The Assignments function in DreamBox empowers educators with an additional way to efficiently differentiate lessons for any topic chosen by teachers. Teachers choose a topic in one of four ways: based on their relevant state or regional standards, aligned to popular print programs, DreamBox’s own Learning Units, or using RIT or Quantile assessment scores. Teachers may choose to give students up to two assignments at a time from any of DreamBox’s content at any grade level.
This article provides an overview of how to use DreamBox Assignments effectively.
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How does Assignments differ from DreamBox Math's Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ engine?
Without any action from teachers, DreamBox Math's Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ engine automatically provides individualized and differentiated lessons for every student by adapting learning paths, scaffolding concepts, and adjusting pacing based on each student’s unique needs. As students work on math problems using our interactive virtual manipulatives, DreamBox Math captures, analyzes, and responds to each student’s decisions, answers, and problem-solving strategies. Our continuous assessment responds formatively and summatively to facilitate students’ math development. The goal is to ensure students are in their optimal learning zone, in which a student is continually challenged enough to stay interested but not too challenged to become frustrated.
The Assignments tool takes what a teacher wants their students to learn or practice and personalizes a learning pathway for each student based on data DreamBox already has about what they are ready to learn. Assignments directs students to lessons that are relevant and supportive of the learning outcomes teachers want students to focus on.
How should I use Assignments?
DreamBox Math's personalized approach brings students to learning outcomes at their own pace, while Assignments will direct students to a specific learning outcome on a schedule set by their Educator. Operating independently, DreamBox Math meets students right where they are and guides them through a wide array of foundational concepts that lead to a deep understanding of more advanced concepts over time. For example, when teaching students to understand and become fluent with multiplication of whole numbers, DreamBox Math will engage students through a wide variety of models and strategies such as skip counting, doubling, tripling, number lines, arrays, and number strings. All of these lessons lead to a deep understanding of, and fluency with, multiplication.
While Assignments could also be used to direct all students in a class to the learning outcome of understanding multiplication, this will likely have varying results because the assignment is on a fixed schedule and every student may not have the requisite prior knowledge for growth and success. Each student will still receive a personalized path within Assignments, but students who start the assignment with less prior knowledge of the concept may not achieve the desired results within the specified time frame as students who were ready for this learning outcome. Therefore, when creating Assignments for students, we recommend using your knowledge of students’ readiness in conjunction with reviewing the student’s DreamBox lesson history, activity and standards progress to ensure the student is ready to focus on the desired concept.
Educators can choose between Short-Term Assignments, which include one to two lessons and are active up to fourteen days, or Long-Term Assignments, which continuously present students with lessons in the specified standard or cluster over several weeks or until they demonstrate proficiency in the standard(s). The Long-Term Assignments are typically used for Progress Monitoring, including RtI and MTSS.
Let’s look at a few scenarios of when we recommend using Assignments in your class:
To Prepare or Introduce a concept:
Scenario | Action to Take in Assignments |
I want to prepare a student for a topic that I am going to go over in class ahead of time so that they can be more engaged in the classroom dialogue when it begins. | As an example, if a student lacks confidence in the math classroom experience, an effective practice would be to strategically assign the concept that will be covered in class in the future. This way the student is exposed to the mathematical concepts ahead of time, in preparation to have more confidence in participating in the classroom dialogue and learning experiences. |
I want to introduce or reinforce concepts in preparation for upcoming in-class work or assessments. | Educators have access to many sets of data. If an educator knows that a set of their students need to do some of the earlier conceptual work from previous grade levels, then they can assign something that helps provide the necessary prior knowledge before starting the next concept. |
When Reviewing a concept:
Scenario | Action to Take in Assignments |
I want to review what we did in class with a student, to see if they can apply it in a similar but unfamiliar situation. | If a student, or class, just completed a unit or lesson, I can create an assignment to check for understanding, in a similar but unfamiliar learning situation. This exemplifies the critical evidence of transfer of learning. |
I want a student to be learning a concept while we are studying it in class, to see if they can apply it in a similar but unfamiliar situation. | If a student, or class, is working on a unit or lesson, I can create an assignment to check for understanding, in a similar but unfamiliar learning situation. This exemplifies the critical evidence of transfer of learning. |
For Intervention:
Scenario | Action to Take in Assignments |
I want to provide intervention to fill specific gaps in prior knowledge ahead of specific in-class topics. | If a student has gaps in prior knowledge necessary for an upcoming in-class topic, create an assignment in preparation to have more confidence in participating in the classroom dialogue and learning experiences. |
For Remediation:
Scenario | Applied Example |
I want to direct my student to build on their prior knowledge of topics from a previous grade. | If a 4th-grade student is progressing through third-grade multiplication standards, it would be best to create a Long-Term Assignment for those 3rd-grade multiplication standards instead of assigning 4th-grade multiplication or 3rd-grade fractions because 3rd-grade multiplication is foundational to the other key areas. |
Things to keep in mind when crafting an assignment:
Start by asking, “What is the goal of the assignment, and when do you want it to complete?” You can choose between Short-Term Assignments, which include one to two lessons and are active up to fourteen days, or Long-Term Assignments, which continuously present students with lessons in the specified standard or cluster over several weeks or until they demonstrate proficiency in the standard(s).
If you see a student’s name in the “In-Progress” column, that means they have already completed DreamBox Math lessons on the topic you’ve chosen. By making the assignment, it will put a blue icon on the lesson for this topic in the student’s Lesson Chooser, indicating to the student you would like them to play those lessons that DreamBox Math had already been recommending.
When using Assignments selected by standards, we recommend utilizing higher tiers such as Domains or Clusters, instead of the narrower standards themselves. Creating an assignment at the standard level will be very proscriptive, whereas creating an assignment at the Domain or Cluster level will broaden the range of lessons that DreamBox can offer to the student, thus providing more differentiated learning pathway options within Assignments.
Assignments honors student agency by continuing to present other concepts for the student to complete. This is critical to building strong decision-making habits within students. They need to make wise choices, based on the information they have, and if a student continually does not select the assigned lessons, it’s an opportunity for a conversation with the student.
If you choose to use Assignments, we recommend using them strategically rather than as a regular habit and practice. Because DreamBox Math is differentiating based on how students are showing their understanding, many teachers trust DreamBox Math to differentiate automatically. Over the course of a year, we recommend that no more than 20% of a student’s completed lessons within DreamBox Math come from Assignments.
Additional Assignments FAQs
Q: When I create an assignment, why doesn’t DreamBox Math hide all other lesson recommendations? |
A: The Assignments function honors student agency by continuing to present other concepts for the student to complete. Just as a student can choose not to complete homework, a student can choose to not complete a DreamBox Math assignment. This is critical to building strong decision-making principles by the student. They need to make the best choice, based on the information they have.
Learn more about Assignments
Click the titles below to open additional articles about DreamBox Assignments.
- DreamBox Math Assignments: How to Create Assignments (School Teachers and Administrators)
- DreamBox Math Assignments: How to Create a Personalized Assignment
- DreamBox Math Assignments: How to Cancel Assignments (School Teachers and Administrators)
- DreamBox Math Reports: The Assignment History Report (Teachers)
- DreamBox Math Reports: The Long-Term Assignment Progress Report (Educators)
- DreamBox Math Assignments: FAQs
- NWEA and DreamBox Math Assignments: FAQs
- Quantile and DreamBox Math Assignments: FAQs