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What's New at Freckle: August 2020

Posted by Ryan Guerrero on August 6, 2020 at 2:48 PM

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This month’s updates improve access for students who may have limited technological means at home and whose learning may be impacted by school closures.

Important notes

On August 1, we marked all assignments built before May 15 as complete. This cleared previous teacher assignments out of student accounts so that students can start fresh for the school year. You may have seen a pop-up message on your dashboard. 

This year, we will not automatically increase student grade levels. We do have a “bulk change grade level” feature on the Roster tab already. We’ll remind teachers about this feature closer to back to school.

We do not clear or reset any student data. Students will not need to retake pretests and will not lose any coins, etc. If desired, teachers can select to reset math/ELA levels from the Levels reports.


Mobile Support

We are excited to announce that Freckle Math for middle school (grades 6+) is mobile device compatible! 

Input from users highlighted various barriers present in remote learning, specifically student access to devices. It became clear that Freckle needed to be compatible with mobile and tablet devices for this coming academic year in order to support students who may only have a mobile device available. 

We think middle school students are going to have a positive experience with Freckle Math as the user experience for completing math assignments and practicing adaptive math content has been completely enhanced. 

We’ll continue to improve the mobile experience over the coming months, focusing next on elementary school math. We are excited to provide greater access to those who only have a mobile device available!

Teachers can click on each assignment name to open a tooltip with its full assignment name and a quick link to its report if available.

With distance learning, there have been increasing requests to make more assignment types compatible with the Assign for the future feature. We are happy to report that teachers can now assign Fact Practice ahead of time.

To round out the assignment changes, we have changed the name of Focus Mode to Assignments First Mode. We think Assignments First Mode makes clearer what is being enabled when teachers opt into this feature. Do note that this feature is still only unlocked for premium users.


Freckle Free adjustments

During school closures Freckle Free allowed users to build unlimited assignments, this change has since rolled back on July 31. You may have seen a pop-up message expressing this already. Freckle Free now provides three assignments per week per class/roster. The three assignments apply to any assignment type, including printables, in any subject. The assignment limit will refresh every Saturday at midnight, local time. 

Additionally, sharing assignments via Google Classroom or Remind and assigning for the future is a Freckle Premium offering.


Changes to Fact Practice 

The problems given to students during independent Fact Practice (meaning not assigned) are based on their rostered grade. For example, all students in grades seven and above are given problems with fractions by default. While this works for some students, those who are working above or below grade level need access to operations that are more appropriate for them. Teachers with Freckle Premium can now choose which operations each student sees in independent Fact Practice by changing the student dashboard settings. In the example below, the student will see a mix of only addition or subtraction while working in Fact Practice independently. 

teachers with premium licenses can now schedule Fact Practice assignments for the future. We recognize that this fall, many teachers will have less physical class time with their students. As a result, this feature gives teachers more visibility into what students practice and to plan ahead.


New math content alignment

We’ve implemented two new math alignments. The first aligns Freckle math content to the current Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. The second aligns content to global skills and supports international teachers using Freckle with less US-centric content.

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Texas users can select Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) 2020 through the math systems menu on the settings page. All new Texas users will default to  TEKS 2020

 

Please note that on July 31, all users on the old TEKS system were automatically upgraded to the new Texas system.

 

Additionally, we released the Global Skills System. This math system is intended for international Freckle educators who don’t want their students unnecessarily working with overly US-centric content. While things like spelling are not changed, this system provides a baseline for future international improvements. Expect to see more updates for the Global Skills System!


 

Renaissance Focus Skills integration

Freckle now displays Focus Skills on the Standards page and within the Targeted Practice flow. Focus Skills are the most critical concepts a student must learn at each grade level, and they provide a roadmap for closing learning gaps as you move every student toward greater mastery. Renaissance Learning developed them through extensive academic research. Check out https://www.renaissance.com/focus-skills/ for more information! 

 On the Standards menu page, teachers can see which standards contain Focus Skills at a glance:

Within the math Targeted Practice flow, Focus Skills are identified for easy selection. 

Integration of Focus Skills will allow for easier remediation of student mastery in core concepts that may have been impacted as a result of school closures.


Features for math Targeted Practice

To help teachers close students’ skill gaps, Freckle now intelligently recommends a supported version of Targeted Practice assignments to students who are below grade level. According to our Adaptive Practice data, many students are working below grade level and are likely to struggle with the content in grade-level assignments. The math Targeted Practice assignment flow now provides teachers with the option to differentiate the assignment by giving a supported version to students who are performing below grade level. By default, Freckle uses Adaptive Math practice data to suggest the supported version.

The supported Targeted Practice assignment shows students an explanatory video before they attempt each new skill. It also gives students early access to hints before they attempt each question. Non-supported students can still access videos from their sidebar and are shown hints after they get a question wrong, but they no longer see hints in their sidebar beforehand.

Keep in mind that the content of the assignment stays the same for all students, so teachers can continue to use Targeted Practice as a whole-class Exit Ticket!


As always, please let us know if you have any feedback on these new features by contacting support@freckle.com.

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