A Math and Science Intervention Tool Backed by Efficacy and Case Study Research

App of the Week

Short description of app/product:


Penda Learning is a math & science intervention tool backed by efficacy and case study research. Penda is the leading provider of engaging online math and science content for grades 4 – 10, built on a gaming platform. Penda aligns standards-based activities to scope and sequence, then assigns Penda activities to students weekly on the teacher’s behalf. Teachers receive a weekly Class Mastery Report - a standards-based progress monitoring report that supports data-driven instruction, Response to Intervention (RTI), and differentiated instruction (DI).




Web-based (HTML5)






What does it help with?

Students are engaged in learning math and science because of the game mechanics and competitive element.

Teachers utilize Penda because students are engaged during learning, weekly Penda activities are automated, student progress monitoring on all levels is easy and delivered weekly and differentiating instruction for varying ability levels of learners (RTI levels 2 and 3) is possible.

Administrators utilize Penda because progress monitoring on a weekly basis or in real-time can be done standard-by-standard for math and science along with various other subject areas, grade level, class, and student reports. Penda supports RTI, differentiated instruction, pedagogical best practices, and school improvement monitoring.


What grade and age range?  


Math – grades 4 – 10 (including Algebra I and Geometry I)


Science - grades 4 – 9 (including Biology I)


Is this core/supplemental/special needs/extracurricular/professional development or what?


Math & science supplemental to core curriculum.

What subject, topic, and standards is it mapped to?


Penda Learning contains over 800+ math & science standards-based activities aligned to standards in 10 states, including FL, TX, and MS, as well as alignments to CCSS and NGSS.


What lesson time does it use?


Penda activities are built for students to complete in 10 – 15 minutes. Based upon efficacy research, it is recommended students use Penda for 30 minutes a week, with a goal of achieving 80% or better on each activity.

What is the pricing model?

Penda Learning is an annual subscription-based SaaS. Subscriptions are available via individual student subscription, site license, or customized proposal. Three levels of subscription are available with differing automated features, report capabilities and professional development services based upon a school or district need.

Are there services around it?


As part of all subscriptions, Penda Learning’s Implementation & Support Services Team conducts a Penda partnership meeting with key stakeholders at the school or district level. This takes place at the beginning of the implementation, mid-way through, and at the close of the academic year/subscription term.

Penda Learning also has a team of certified trainers to deliver teacher professional development, which is available on-site, virtually via webinar classroom, or through Penda’s on-demand teacher PD videos available online 24/7.

Penda Learning’s standards-based reports are included with all subscriptions and are sent to teachers and school administrators via email. For district-wide implementations, usage reports are also sent to district administrators for transparency and progress monitoring. Each user, from teacher to district administrator, also has their very own Penda account and can monitor usage and student progress down to the individual student-level.

What makes Penda Learning unique?


Penda Learning’s Pacing Assistance Service (PAS) - Penda Learning automatically aligns standards-based activities to a school or district’s scope and sequence/curriculum guide - typically, these curriculum documents are specific to a district or school. With PAS, Penda creates a custom schedule of standards-based activities that parallels classroom instruction week-by-week, with no additional work by teachers, school or district admin. Activities are then automatically assigned to students weekly on the teacher’s behalf without the teachers having ‘yet one more thing to do.’


Gamified Student Experience – Students can select an avatar that represents them within Penda’s virtual world. They select up to 10 friends within their respective grade level to challenge against. Students complete activities and are provided instant feedback (rapid feedback cycle) screen-by-screen as their answers are auto-graded. Students earn the most number of points by answering questions correctly on the first attempt, which then unlocks game mechanics, rewards, and avatar customization items that are found in an avatar wardrobe. A class leaderboard and student leaderboard promote healthy competition between teacher class periods and among all students who wish to be part of the leaderboard challenge.


Penda Learning’s Class Mastery & Grade-Level Mastery Reports:


Class Mastery Report - Each Monday, teachers receive a Class Mastery Report that is sent to teachers via email. This standards-based report shows where every student is in mastering standards – not mastered, partially mastered, mastered. This weekly snapshot is delivered to teachers via email for ease of use and supports data-driven instruction, pro-active Response to Intervention for all levels, and differentiated instruction. Using this report, teachers can then create intervention groups on the platform, move students in/out of respective groups, then assign specific activities to specific groups or individual students to differentiate instruction. By creating intervention groups, teachers can also monitor progress.


Grade-Level Mastery Report – On the first day of each month, a Grade-Level Mastery report is sent to school administrators via email along with teacher and student usage metrics. This report aggregates each class period’s overall mastery of standards teacher-by-teacher, class period-by-class period, providing school administrators with a snapshot of class progress towards standards mastery. School administrators can then use this report to hold 1:1 data chats with teachers, grade-level or content area PLC data chats, or conference to determine if intervention strategies need to be employed for specific class periods or sub-groups of students.


A description of the characteristics -- how is it optimized for user interface & user experience? What instructional design principles are at work here?


Brain Research:


Piaget Theories – scaffolding, schemas, equilibration


Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development

Neurobiology – activate auditory and visual areas of the brain, authentic engagement leading to prolonged state of concentration, create meaning and anchor learning to contextual experiences

Gamification/Game Mechanics:

Engaging students emotionally first before engaging cognitively

Impact of choice – selecting an avatar to represent the student, selecting up to 10 friends to compete against within a socially relevant context

Competition elements – earning points, leaderboard status, unlocking game mechanics, customizing student avatar based upon points, earning rewards, ‘leveling up’ by traveling through 14 different Penda virtual worlds.

Technology Integration:

Marzano – high-yield learning strategies

Danielson – best teaching practices within 4 domains of highly effective teaching



Teacher reviews:

"Miami Jackson Senior High School has seen excellent outcomes in our Biology End-of-Course Exam results, and I feel that the use of Penda has contributed to student success. We saw significant results with our students moving from 42% to 54% passing rate. This year, we were introduced to a more rigorous Biology End-of-Course Exam and we knew the stakes were higher, so we offered after-school tutoring with Penda and we also used it during our pull-outs with an Interventionist. We again saw significant results, because in an era of high stakes, every-changing tests, and a significant increase in our ESOL population, we still had a passing rate of 56%. Students felt it played a key role in their passing the Biology End-of-Course Exam."


Ana Barreto, Assistant Principal

Miami Jackson Senior High School - Miami-Dade County Public Schools, FL.



"With Penda it is quite easy and fun for the students to use. The teachers feel that it compliments their curriculum because they can track mastery of the benchmarks. They find it quite easy to follow because the reports are generated weekly and they are able to generate their own reports to use as needed.”


David Bass, Science Department Head

Margate Middle School - Broward County Public Schools, FL.



"My kids are enthralled with this program. The competition factor alone is driving them. They ask me several times a day to update our Penda Points that I keep on the board. They are logging in at home. They beg me to come in early, at lunch, and to stay after school from extended day. I am really excited about this."


Erin Schwamb, 5th Grade Teacher

Fort Caroline Elementary School – Duval County Public Schools