TenMarks is an online math program for students to practice and master math concepts covered in grades 1 through 12, covering concepts as advanced as algebra and geometry. It is deeply aligned to the Common Core standards. It is best used as a supplementary tool to reinforce math lessons taught in class or at homes. Teachers can assign different problem sets to individual students or entire classes based on students’ skill level. The web-based program is accessible anytime, anywhere from schools and homes.
Videos and hints assist students who have difficulty with the subject. A comprehensive reporting system provides instant feedback to teachers on class and individual student progress. The flagship program debuted in 2011. As of 2013, it has been used in more than 25,000 schools and 7,000 districts throughout the US; it is actively being used by over 2 million students and over 100,000 educators.
How does it work?
Within a few minutes of signing up on the TenMarks website, a teacher can create accounts for classes of students (who are only required to use their first name). Based on the selected class grade level, TenMarks automatically generates a list of concepts and exercises that map to state and Common Core standards. Each concept is called an “album,” (“domain” in Common Core lingo) and within each album are “tracks,” which are problem sets related to that subject (“standards”). Teachers can create different “playlists” (compilations of albums and tracks) for students based on their progress.
Students receive ID and password to log in to their class account, where they see their assigned album. As students work through the tracks (which each consist of 10 multiple-choice questions), they can use three hints unique to that problem, as well as three- to five-minute videos aimed at reinforcing their understanding of concepts. (Using too many hints will result in a lower score and the student will not be marked as having mastered the track). After successfully completing each album, students can unlock games and badges.
The dashboard provides teachers (and parents using the program at home) an overview of progress as students work through the assigned albums. They can drill down to see how individual students performed on individual tracks. Students are flagged for low performance (defined as below 70 percent of concept mastery, based on an algorithm that compares scores, hints used and other indicators of proficiency). The system has an adaptive engine that measures where students are struggling and suggests appropriate exercises for them.
How it's used
TenMarks is most often used as an independent practice mechanism to reinforce concepts taught by the teacher. No additional tools are required. Each worksheet consists of ten problems and students work at their own pace, making this a flexible tool that can be used in school labs or at homes. It can be accessed on PCs, Macs or any iPad/Android device.
Students have on-demand help in the form of videos and hints and automatic interventions when needed. When a student performs poorly on an assignment, the program assigns them "do-over" worksheets that focus on the areas within that concept with which they struggled. Teachers are notified on the dashboard if a student still struggles after do-overs and video tutorials.
The company has worked intensively to support the Common Core standards; it also continues to support non-CCSSS states, too.
What material is presented?
TenMarks has partnered with Academics Benchmark (a company that houses databases of Common Core as well as individual state standards), to ensure that its curriculum for grades 2 through high school matches the state standards of the class location. (Teachers and parents are asked for their state when they sign up). Updates and modifications to state standards are automatically reflected in the TenMarks curriculum.
In earlier iterations, TenMarks curriculum was strongly aligned with state standards. As of 2013, the content has been adapted to be strongly aligned with Common Core standards.
TenMarks prides itself on its flexibility, making it easy for teachers to assemble personalized albums for individual learners. The company encourages assigning materials from different grade levels to challenge or help students who are either ahead or behind.
Students can unlock games and receive virtual certificates after they master a given number of assignments.
Parents can set up conditional motivation rewards, which can be anything they want. For example, a parent might promise a Daddy-daughter lunch date or a day of skiing if a child completes a certain playlist.
How it assesses students
Teachers and parents have access to a dashboard to track student performance. Upon logging in, the dashboard provides a macro overview of how all students are performing on the different tracks assigned (noting problems attempted and problems solved correctly). This data is plotted in graph form. Clicking on a point or bar produces more detailed stats.
Students as well as teachers/parents can see individual report cards that show the last attempt, including the date, grades, hints taken and performance for every track. Performance is symbolized by a circle that appears as one of three colors: green (greater than 70 percent correct), yellow (30 to 70 percent correct), red (less than 30 percent correct). Teachers can drill down to see every individual problem that a student attempted.
Working with the Gates Foundation, TenMarks has created a "blended learning" model so students can use TenMarks from inside their school dashboard, without having to log in again. The program also allows school systems to review results provided by all vendors on a custom-built dashboard and assign work in real time--something Agarwal says no other education program offers. TenMarks is working with the Gates Foundation on another blended learning initiative that will allow its program to have interoperability between different school districts and software vendors.
How much does it cost?
“basic” version is available free to teachers that includes access to
albums corresponding to the class grade level; a teacher can also choose
up to three albums from other grades. All basic reporting functions are
The “premium” account gives teachers access to any album from other grades and allows them to build individualized playlists for every student (in addition to the shared class curriculum). Also, it is able to integrate data from all state standardized tests (such as NWEA’s MAP, ERB’s CTP and the Iowa Tests) into the system, and generate playlists for students based on how they performed on those tests. Finally, teachers can use an “automated assignment” feature, in which TenMarks assigns weekly online worksheets to students based on topics in their individualized playlists.
TenMarks Math Premium starts out at $20 per student, but there are volume-based discounts available for schools or districts.
How does the company train and support teachers?
has been designed to require minimal tech support. Users can access
help videos to learn the basics or click a feedback button on any page
that usually gets a response within an hour, according to Agarwal. They
can also call a phone number listed in the website’s “Contact” section.
The premium version comes with professional development training for teachers, mostly in the form of weekly webinars. TenMarks does not provide in-person training.
TenMarks also has detailed reports for proficiency and usage, and administrative capabilities for principals and district administrators.
Buts, Ands, Ors
TenMarks is a program for independent practice of skills. Its short videos and "tips" can help nudge students back on course, but most teachers will not find it adequate for introducing or teaching concepts. It is, however, very easy to "assign" or redirect students to work on specific skills.
In 2013, TenMarks was one of six products to receive an award from the National School Board. TenMarks received the commendation for being "an engaging web-based learning environment that super-charges math instruction by delivering contextual help, automatic interventions, real-time assessments, and a personalized curriculum for every student."
late 2011, TenMarks released a study by the University of San
Francisco's School of Education, titled “A Study of the Use of a
Technology Based Solution to Improve Math Scores.” This six-week
controlled study was conducted during the 2010-2011 school year by a
graduate student of the School of Education and was supervised by the
The study included about 150 ninth- and 10th-grade students at Everest Public High School, a suburban charter school in Redwood City, Calif. They were divided into two groups with similar ability and demographics and were asked to take a 50-question pre-test to assess their baseline level.
During the next six weeks, all students received normal classroom instruction; one group used TenMarks and the other did not. Then students in both groups took a post-test. Students in the TenMarks groups improved an average of 10 percent, versus a 0.5 percent improvement for the control group. (The improvement percentage for the TenMarks students ranged from 3 to 36 percent). A summary of the study is available here.
TenMarks also received a District Administration’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products award. District Administration magazine and blog, published by Professional Media Group, LLC, writes about management solutions for K-12 public school administrators. Nominations require a testimonial from a school administrator.
So far, the product l...
Allowing teachers more flexibility is choosing questions (for me particularly questions I would want to eliminate if I have only done one part of the lesson but not the other part) as well as an easier way to get individual student feedback. Perhaps having the results download into an excel...