SAN FRANCISCO, February 3, 2016 -- NextLesson, a developer of K-12 supplemental resources that make learning personally relevant to students, today announced real world Performance Tasks, which prepare students for the rigorous demands of college and careers.
“To be successful in the 21st century, our students not only need to learn skills, but be able to apply them to solve real world problems,” said Dion Lim, Founder and CEO of NextLesson. “NextLesson’s Performance Tasks create authentic situations where students must demonstrate their critical thinking skills to arrive at informed decisions and justify their reasoning.”
NextLesson Performance Tasks enable students to apply mathematics and English language arts concepts in authentic scenarios by solving problems related to high-interest topics and integrating 21st century skills. These scaffolded tasks begin with basic skills practice, and build towards analyzing and comparing data, and applying those skills through cross-curricular extension projects. Each Performance Task also includes a glossary and job background based on the real world scenario of the task.
Each Performance Task is available in multiple versions, allowing students to complete the task using real data related to the topic they find most interesting. For example, a Performance Task analyzing how much a book is worth can be found in several editions using the sales data from a number of popular books. Scenarios include being a financial analyst for an author, social media manager for a celebrity, or a data analyst for a sports team. Currently about 475 Performance Tasks are available in 5,000+ editions, based on more than 3,000 student interests and 150 different careers to engage all learners.
“Students frequently ask educators ‘Why do I need to learn this?’” said Michael Watenpaugh, Superintendent of San Rafael City Schools. “This includes disengaged and high achieving students who don’t necessarily feel that learning connects with their goals and aspirations. NextLesson gives students a clear understanding of how the skills they’re learning are used in the real world.”
Interactive Performance Tasks Beta
Previously, Performance Tasks were only available as printable downloads but NextLesson is now launching interactive Performance Tasks in beta, which can be assigned, completed and graded online. Teachers can assign an interactive Performance Task to a class or individual students, toggle between editions as well as teacher and student views, see standards alignment for the task and individual questions, and easily view and grade student responses. Number pad question types are automatically graded.
Currently, more than 100 NextLesson mathematics Performance Tasks in 1,000+ editions are available in the beta interactive format. Throughout the beta, additional Performance Tasks will be added to the interactive platform and new interactive response types will be introduced, including graphing, drag and drop, number lines and a toolbox of manipulatives. The web-based interactive Performance Tasks are compatible with desktops, laptops and tablets.
View the Performance Tasks overview video and visit NextLesson.org to learn more.
In addition to being a Finalist in the 2015 REVERE Awards for Supplementary Mathematics Resources, Performance Tasks have garnered the following feedback from educators:
“Wonderful resource to help with preparing students for the SBAC performance tasks!”
- Nicole D. 4th grade teacher, Hancock County School District
“These are the types of lessons we, as teachers, would love to have time to make, but, of course, we don't! These lessons are authentic, engaging, and make the students think. I love how problem solving skills are incorporated.”
- Natalie K., 6th grade teacher, Bethlehem Area School District
“My students couldn't believe the numbers in the Performance Task were real! It blew their minds that they were using real data.”
- Kelly A., middle school technology teacher, Ladue School District
NextLesson is a developer of K-12 supplemental resources that are personally relevant to students. It is utilized by 2 million students and 50,000 teachers in school districts nationwide. NextLesson offers teachers 10,000 standards-aligned projects and lessons that are relevant, rigorous and based on real world scenarios. The company is privately held and based in San Francisco, Calif. Learn more at http://www.nextlesson.org.