My BrainPOP

Guest Blogger Nili Bartley on Assessing Student Understanding With My BrainPOP

Posted by cemignano on

Guest blogger Nili Bartley from Hopkinton, MA is a 4th grade teacher who’s embraced My BrainPOP as part of her classroom culture. Read on to learn about Nili’s experience using My BrainPOP’s features as a form of assessment and don’t miss her previous post from early October.

I had envisioned our parts of speech journey to be engaging. After all, who doesn’t love Tim and Moby? I also predicted students would learn a lot, and my hope was they would incorporate their learning into their writing. What I couldn’t foresee, however, was that BrainPOP would become a part of our culture, that my students were about to transform into more confident and independent learners. As I thought recently about how and why this transformation took place, I realized the key element was my ability to track student progress every step of the way. My BrainPOP was the game changer for me when I attended BrainPOP’s session at ISTE and it hasn’t let me down. The ability to view student submitted quizzes, concept maps through Make-a-Map, Activities, and even Sortify bins has given me a window to students’ understanding. It has served as my guide for whole class and small group instruction, as well as one-on-one conferences.

Specifically, the Spreadsheet and Class Summary options have allowed for me to analyze student results quickly and take action.  It was clear, for example, when viewing the Parts of Speech Quiz scores before the unit began, that half of my class was showing a minimal to partial understanding. Clicking on a student’s score allowed me to see his or her actual quiz so I could target where a student would need the most instruction.  The Class Summary allowed me to view whole class results. Within seconds, I was able to see that only 64% of my students, for example, were able to identify “red” as an adjective. Knowing students would experience several lessons on descriptive language, this information was very useful.

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Although quiz results continued to provide invaluable information, I realized quickly that students were able to demonstrate their understanding through all submitted work. For example, their Sortify bins for nouns showed a consistent misconception between adjectives and abstract nouns. And with the exception of a few students, most demonstrated in their adverb concept maps that the roles in which adverbs play is certainly the most challenging concept to grasp. The Activity pages are unique in that they ask students to identify parts of speech within sentences. I was able to see a bigger picture of students’ ability to identify roles in which words play and how they work together. Challenges came when being asked to identify adverbs and adjectives within the same sentence as well as draw arrows to what each was modifying. I was able to use this information to form two groups of students who needed additional practice.


By the time our review week came along, students were in a BrainPOP groove. They were navigating through features with ease, welcomed my feedback on each assignment,  and looked forward to showing me what their brains were thinking. During this special week, students completed Activities and Sortify bins before submitting their final concept maps and quizzes. As if I didn’t have enough data to pull review groups, I came across the Class Summary tool for Sortify, which helped me greatly. The results were amazing. Every student scored a 70% or higher on their final quiz and many were able to take an extension quiz I had created through Quiz Mixer.  The average score on their final concept map was a 3.25 based on a 1-4 rubric, 3 showing a solid understanding for parts of speech and 4. showing advanced.


Needless to say, I was feeling both pride and excitement at this new accomplishment. For the first time in eleven years of teaching, students in my classroom took a six week “online” course with both academic choice as well as differentiation. This would have been enough, but as I watched students finishing their quizzes and seeing immediate results on Friday, the pride on their faces was priceless and here is my theory as to why: They could see growth. Every student made significant progress and My BrainPOP both on my screen and theirs showed all of us exactly that. The icing on the cake was seeing recent writing assignments exploding with nouns, verbs, adjectives, and even some adverbs. It doesn’t get much better than this.