Mountain Park Elementary in Roswell, Georgia had always been a top-performing school. But teachers were looking for a way to engage their 900 K-6 grade students even more. They decided to start posting students’ IXL accomplishments in the school hallway, where everyone could see them. The data was arranged by grade level, and new metrics were posted each month in the form of a giant bar graph—including number of medals earned, number of minutes practiced, and number of skills mastered. Top performing students were announced on the morning news broadcast and their names included in the community e-mail newsletter.
Kim Creagh, a third grade teacher at Mountain Park with sixteen years of teaching experience, loved how easy IXL made it to assess student performance—for teachers, parents, and kids. For students, a medal earned would often result in a celebratory high-five. When asked what advice she would give to other teachers wanting to get their students more engaged in math, Creagh said, “Make it fun. And by that I mean don’t make it something they have to do. The worst thing you can do is say ‘You have to do it.’ They won’t want to.”
And when students do well? “Celebrate success,” Creagh said, “no matter how big or how small. That was really huge for our kids.”