Review: BAIP

The following is a web tool review for my Spring 2010 EDCI 718: Learning Technologies course taught by Dr. Rosemary Talab. The included screenshots are used for review purposes only.

Web Tool
Tutorial, Drill and Practice

Subject Area
Math, Science

Grade Level
Math: 3-10, Science: 3-7

Variable ($6000 for USD 475 Geary County Schools, a district of over 7000 students)


A Thorough Overview of BAIP
BAIP is a web tool “designed to provide [the teacher] with resources that are aligned to curricular standards” (source). School districts can purchase access to the BAIP lesson plans and materials which align with all Kansas math and science standards (math and science materials are separate). 

Our group member Chad uses BAIP in his middle school math classes (see his home screen below). He says the lesson plans “are useful and usually include a Powerpoint file that you can download and change if you want. There are also worksheets for each standard as well.”

In addition, BAIP incorporates a “management system to monitor student performance” (source). Chad describes this process:

As a teacher you can set up as many classes as you want for your students. Students are entered, assigned a username and password, then are able to log in and work through tutorials that you assign to them. The tutorials are made up of slides (sample below). The first few are explanations of the standard with a couple of examples.

Then the students are asked to answer four multiple choice questions with a chance to answer questions that they missed again with an explanation why the previous answer was wrong (such as below).

Each standard has two tutorials you can choose from. When students are done a teacher can see how each student scored on the tutorials (below).

Parents are able to get involved as well. Parents can obtain login information from the teacher granting them access to explanations of each standard and structured activities to work through with their children if they so wish (example below).

When asked to describe itself, BAIP says it features “276 self contained lessons for use by teachers, 417 independent online study tutorials for students, and a data reporting system designed to provide teachers immediate feedback on student performance to facilitate instructional decision-making” (source - opens ".doc" file).
More info on the BAIP site HERE.

Evaluation Criteria (our evaluation with scores out of 5 for each criteria)
1. TEACHER FRIENDLINESS - Is the program easy to operate? (Grabe 162)
Yes. There are several video tutorials (see screenshot below) which demonstrate nearly all the functions of BAIP in great detail, including those steps necessary to get started. The web sites within BAIP load quickly, are easily navigated, and creating classes and managing student activities are fairly simple processes for
the teacher to perform.

Score: 4/5. Making a tutorial that’s both effective and wise on the watch is hard and takes lots of practice. The "short" BAIP tutorials get the information across, which is a must, but they could be cleaned up a bit. Props for the quick-loading sites though. And the video tutorials are more helpful than would be a shoddy FAQ section.

2. STUDENT FRIENDLINESS - Is the program easy to operate? (Grabe 162)
Yes. Students can easily navigate through this site once they log in. Once they are in they have two options: assignments completed and assignments not completed. Students may retake assignments that they have already completed and are given new question sets.

Score: 5/5. The program is designed for students as young as 3rd grade so its user interface is fairly “friendly.” Chad has had very few issues with this in his middle school classes.

3. INTERACTION - Can students and instructors interact with this tool? (Grabe 159)
Yes... sort of. Students interact with this web tool by going through the tutorials, reviewing information on concepts, then answering questions with feedback (see more at Feedback below). Visually it won’t knock your socks off though and, as Chad says, “this website does a  poor job of helping students visualize [...]
concepts. It sometimes has diagrams that students see but none with which they can interact." Clearly the developers of BAIP were more focused on content rather than form.

Teacher interaction is fairly straightforward and is based on the teacher having control of what his/her students cover. Teachers assign the standards on which to assess their students and can preview tutorials and questions students are to answer.

Score: 3/5. The interaction leaves a lot to be desired in terms of user interface. The students interact with the questions and answers and are given feedback, but there is no ability to experiment with diagrams, interactive flash files, etc. Perhaps the people behind BAIP realize there are companies who specialize in this sort of thing, many of which have web sites to which classroom teachers could easily navigate then come back to the BAIP materials afterward.

4. ABILITY TO SAVE WORK - Can students save work in progress? (Grabe 162)
Yes. Student work is saved in a gradebook format. Once students are entered into your classes you can assign them a username and password by clicking one button; “very easy,” Chad says. The teacher may also change the username and password. Only the teacher and that student may see their results; students have their own usernames and passwords and student work is kept private.

Score: 5/5. Student progress is saved and teachers have access to results all on the web tool.

5. STUDENT CONTROL - Can students control their rates of progress? (Grabe 162)
Yes. Students can control the rate at which they work through the tutorials. They have the ability to go back and look at the information about a concept by clicking on a slide number at the top of the page while answering the four multiple choice questions.
Score: 5/5. The student can progress at his/her own pace. 'Nuf said.

6. COST - Does the quality of the tool justify the cost? (Grabe 162)
Yes, a number of school districts apparently think so. A representative of USD 475 Geary County Schools told us the district paid around $6,000 to access to BAIP for the 2009-2010 school year, though she mentioned that the price is based on number of students in the district. We were not able to find this information within the BAIP web site, which either means we didn’t look hard enough or that we should bug the people behind BAIP.

Score: 4/5. Pretty steep, but could be worth it if multiple teachers use it. Districts continue using BAIP year to year, so that's a sure sign, especially with budgets being so tight lately. And per kid, purchasing access to BAIP is much cheaper than buying hard copies of workbooks for every kid.

7. FEEDBACK - Is feedback appropriate? (Grabe 162)
Yes. Students get immediate feedback on the assessments: if they’re right, they move on; if they’re wrong, they are able to try again. Students are able to see the answers they miss as they work through the tutorial as well as at the end.

Teachers can look at reports in terms of the whole class or just with individual students (see single student results below). These reports include the answers students answered correctly as well as the wrong answers they might have chosen. Since students have the opportunity to take a tutorial more than once the teacher can see the score from the first time the student took it as well as the next times.

Score: 5/5. With a traditional worksheet format, students would have to wait multiple days for feedback on their work. BAIP harnesses the ability of a computer database to spit out a “you’re right” or “you’re wrong” for the student immediately.

8. DISTRICT/STATE STANDARDS - Does the web tool satisfy district and state standards? (Grabe 162)
Y-E-S. This is the real selling point of BAIP. The professionals behind this program very systematically formulated it based upon math standards. From the BAIP web site: “BAIP lessons are tied to state indicators and developed for integration into instructional programs,” and the tutorials are “related to state indicators and are designed to provide independent learning experiences to assist students in learning the associated skills and concepts."

Score: 5/5. Couldn’t get much better than this.

9. ACTIVE THOUGHT - Does the tool encourage active thought on the part of the student? (Grabe 162)
Yes. Now if we changed the verb from “encouraged” to “required,” the answer would be different. More active thought would be involved if the interaction level was greater (see Interaction). And the tutorials and questions are well written and standards-based, but as with any multiple-choice situation, a fair amount of guessing may occur; or as web usability expert and author Steve Krug would say, we satisfice.

Score: 2/5. With supplement, such as if the teacher uses interactive web sites, more active thought would be occurring. Without, it could go either way.

10. FOLLOW-UP IDEAS - Does the web tool provide useful follow up ideas? (Grabe 162)
Yes, though indirectly. One benefit of a tightly standards-based web tool such as BAIP is that once students complete a lesson, the teacher has a greater understanding of which areas the students have mastered and in which areas they struggle. The teacher management system features a bar graph for each indicator showing overall class results. As a teacher this is quite useful in that it gives a visual representation of class progress
and indicates what might need to be re-taught and re-learned before moving on.

Score: 4/5. No ideas for ways to supplement the standards are provided, such as project-type activities and extensions for marginal learners, but that’s not what they wanted BAIP to be in the first place. Nevertheless, four out of five for the specific and usable results with which the teacher comes away.

Total Score: 42/50.

Group Conclusion
The BAIP web based tool provides many activities to enhance student learning.

Some notable points follow:
  • Allows students to work independently and at their own pace
  • Provides immediate feedback
  • Provides examples and explanations
  • Students can both save and review their progress
  • Provides data for both individual progress and entire class breakdown
  • See what concepts are mastered/struggling
  • Use this information to guide future instruction
  • Aligned with state standards
When you want something done right, you need to do it yourself. With assessments looming on us, we get very particular on what we teach and more importantly who teaches it. Unforeseen circumstances can require us to miss an unintended day of school.

This is a perfect program to use with a substitute.

Students are still working on state standards and can pick up where they left off the previous time. The sub would be able to monitor the room and answer questions that students are still struggling with even after the video tutorials. Students can see their progress and take excitement and responsibility in their own learning, and teachers can review the class breakdown per standard and note what topics are not mastered and need to be re-taught.

Areas of concern
  • Cost (with budget cuts, who isn’t overwhelmed??)
  • Interaction capabilities – does not allow for manipulative
  • Guessing temptation of students
While the BAIP tool is a great resource to have, it is not perfect.

Cost will always be an issue. 

If the data shows the program improves assessment scores, then that would be a necessary tool to spend the ever-decreasing money. The student also cannot manipulate what is on the screen, so kinesthetic learners may not benefit from this tool as much.

Encouraging students to LEARN the material and not to just pass a test is a must. 

Students sometimes get caught up in the letter grade, being eligible, or just flat getting done with the homework that they lose sight of the goal, which is to learn the material.

Constant encouragement, praise, and checks for understanding are musts to make this and other tools successful classroom resources.

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