Interview with Dan Levin: Using Test Questions for More Personalized Assessment and Learning
This month’s interview on Education Talk Radio, hosted by edweb.net, featured Dan Levin, founder and president of EducAide Software and Problem-Attic, who shared some insight with listeners on how online question databases can be used by educators and students beyond the traditionally-held views of assessment. Dan, a graduate of MIT and Stanford, is a former high school math and science teacher with 20 years of experience in the field of problem-writing, editing, and standards-alignment. He is also a a TeX programmer (math typesetting language), volunteer tutor, and math club coach. His company, EducAide, and its latest development, Problem-Attic, strive to bridge the gap between instruction, assessment, and educational technology.
Dan explained his newest site, Problem-Attic, as a repository of questions that allows educators to personalize the database for their teaching needs. The site can be used by educators beyond traditional assessment, for purposes that include warm-ups, tutoring, review worksheets, homework, group projects, and discussion. Problem-Attic also makes it possible for educators to make questions available outside of class, thus extending the reach of the database.
While Problem-Attic is an extremely useful tool for educators, it has also served the larger education community, including curriculum & assessment specialists, largely due to the site’s simultaneous function as an education database and an archival or research resource. One of the biggest surprises in the site’s utility is the popularity of the resource with students and parents. Dan finds that parents are using Problem-Attic as practice for their children, and students are using the site for exam preparation, out-of-classroom review, and practice for academic competitions. Educators can view this usage as a form of flipping the classroom. In a way, using Problem-Attic is making students responsible for their own learning, and intimately connecting them with the learning process. They are no longer just the recipients of education; they are part of the process itself.
edWeb.net and Problem-Attic have partnered to create Assessment for Learning, a professional learning community (PLC) that provides ideas and resources for teachers to help them with instruction and real-time, formative assessment. The community hosts a series of free webinars. The first webinars, titled “Better Math Questions for Better Answers: Teaching High Order Thinking Skills for the Common Core,” focused on question-writing, and will be followed by sessions on the delivery of questions and new models for learning and organizing the classroom.
The edWeb Monthly Show on Education Talk Radio is hosted by Larry Jacobs with Lisa Schmucki, founder and CEO of edWeb.net. Listen to the interview below originally aired on 3/14/14.