UPDATE Feb. 13th: We have modified the system. See the What are Stars? help page.

As you may have already noticed, we have made some pretty exciting changes to BuzzMath. As a result of a release of our new version there is now an easy-to-navigate topics view, three common core aligned grade specific books, and … some unanticipated glitches with our star system. While some bugs were fixed almost immediately after they were brought to our attention, there are some changes to the system that will take a little longer to resolve.

Teachers expressed their concerns. One teacher wrote:

“Then the system changed and the original five topics were gone so then the flood of questions came as to what categories they were supposed to get their stars in and what topics they should use, etc. This may not seem like a big deal, but I have 70+ students and another teacher has over 100.”

I personally apologize to the hard working teachers who are left to explain these changes to students and parents. We are currently exploring better ways to make the transition smoother for future releases.

When we realigned our content and separated it into 3 grade level books, the current star system design became a little more complicated and caused confusion for some users. Teachers used the old version of the student report to count stars to represent the progress of students from week to week.

With the new version of the report, they expressed concerns because the number of stars was not adding up correctly. The reason for this is: 

  • One BuzzMath Activity can be in more than one grade level book or more than one topic in the same book. Therefore, upon successful completion of that assignment a gold star will appear in all books or topics that contain that assignment. The NCTM Middle School book is not the sum of the three Common Core books.
  • In some cases the Individual Student Reports can have duplicate stars (Screenshot). The intention of this report is to show the specific assignments that students have attempted and completed each week. If a student completes an assignment in week 1 and then reopens that same document in week 2, two stars will appear.

Recent Updates:

  • For Teachers: An All Topics View has been added to the Class Stars Report. The All Topics View will allow you to see the total number of stars each student has earned. In this report one star equals one successfully completed activity.
  • For Students: A star icon has been added to the top bar of all student accounts. This star contains a number that represents how many total stars a student has earned.
  • For All users: A “What are Stars?” section has been added to BuzzMath Help. This section explains the definition and use of stars for both teachers and students. To access this section, students can simply click on the star icon located in the top bar of their account and teachers can select the Help link at the top right of their screen.

We love the feedback we have received since the release of the new version of BuzzMath. We are currently working on clarifying the star system, adding challenges and a virtual badge system, and enabling you to use more data in a useful way.

Carl Malartre
President, BuzzMath.com

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