CL Newsletter, March 2020 - Dashboard 101

What’s the secret to making a good lesson a great lesson? Celebrate and build on early student thinking as it moves towards math learning goals. The Desmos dashboard helps teachers with that task by displaying a spreadsheet of symbols that indicate progress, pace, and correctness. At a quick glance, these dashboard symbols (dash, cross, check, and dot) show teachers a snapshot of engagement and understanding across the class so that teachers can spend more time on screens with useful student thinking and less time evaluating student thinking for correctness.
Here’s what the symbols mean:

  • If everything can be evaluated as either right or wrong, mark the screen with correctness and either a check or a cross will show.
  • If the component needs human interpretation, such as an explain prompt or a text input, a dot or a cross will show.
  • If there is no correctness marked on the screen, either a dot or a dash will show.

We outlined the meaning and rationale for these symbols in this 2017 blog post. Ideally, this will save you work when you’re building your activities. You can focus on design and pedagogy. Tell us what correctness means in your activity and we’ll display the right symbol.

Think you know which markers to use?

Take This Quiz!

Here’s some good news! Many components don’t require CL at all.

You can set an answer key for ordered list, multiple choice, and card sort components without any CL. For the other components, you’ll have to apply correctness manually. This can be done by adding a correct sink followed by the condition that makes the answer correct. For example, if you wanted to check that an expression entered into a math input evaluates to 5, you would create the following sink:source pair:

correct: input.numericValue = 5

Apply this sink throughout your activity and transform a sea of dots into a more precise dashboard.

As always, we hope you’ll stay focused on celebrating and building on student brilliance. We hope our technology will support that work but depending on the lesson, it may be that your voice, paper, student conversation are even better media for you. We’re happy to know you’re thoughtful about how you spend your and your students’ time.

Tips/Tricks: Some Tips for Setting Correctness

Where to Put the Sink?

It’s always a good idea to put the correctness sink in the component that students work in. Not only does that make it easier to find in editing, but it also stops Desmos from identifying a component as one that has been worked in and is ready for correctness assessment when that is not the case.

Using a Graph? Create a Single “correct” Variable for CL

Let’s say you’re asking students to move points to create a line. The simple solution is to check for slope and y-intercept, right? Instead of using CL to pull multiple variables into a sink:source pair, why not combine your checks into a single variable and pull just that one thing into correctness? Remember, in order for something to be marked correct, everything on the screen needs to be correct. That means you can output a simple “yes” or “no” (usually 1 or 0) to CL.

Block Out the Noise

Knowing when to turn off correctness altogether is just as important as setting it in the first place. Any component that students can interact with will, by default, cause a “dot” to appear when students touch it. This is great for telling teachers which screens students have spent some time on. But what if that dot is masking a big ol’ check or cross? It can get noisy, so we like to use the readOnly sink to mute the components we’re not seeking correctness for. Simply use readOnly: true to disable the correctness sink on some components and focus on the ones you do want to listen to.

Try It Yourself!