Introducing Missions

Missions are a new way to build or check mastery of middle school Common Core math standards.

Each Mission is a pre-built playlist containing digital learning activities, short multiple choice assessments, and metacognitive questions. During a Mission, students are guided through a fun learning adventure featuring Wizmos, the motivational characters from Wizmo World.

Missions also help PowerMyLearning measure how effective different learning activities are at teaching concepts to students.

Check out our printable overview of Missions or our Missions Support Guide.

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Ways You Can Use Missions
  • As introductory instruction before you teach a concept
  • As a formative assessment to test student mastery after you teach a standard
  • As concept review before a summative assessment
  • To test student metacognition—the questions that measure a student’s ability to self-assess allow educators to gain insight into confidence and accuracy on a given subject.

Watch this instructional video to learn how to get started with Missions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Missions
Using Missions

How do I find Missions to assign to my students?

To find Missions, simply search for a middle school math topic/standard on PowerMyLearning Connect. You’ll be able to quickly see if we have a corresponding Mission. Students cannot search for Missions; they can only complete one if it’s assigned by a teacher. Teachers can assign Missions the same way they assign any other playlist on PowerMyLearning Connect. They can be assigned to an individual student, a group of students, or an entire class.

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What does a Mission look like?

  1. Missions begin with a short set of practice questions that gauge initial understanding of a concept.
  2. Next comes a digital learning activity that teaches or reviews skills/concepts addressed in that standard.
  3. Students then get an opportunity to assess what they’ve learned so far with a second set of practice questions that allows them to make corrections and learn from any mistakes.
  4. After taking time to reflect on progress, they move to a second instructional activity to further explore the concept and clarify any confusion they may still have.
  5. In the Final Challenge, students demonstrate their understanding by completing a set of multiple-choice questions that also evaluates their ability to self-assess what they know and don’t know.
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Can't I just create my own playlists that include the same activities and questions that are in your Missions?

Missions are pre-built and will save you the time and trouble of building your own playlists. They also include auto-graded multiple choice assessments and easy to read color-coded reports. In addition, Missions incorporate two unique features:

  1. With Missions, students must complete the steps of the playlist in sequence; they cannot jump around as they can in regular playlists. This forced sequence helps to scaffold instruction by providing students with different types of activities that help prevent fatigue.
  2. Also, during Missions, students are taken on a guided learning adventure with fun storylines and Wizmos, the motivational characters from PowerMyLearning Connect’s Wizmo World.

How many Missions will my students be able to take?

Students are welcome to complete all of the Missions available on the PowerMyLearning Connect platform, however, students can only complete a Mission that has been assigned to them by their teacher and they can only complete each Mission once. If two teachers assign the same Mission to a student, their progress in the Mission will count towards both assignments.

How long does it take a typical student to complete a Mission?

We estimate that most students will take approximately 25 minutes to complete all sections of the Mission. Ideally, each student will start and complete the Mission in one sitting.

What happens if a student cannot complete a Mission during class time?

While we want each student to be able to start and finish the Mission in one sitting, it may be necessary for some to stop before completing it. Student results will automatically be saved and they will be able to resume exactly where they left off the next time they open the Mission. If possible, we encourage that students complete at least the first three steps of the Mission in the class setting.

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What happens if we lose power or internet connection while taking a Mission?

The student’s answers and place within the Mission will be automatically saved and students will be able to resume exactly where they left off at the time of the power or internet outage the next time they reopen the Mission. We encourage you to ask any impacted students to resume and finish the Mission within the same class period or as soon as possible.

Can I assign Missions for homework?

Yes! While students are more likely to complete Missions when asked to do so in class, they can also be successfully completed at home. If possible, we recommend trying to administer one Mission in class, in case students need help or have questions, and then assign additional Missions for homework once students are familiar with how they work.

As a teacher, can I complete a Mission to test how it works?

As a teacher, you can preview a Mission as a student in read-only mode. This means you will be able to navigate through all of the steps, but you will not be able to select any answers or save your progress.

Can I assign my class Missions that are aligned to standards I haven’t taught yet?

Absolutely! Regardless of whether you’ve taught the standard yet, Missions are a great tool for better understanding your students’ current familiarity with concepts aligned to specific Common Core math standards. Keep in mind that the activities within the Mission are meant to be supplemental to classroom instruction.

Are Missions available in any languages other than English?

No. Unfortunately, Missions are only available in English at this time. We hope to support additional languages in the future.

Will Missions offer any audio or text-to-speech support?

No. While some of the digital learning activities included in our Missions may contain audio, Missions will not offer any audio or text-to-speech support at this time.

Content

Do all students see the same activities in Missions?

Yes, all students will see the same activities during a Mission, however, the order in which students see the activities may differ. For example, looking at the sequence of a Mission below, some students may get the “blue” activity first and then the “yellow” activity.

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Why does the order of activities and assessments vary in a Mission?

For most students, the sequence of the Mission will be the same, except that the order of the two digital learning activities will be swapped. This is so PowerMyLearning can learn more about the impact of the digital learning activity between the two sets of practice questions. Some students may experience a Mission where the first two steps will be practice questions and the third step will be the digital activity. All remaining steps will be the same as other students.

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Does the Mission contain assessments that I can use as graded work?

Yes, Missions contain two low-stakes assessment practice opportunities and one final assessment called the Final Challenge which can be used as graded work. Missions are designed so that students are first exposed to two instructional activities and two short sets of multiple choice practice questions. Then they move onto the Final Challenge.

How do Missions measure students' metacognitive ability?

Missions incorporate Knowledge Monitoring Assessments (KMA), to measure students’ ability to self-assess their prior knowledge on a given subject. Prior to each question in the Final Challenge, students are asked to assess whether or not they can solve the problem. Students have a certain amount of time to answer the KMA question. A self-accuracy score is calculated by comparing a student’s self-assessment with how they actually answered each question. Students receive one point if they:

  • Assessed that they could solve the problem and then solved the problem correctly.
  • Assessed that they could not solve the problem and then solved the problem incorrectly.

Points are totaled and an overall score is calculated based on the percent of questions where students correctly assessed their knowledge.

Can I see which digital learning activities students will receive in a Mission?

Yes! If you preview the Mission, you will be able to see all of the content included within that Mission.

Can I pick the digital learning activities in a Mission that I want to assign?

Unfortunately, no. Each Mission includes two possible digital learning activities that are randomly assigned at the time the student starts the Mission. Therefore, it is not possible to control which activity gets assigned. Each digital learning activity in our Missions is handpicked by our skilled team and chosen for its quality and alignment to the specific Common Core standard selected. All students will end up seeing both activities in the Mission; the order in which they appear is the only difference.

Reports

Can I see how students performed on a Mission?

Yes, educators can generate detailed reports on Missions that provide valuable insight about students’ progress and performance. With a Mission report, it is easy to see:

  • Individual student performance and time spent on the Final Challenge
  • How well students were able to self-assess their knowledge of the concepts assessed in the Final Challenge
  • Class level trends in mastery or if there are certain skills students are struggling with that may need to be retaught

You can also quickly drill down to learn more about how each student did on the practice questions and how they rated their Mission experience.

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Do students see their results on a Mission?

Yes! During the Mission, students will get a quick score report after the second set of practice questions and after the Final Challenge. After completing the Mission, results from all three assessments will be available to students in the Reports section on PowerMyLearning Connect.

How will I be able to monitor if my class has completed a Mission?

The Mission class-level report indicates students’ progress on the Mission by noting whether it is Not Started, In Progress, or Completed. In addition, the drill-down reports will update as students complete and submit questions within each assessment.