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This project was submitted by an applicant to the Digital Media and Learning Competition.



At BuzzMath, the overall goal for learning is for students to master concepts based on the Common Core Mathematics Standards for Middle School students (CCSSM). Therefore, all of the requirements for badge acquisition by students have been designed in accordance with the CCSSM. Students will have the opportunity to acquire badges from three distinctive sets of badges based on three components of mathematical competencies: content knowledge, process knowledge, and achievement. While content knowledge badges remain the core focus of our badge system, process knowledge and achievement badges allow students to be recognized for positive behaviors that lead to mathematical success. Our final system will be built using content from our Stage One submission.


Content knowledge badges will identify, assess, and recognize hard mathematical skills while process knowledge and achievement badges will identify, assess, and recognize soft skills that lead to mathematical proficiency. (Refer to BM_Image_02.jpg and BuzzMath stage 1 proposal)

Discrete vs. dynamic.

The content knowledge badges will track ongoing performances throughout a school year. As a student progresses through a set of practice and challenge documents they will earn a bronze badge that is upgradable to silver then gold as they become more proficient in a specific topic. Each process knowledge and achievement badge will represent a discrete skill, competency, or activity for a specific grade level. While each grade level may present the opportunity to earn the same type of badges, these badges are not upgradable.

Scarcity and granularity.

(Refer to image BM_Image_01.jpg)

As students move towards the ultimate goal of mastering concepts based on the CCSSM, they will have the opportunity to collect badges to represent their mastery of specified hard and soft skills along the way.

1. Content knowledge badges are awarded after a student successfully completes a challenge document. The number of practice documents required to unlock each challenge is based on the difficulty level and average time of completion. Students will have the opportunity to collect approximately 15 gold badges for each school year.

2. Process knowledge badges will be distributed by the teacher. Each student will have the opportunity to earn only one of each badge in the set of process knowledge badges each school year.

3. Achievement badges will be awarded as students complete small goals. Since students can progress at their own pace, these achievement badges can be awarded as frequent as once a day or once a week.


The badges in BuzzMath will convey that the students have mastered required mathematical concepts at their grade level stated in the CCSSM as well as demonstrated positive behaviors that lead to mathematical achievement and success. To acquire a content knowledge badge they must first successfully complete a specified number of practice documents, followed by one or more challenge documents within that specific content area. To acquire a process knowledge badge a student must demonstrate specific behaviors that are observed by a teacher in the classroom. Achievement badges are awarded to students as they complete specific goals. These achievement badges are meant to serve as motivation for students and they will only be visible within BuzzMath.

Role and identity.

As students demonstrate mastery of specific concepts and accumulate badges, they will be given the privilege to enter various learning communities as a peer tutor. Each badge will signify a students expertise in a specific content area.


In most cases, content knowledge badges will be awarded in a progressive manner. Students will first earn a bronze badge that will later be upgraded to silver and then gold as they demonstrate an increased knowledge of each concept. Students can also accumulate all types of badges for each middle school grade level.

Opportunities and privileges.

(Refer to BM_Image_03.jpg)

The accumulation of these individual badges leads to exclusive opportunities and privileges for students. These opportunities and privileges include access to problem-solving missions, entry into online math competitions, and admission into various learning communities.


In order for a student to earn a content knowledge badge, they must demonstrate mastery of specific concepts outlined in the CCSSM. Each practice and challenge document is aligned to the CCSSM. The mastery of each concept is authentically assessed in the challenge documents. These documents are generated specifically for each student based on their previous practice document completion history.

Teachers will use data generated from Class Tracking Reports as well as classroom observations to assess a student’s process knowledge and issue process knowledge badges.


Once a student has received a badge, it will exist permanently. These badges will represent their mathematical knowledge and skills at each specific grade level.


These badges will have value in all educational communities or communities that have interest in educational achievements. Since these badges are aligned to national standards, the value of each badge will be easily recognizable in educational communities. Badges will provide college recruiters, educators, employers, tutors, parents, and scholarship providers with a comprehensive understanding of an individual’s mathematical competencies.


(Refer to BM_Image_02.jpg)

On each badge, an iconic representation of each skill or competency is added to represent what has been measured. Each type of badge has a distinctive look but can still be identified as a part of a larger BuzzMath badge family. Since content knowledge badges are the core of a student’s activity, a distinctive shield shape has been selected. The grade level will be represented on each badge and a logo will appear on the top of each badge.


(Refer to BM_Image_02.jpg)

Each badge is accompanied by a pop-up explaining the criteria needed to acquire it. This information will allow those not familiar with the badges the access to information about the value, requirements for acquisition, and association with the national standards of the badge. Since success in mathematics education can lead to accessibility to accelerated classes, eligibility for scholarships, and opportunity for employment, the badges that represent this success will prove to be meaningful in value to badge owners.


All practice and challenge documents are designed with a variety of answer objects. Students are provided with questions that require matching objects, drag and drop, multiple choice, true/false, text input, and ordering. These different objects make it very difficult for students to simply guess an answer. Challenge documents also allow a maximum number of attempts, to prevent guessing. Teachers are also provided with student data that includes time spent, accuracy, and number of attempts. From this data, teachers can validate the appropriate use of BuzzMath.


An endorsement by The Common Core State Standard Initiative as well as national and individual state Departments of Education would carry additional value for this badge system. These endorsements would validate the quality, alignment, and rigor of the curriculum and assessments used by students to acquire each badge. While the specific criteria required for endorsement is unknown, the anticipated criteria would be a complete middle school curriculum, Common Core alignment, specific state alignments, and research on program usage. On a smaller scale, individual teachers could endorse the badges for their students.


As described in BuzzMath stage 1 proposal, students knowledge will be assessed through challenge documents and badges will be awarded for successful completion. We will use the OBI "Metadata Spec" to issue the badges. Since BuzzMath is entirely built using vector graphics, SVG files may be used internally but PNG files can be exported easily. The team will explore the "Badge Baking Service" and if needed, develop a custom baking service. To display badges on other websites, tools available via the OBI will be used and only if needed, custom widgets (iFrame) will be developed by the team.

BuzzMath users can be under 13, therefore we must comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The team will need to explore how and what can be shared with the OBI. Since not all children have an email address, we may need to coordinate with the OBI team and discuss extensions for these cases (like using a BuzzMath unique ID). Our ultimate goal would be to use the OBI and the Mozilla Backpack entirely, but this will depend on how sensible the OBI team is to the COPPA and to our young users' need.


This project would be managed by the same team from Scolab that has developed, designed, launched and continues to manage two online mathematics education applications. These applications, BuzzMath and Netmaths, have over 150,000 subscribed members worldwide this school year. All artwork and custom illustrations will be completed by our illustrator, who has a vast experience creating custom images for BuzzMath. The programmers on the team have expertise in server-side and client-side programming and have all the expertise to complete integration with the OBI. The lead mathematics specialist will work closely with the advisory group to ensure proper alignment of the badges with the content. Each member is a certified mathematics educators with an extensive knowledge of mathematics content as well as knowledge of mathematics teaching and learning strategies and the CCSSM. Even with all of the resources necessary to complete this project, the team may need additional resources to keep its current activities and support users during this process.

BuzzMath - Table of contents

BuzzMath - Portfolio and Popup

BuzzMath - Missions

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