Along - Turning student insights into action

Turning student insights into action

The goal of our Along teacher-student connection builder is to support teachers to positively impact the lives of young people.

When we launched Along, an offering of Gradient Learning and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, our focus was to help teachers reach their students and create meaningful relationships. And while Along remains centered on these teacher-student connections, we’re excited to say that we recently launched more features to help educators!

We have refined Along to now provide teachers with a way to capture student voice and to provide insights that help incorporate student input into classroom instruction.

Over the course of this past academic year, we’ve seen schools leverage Along to build connections and trust between teachers and students, as demonstrated in a spring 2023 survey of teachers and students who used Along. A large majority—84% of teachers and 75% of teachers—agreed that Along helped build these critical relationships. The survey also revealed that 81% of teachers agreed that Along fit into their classroom practice.

Although these results are incredibly necessary for student success, we wanted to build on that value to make a bigger impact on outcomes—like student engagement and motivation in the classroom—to accelerate learning. After spending time with educators and school leaders, and examining leading academic research, we heard consistently that teachers need a way to get to know their students and to systematically use the inputs of their students to better inform their instruction.

Educators want to create engaged classrooms

One school leader at the middle school level said the value of forming connections earlier in the school year could lead to more engaging learning experiences in the months ahead.

“In sixth grade, it takes nine weeks at least to really get to know the students,” the school leader said. “Then, we’re trying to modify our instructional design based on what we know about the majority of the kids. To be able to expedite that process could be key in designing experiences that are reflecting the co-agency that you want with the learner.”

Research tells us that building upon teacher-student connections to listen to and then act on inputs from students supports these positive outcomes in the classroom. But the challenge is, how can educators do all of these things efficiently? As a natural progression of building Along’s value, we are now providing a way for teachers to both connect and build trust with their students and build on their interactions to drive engagement and improve instruction. This expanded educator solution will remain free and always easy to use.

“For this new school year, we expanded Along’s product features and content to help educators better understand how their students learn and experience classroom material and how to process and use these inputs—all to help teachers be more impactful,” said Samia Zaidi, Managing Director of Programs for Along.

Through our partnerships with researchers, experts in the field, teachers, and students, including organizations such as Character Lab, Search Institute, and Transcend, we are now offering the following updates:

New content and question types Along’s library of research-informed reflection questions has been updated in two key ways:

  • Multiple Choice:

    The addition of scaffolded questions will offer students with answer choices, making it easier for them to respond and easier for teachers to interpret their input.

  • New Types of Content:

    Both multiple choice and free response—providing opportunities for students to share about themselves as individuals, and also about how they learn and their experience around academic material.

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Insights and suggested next steps Educators can now access an overview of how their students responded to a reflection question that provides new insights and recommendations for what to do next:

  • View a chart and/or key words that summarize students’ inputs.

  • Access guided prompts to help reflect on these student insights and how to respond and act upon their responses on an individual or group basis.

Easier onboarding and integration Signing up students is easier than ever, with a class by class rostering option. And, based on popular demand, Along now syncs with Clever to offer integration with other classroom technology tools.

There is also an improved interface and design, all to make the Along experience even more fun and easy to use for teachers and students.

If you’re interested in bringing Along to your school for the 2023-24 academic year, reach out to to talk to our team today.