowzers with MAP Growth, but what stands out the most are the responses he got from his students. For example:
The best part of Wowzers is that it knows your math level and how you get coins to buy things at the mall and things (for) your pod. The reason why I like this is because it [helps] you [get] better at your math skills.”
Through his thoughtful use of both applications, Perez achieved something rare: complete buy-in from his students. His struggling learners had positive experiences building the skills they most needed to grow, and his highest performers were appropriately challenged. (One student even likened using MAP Growth with Wowzers to the popular video game Fruit Ninja: “My favorite part of Wowzers is the practice problems because they help me a lot with the subject I am working on. Also, it kind of makes it fun because they either put you shooting a goal or you are slicing fruit.”)
Perez credits his success to three key factors: the precision of MAP Growth data as a starting point, the instructional tool that provided feedback to students, and the incentive program he established to motivate students.
Why Feedback Matters
While using Wowzers with his MAP Growth data, Perez discovered just how vital feedback can be to student growth. As students proceeded through exercises, Wowzers celebrated their successes and coached them through challenging topics and questions—engaging students in their own improvement instead of simply grading their responses.
What’s more, Perez found that while Wowzers was giving students helpful, in-the-moment feedback, he was freed up to provide individualized feedback to students who were particularly struggling. Wowzers kept student morale high while providing realistic next steps for each learner, and Perez was able to make more meaningful connections with each student as he worked with them individually.
For Perez as a teacher, this transformed how he could use his time, and for his students, it was an easy approach to adapt to. In fact, when asked, many students stressed the value of feedback when using MAP Data with Wowzers:
My favorite part… is that it gives me support when I get questions wrong.”
My favorite part of Wowzers is learning all the cool stuff, and I like how I get corrected because a quiz can’t correct me.”
Incentives Never Hurt, Either
Although many students were driven simply by a sense of accomplishment, other students did better with incentives. Like many of our Instructional Partners’ software, rewards are built in to Wowzers—and because their MAP Growth data so precisely captured their next steps, Perez knew that his students would be offered rewards based on individually-relevant goals. The students loved it, too:
My favorite part of Wowzers is that every time we get an answer right, we get points. I also like some of the math because sometimes you make them really fun.”
Powered by MAP Growth
We know that in every classroom, students have widely varying needs and different gaps in their learning, which is why good instructional software must provide the tools for individualizing instruction. Like all of our resources for taking action with your MAP Growth data, tools like Wowzers can help make teachers more effective in the classroom—and that’s growth we can all get behind.
We’re always interested in hearing more stories like Joe Perez’s and sharing them with other teachers! To share your stories about MAP Growth or how you’re using any of our Instructional Connections with MAP Growth, tag us on Twitter: @NWEA. We’d love to hear from you!